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.
"Negative."
"How about one of those?" asked Kellen, gesturing toward a pile of decapitated frogs.
"Double Negative."
"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.

29 comments

Karen said...

This post does nothing for your Meanest Mom image. Just sayin...

gigi said...

This was awful! Yuck! But I bet the kids really had a blast with the thing. Where did it finally end up?

Vanessa said...

That is a great story! What a great mom. All those great memories for your kids. I would have just said no right away. Thanks for reminding me that we don't always have to be mean!

Shosh said...

Hahahaha. Hysterical.

Sharon... Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend said...

HAHA! Reminds me of the time my daughter wanted me to bring home the head of a dog that had been hit by a car. It lay in a ditch by our house... she wanted to study it as it decomposed... I declined and we just visited the head in the ditch for several weeks and took notes instead. :)

you are a great momma!

mamajil said...

Very funny post!! This is a great story! My daughter Mollie would get a super kick out of serving a chicken foot to someone for dinner...I may just have to find one around here...
I enjoy your blog!!

Lani said...

Iiiick. But I'm glad it made your kids happy:)
I have to say it reminds me of one of those display hands at a nail salon where you choose your favorite nail design:)

Nikki said...

Nice!!! My husband would have flipped out!! :)
How many bites of potatoes did he eat before he found it? *giggling*

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the pheasant foot my dad let me take for show and tell in the 2nd grade. My teacher didn't think it was so great, though, and told me it was an awful thing to do to a bird. My dad showed me how to pull on one of the tendens from the top of the foot to make the claws move. I thought it was so cool!

smiles4u said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you...for the great laugh. Isn't it amazing the things kids can find to entertain themselves? And us? You are a wise mom in that you realize it is important to say yes sometimes and especially to those things that can't hurt them.

Great story...many a times my husband shakes his head at me while muttering words like "must you"! We have to have some fun!

Angela Noelle said...

Hate to play the "NZ card" again, but while over here, did you have a serving of paua? (Said "paWa".) At the very least, you will have seen it glittering on display in tourist stores. Anyhow...it's meant to taste good, but my sisters and I had never been fans of shellfish. My mother, bless her soul, minced those suckers until they were unrecognisable, and served it as a "special variety" of beef one evening. Only when we had all had our fill did she inform us we had eaten the rainbow-shelled creatures. Perhaps your next chicken foot could don a disguise to get past the husband's senses? A sombrero and frock?

PamelaJ said...

Loved it! Always looking for ways my daughter & I can get a reaction out of the husband.

Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

That is a fantastic story! A chicken's foot as entertainment - who knew!

Ninny said...

Oh my gosh! I am laughing so hard. Love this site and love your many grand adventures.

mom22 said...

OMG - that is just good clean fun. And yes headless frog should be next. It's so nice to see a family enjoy pranks. Mine growing up were more torture but we still laugh about them.

peapodsquadmom said...

So perhaps you could start a second blog "Meanest Wife."

Seriously...that was spectacularly entertaining.

Michal said...

snort. belly laugh. snort.

Jana said...

I have to say, I am 100% shocked by the responses to this post. I deliberately didn't read them until this morning because I was sure that everyone would freak out because I let my kids mess around with the body part of a dead animal. We did have a good time, though, if that counts for anything....

christine said...

You know my husband once ate one of those nasty things. Long story.

Silvina said...

This is my first time reading your blog and i almost peed my pants reading this old post.....hysterical!!

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Anne said...

The "stopwatch alarm" is one of the greatest parenting tools invented. My Ironman watch has never seen anything close to a triathlon but it tracks two naps happening at the same time, arbitrates disputes, and reminds me when it is time to go wait for the bus. Glad you have one too!

Anonymous said...

For me this one was not worth reading completely. Although I will say I am sure your kids are still talking about their experience at the market where they got to sample via vision all those wonderful disgusting parts. I am sure they would have enjoyed the ride more if you would have given in and actually purchased a pig's feet. Benigna Torviso-Marko

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CantStopBaking said...

I just found your blog and its hysterical! I have 3 boys so I relate to so many of your stories, but this one is awesome! Thanks for a great blog!

Anonymous said...

I love your story. Have your children read the book Tom by Tomie dePaola. They will love it after this experience.

Cinthya said...

I laughed so hard. I love your blog so much you have no idea.

Monica Geglio said...

I really thought your husband was going to eat it! hahaha!