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?
|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…………………………….
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