We are on a quest to eat food that nourishes. This is a hard thing to accomplish given the fifteen aisles in the grocery store that offer soybean oil, red # 40, high fructose corn syrup and enriched wheat flour in two thousand brightly packaged varieties. I’ve stiffened my resolve and we skirt around the edges of the store dashing into the middle for dog food and olive oil. The kids and I are turning this into a challenge. How many aisles can we bypass? How many things can we make ourselves with whole, healthy ingredients?
It’s busy in my kitchen tonight. The food processor whirrs and shreds. Charlie feeds the hungry machine zucchini that Claire has cut into slices. Faith writes ZUCCHINI on a freezer bag and tucks one cup packages of the shredded veggie into the bag and carries it out to the freezer. Lauren rinses cranberries and we chop and add them to our colorful pile in the freezer. I slice and process onions. Claire tries to stay and watch because she doesn’t like to miss a thing but her eyes water and she must abandon the kitchen.
Lauren pulls apart the chicken carcass from dinner. She snaps the bones to expose the marrow. The leg bones are too sturdy for our hands so we use a hammer to break them. The children laugh at the sight and Henrie dives for a stray bone. Lauren struggles frantically to wrestle it from the dog’s mouth. Eventually she is victorious. That bone goes in the garbage, the rest go into the crock-pot where they will simmer all night and most of tomorrow filling up our entire house with their rich, delicious smell.
It’s sad that as a whole our society has forgotten these traditions of the past. We have set aside labor in favor of convenience and in the process our health has been set aside as well. The number of people living with chronic disease in this nation is staggering. We search for cures that will conquer the scourges of cancer, diabetes, obesity, depression and heart disease that plague us. Doctors write prescriptions with abandon for drugs that help us manage and cope but do not cure. And all the while we wonder at the state our bodies are in, we drink our diet cokes and drive through the Wendy’s drive through and pop chicken nuggets into the oven for a quick dinner and we don’t make the connection. We are what we eat.
My family has had it with the status quo and we are looking for a better way. It’s not easy to set aside a lifetime of bad habits and lack of knowledge but just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Good health is worth the time and trouble it takes to learn new skills. Today it’s homemade chicken broth full of the minerals and calcium from the bones of tonight’s dinner. The cookbook is propped up on the kitchen table and Lauren and I read through and take the principles from the recipe and adapt the spices to our tastes. (Can’t you just picture our great grandmothers doubled over in laughter at the sight of us reading how to make broth from a book? Or might they be sad at this woeful lack of knowledge?)
This week we will build health and strengthen immunity with homemade chicken soup. If you would like to fill your kitchen with the same aroma and conquer flu season with us here is our recipe. (In case this ancient knowledge went to the grave with some ancestor a few generations back.) I have written it just like we made it and just like your great grandmother might have written it down in days gone by.
Place in crock-pot:
1 Chicken carcass
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (draws out the minerals)
A couple of chopped carrots
1 chopped onion
A stalk or two of chopped celery
1 tablespoon of dried parsley (I just poured a good amount into my hand and dumped it in the crock-pot
4 quarts water (We just filled out crock-pot right up to the top)
We set the crock-pot to cook for 10 hours. Then I will leave it on warm until late tomorrow afternoon. The longer the broth cooks the richer the color. Strain the broth through a colander and store in containers in the fridge or freezer.
Here’s to our health this winter!