Friday, September 13, 2013

A Story From The Past...Plus A "Baked Chicken with Onions and Potatoes" Recipe

Before chickens came packaged in plastic wrap and became available in our chain grocery stores, there were live poultry markets in many cities. I remember a story that my mother told me about this very subject. 

Picture it, about the middle 1930’s my mom would go with her mother……They lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and would go to a live poultry market to pick a chicken for dinner. As my mom walked to the market with her mother, she would see many pushcarts and vendors of street food. When she finally got to the poultry market she would see the two windows on each side of the door. In those windows were live ducks and live rabbits. As she entered the front door to the market there were many size crates with live chickens lined up on shelves. They had about 15 chickens in each crate. My grandmother would then go to the crates and feel a chicken’s breast for fullness. She would then call the owner of the market who wore a white lab type coat. He took the chicken my grandmother had chosen and went to the back of the store. My mother being very young and curious peeked in the back door and watched what happened next. I am not going to get as graphic as my mom did when she told me this story, but let us just say that the chicken was killed, cleaned, and the feathers were taken off.  The man would then place the chicken in a paper bag, and now it was ready to be prepared for dinner that night. There were no freezers at that time, so all the food had to be bought daily. There are still today some cities that have live poultry markets, but I still prefer to go to my local Stop and Shop and get my chicken there. As they say, “we have come a long way baby,” since the 1930’s. 
1943 grandma Julia, my mom,
and grandpa Louis

September is “National Chicken Month,” so come with me and let’s see what all this cackling is about! The domesticated chicken has a genealogy that is very complicated. It stretches back 7,000 to 10,000 years. Europeans arriving in North America found a continent filled with turkeys, and ducks for eating. Some archaeologists believe that chickens were first introduced to the New World by Polynesians who reached the Pacific coast of South America a century or so before the voyages of Columbus. Well into the 20th century, chickens are valued, and they produce eggs, which plays a role in the American diet and economy. 

By the way, has anybody figured out if it is the chicken or the egg, what came first?

Poultry is the term for domesticated birds that are meaty enough to eat. Poultry tends to be lower in saturated fat than other meats, so it's a good choice if you're worried about your health or weight. You can lower the fat still more by removing the skin and by using light meat from the breast. Younger birds are more tender than older ones, so they're best for grilling, roasting, and frying. Older, tougher birds do better if they're cooked in stews or soups. Because of its relatively low cost, chicken is one of the most used meats in the world. Nearly all parts of the bird can be used for food, and the meat can be cooked in many different ways. Popular chicken dishes include roasted chicken, fried chicken, chicken soup, and Buffalo wings just to name a few. 
Chicken cut up: legs, thighs, breasts, & wings

Chicken Equivalents: One pound boneless chicken = 3 cups cubed meat. Chicken is a relatively lean and inexpensive meat, so it's a culinary workhorse. Broiler-fryers = fryers = broilers are between 2 1/2 and 5 pounds, and can be broiled, roasted, or fried. Capons-are castrated male chickens that are large (between 5 and 10 pounds) and tender, and have relatively more white meat. They're great for roasting. Free-range chickens are tastier and more humanely raised, but tougher and more expensive. Cut-up chickens are broiler-fryers that are cut up and packaged with two breast halves, two thighs, two drumsticks, and two wings. 

My recipe this week is called “Baked Chicken With Onions and Potatoes”. This dish is one that my mom taught me, and it is very scrumptious. The flavors of all the ingredients melt in your mouth as you take that first bite. The aromas fill the kitchen with a feeling of contentment and love. Delizioso! 

"Baked Chicken with Onions and Potatoes"

3 1/2 to 4 pounds whole chicken or cut up pieces
2-3 yellow onion, chopped into 1 inch wedges
4-6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (white or sweet)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (enough to just coat the chicken)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of oregano

Preheat oven to 350° F. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Arrange chicken, onion and potatoes in a baking dish and drizzle with oil. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the pan so the chicken doesn’t stick. Bake, stirring the vegetables once, until chicken is cooked through, about 1 1/2 hours. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4-5 

Till Next Time…………………………….

Copyright © 2013 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi Dottie!

    Happy National Chicken Month! GREAT post! Just this evening I made roasted chicken with potatoes, onions and Jalapeño! That's how my Aunt Connie use to make it. She lived on 18th Ave!

    Thanks for sharing, Dottie...

  2. Hi Dottie , I enjoyed your story very much , it also bring back happy memories for me a beautiful chickem , so yummy and delicious , have a great weekend , thanks for sharings :).

  3. Thank you Louise. Glad that you enjoyed the post. That is funny that you made chicken, potatoes, onions, and Jalapeno tonight. I have to try the Jalapeno next time. I love them. Have a great weekend, Blessings, Dottie :)

  4. Thank you Nee, It was a fun post. My mom and I had a lot of laughs when she told me her story. It is delicious, hope that you try it. Have a fabulous weekend as well. Blessings, Dottie :)

  5. One of my favourite dishes yum!

  6. Thank you, cquek for reading my blog! Glad that you like this recipe. Now as the weather is getting cooler, it is nice to have the oven on and enjoy all of the tastes of fall. Blessings: Dottie :)