August 12, 2008
The Chicken Foot
Last Friday, I took my kids to Reading Terminal Market, a famous indoor farmer's market in downtown Philadelphia. There are lots of Amish vendors at the market and I wanted my kids to learn something about Amish culture, food, and crafts. As it turns out, my kids were very interested in Amish cinnamon rolls; the people making them they could do without.
I felt bad for the Amish saleswoman; she was so nice and her food was so good. Yet I have to admit that it was hard for her to hold even my attention given what was in the refrigerated display case of the Asian butcher shop next door.
"Can we get one of those?" asked Cortlen, pointing to a severed pig's head.
"How about one of those?" asked Kellen, gesturing toward a pile of decapitated frogs.
"One of those?" asked Camber, staring hopefully at a plastic tub filled with chicken feet.
"All right," I said. The request seemed reasonable enough.
I purchased a single chicken foot for 18 cents. The saleslady put the foot into a clear plastic bag, the same kind used to bring fish home from the pet store. Of course there was a fight over who could carry the chicken foot home. To ensure that no one was deprived of special time with the chicken foot, I set my stopwatch alarm to go off every ten minutes.
"What are you going to do with that?" asked the train conductor when he stopped by our seats to punch our tickets.
I was slightly annoyed by the question, given that he was the fifth person within a thirty minute period to ask me the same thing. Did anyone really need to ask? I mean, what can't you do with a chicken foot? The possibilities are endless, really.
After showing the foot to the two nice ladies sitting on the seat behind us on the train (and watching them switch seats at the next train stop), we set to work planning the chicken foot's day. I estimated that we had about 5 hours before the foot started to stink, so we had to exercise good time management skills. After showing it to Joan, our elderly next door neighbor, the chicken foot would get its toenails clipped before being submerged into Kellen's fish tank for a quick bath. Once it was clean, it would be generously offered up to our two cats as a chew toy, but not before it was served to my husband for dinner.
Cortlen won 2 out of 3 rounds of "Rock-Paper-Scissors" and thus earned the honor of serving Tim the foot, which we nestled amongst a field of baby greens and mound of new potatoes. Much to the delight of his three children, the foot's presence on his plate genuinely surprised Tim. Once the shock wore off and the foot's exciting adventures had been narrated, my husband turned to me.
"Must you?" he asked, shaking his head.
My husband's reaction bothered me, but not so much that it would deter me from buying another chicken foot the next time that we go to the market. If I'm in a particularly good mood that day, I might even be able to be talked into a headless frog.