Through my years of natural eating, I've come to terms with that fact that many, alright most, people don't eat like me. And don't care to.
And that's fine.
I'm not here to push, prod, guilt-trip, or manipulate anyone into thinking butter is better than margarine and we should all be consuming lots of sourdough products.
Which *cough cough* we should.
(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)
I really am fine with the fact that we are each free to eat the way that we most see fit, even if that is different from one another. Praise the Lord, we've been given individual liberty which is a beautiful thing.
That being said, there is one attitude towards my lifestyle and food choices that really grates on my (normally passive) nerves. And that's this one:
EWWWW!!! YOU EAT WHAT?!?!?
Yes, I do eat that. And just because you're unfamiliar with it or not used it it's charm, doesn't mean it's gross.
Every time I hear those seemingly funny and harmful words from a bystander, a little piece of my food spirit dies. And then becomes enraged. And then dies again.
99.9% of the time this cutting remark is made by someone who:
1. Eats hotdogs
2. Sees nothing wrong with eggs from battery hens
3. Eats meat from commercial, confined operations
4. Is completely removed from any sort of animal husbandry
5. Relies heavily on manufactures to tell them what is “healthy”
Because I've made the choice to not only care about how my food was raised, butchered, or prepared, but also have an active hand in doing so, I take this remark to heart. After all, those chicken feet in my stock just aren't some nasty feet from some unidentified, old, diseased hen from a large operation. Those chicken feet came from my own chickens, whom I cared for diligently their entire lives. Each morning and each night, those chickens were fed by me. They were killed by me. They were processed by me. They were cleaned by me. And they were cooked by me. I've followed those feet from birth to death to plate. And I'll be danged if I'm going to waste them simply because, by our modern culture's standard, chicken feet are “gross”.
The same for the heart, tongue, liver, and tail. The same for all those beautiful fat pieces which we turn with little effort into the most beautiful homemade tallow. The same for even the weirdest of bits, like the chicken's head and neck.
It grosses some out that we utilize these pieces. So, I'm guessing they'd rather them be wasted? Or completely removed from their site, ground into fine, unidentifiable bits, and stuffed in their processed bean burrito?
And it's not even just the meat bits. Remarks are often made about the souring of our bread, the kefir and yogurt cultures that continually graze our counter, the kombucha crock that is continually fermenting a batch of homemade brew, or the raw milk that we consume in a million ways each day.
YOU DRINK WHAT?!?!?
It boggles my mind that a culture who raises it's nose at home-squeezed raw milk will open it's arms to commercial animal products.
And I don't speak from inexperience here, my friends. I've spent my time working on cow-calf operations, dairy operations, and even conventional cattle operations. I've seen much of what there is to be seen with regards to how commercial agriculture (particularly animal) operations are run. Y'all. It ain't pretty.
So please, even if you think the chicken feet and necks in my stock pot are gross, keep it to yourself. Because for some of us, this is a way of utilizing the blessings we've been given. It's a way of giving ultimate thanks to an animal that died for our use. It's a way of appreciating the work of bacteria and yeast and the wonderful benefit it can bring to our bodies. It's a way of capturing, creating, and appreciating skills that have been utilized for generations upon generations. It's a nod of thanks to the past and a tough lesson to a generation that is completely reliant on the grocery store aisles for their entire food security.
We won't waste here. We utilize.
And yes, that includes chicken feet in our stockpot.
Not only is this a way to use up all the bits of chicken we can, but it's also a huge boost to the immunity system. Chicken feet are rich in collagen and in turn, gelatin. They're also rich in trace minerals. Many cultures across the world utilize feet in their stocks because of the incredible flavor and golden richness they lend to the broth. They've been noted for helping consistent-broth-drinkers with everything from seasonal allergies to arthritis to Crohn's Disease.
Take note: Chicken feet are a superfood. As are so many of the products that we turn our noses up at (liver, anyone?).
I'm not saying everyone needs to do all the things I do. Or even agree with them. But I'd sure love it if our sterilized culture took a chill pill and let it be.
YES. I EAT THAT.
And it can be a very beautiful thing.