The Chicken Part Is the Hardest Part

Yesterday, I made up some chicken cacciatore which is pretty tasty and not all that fattening and pretty easy to make except for the chicken part but you need the chicken part if you are going to make chicken cacciatore.  At the store the chicken comes in all shapes and sizes.  You have your separate plastic wraps of chicken legs and chicken thighs and chicken breasts with or without the skin, and these are all packaged up in neat little rows, and separated out like that these pieces don’t really look like a chicken at all. 

I guess if you bought a bunch of chicken legs and chicken thighs and chicken breasts you could sort of assemble something that looked like a chicken.

They also have whole cut up chickens.  Plastic wraps that have two legs and two thighs and two breasts and sometimes the back.  Once I saw a mistake and the package had three legs in it and only one thigh, like the parts had come from a three legged chicken.  But, hell, I don’t know if those parts even come from the same chicken.  In this case, apparently not.


But when I make chicken cacciatore, I don’t know why exactly, I insist on buying a whole and not cut up chicken that comes in a plastic bag and looks sort of like a pasty white bowling ball, and I take that home and cut it up myself.  Honestly, I don’t know why I do this.  Maybe I just get some sort of satisfaction at taking the thing out of the bag and looking at what appears to be the remains of an actual chicken (without its head, of course, and little chicken feet).


I bought some chicken scissors a while back.  Those help me out and I have knives too; so I have pretty much what I need to cut up a chicken.  First I clean out the stuff they stick inside the chicken—I wonder who the hell does that—the gizzard, the liver, and of course the neck, which in the chicken’s natural state is not inside the chicken but out there in front holding up the chicken head. 

Then I cut off the Pope’s or Pastor’s nose depending on how you look at it.  And then I go to work on the carcass per se.  First off comes the thighs with legs attached and then the wings, and then I separate the legs from the thighs and then I cut out the back and separate the breast into two breasts and then I skin the whole damn thing, so by the time it looks like half the chicken is going into the trash.

I don’t know.  It seems pretty wasteful, though sometimes I give in and fry up the liver.  But I don’t like the gizzard and neither of us eats the back or the neck, and every time I do it I feel like I am going to cut off one of my fingers in the process.  And this last time, the chicken was damn cold and I had to keep warming up my fingers while doing the job.

Like I said, chicken cacciatore is pretty easy except for the chicken part.  I could make it easier by just buying the whole cut up chicken, but that costs like twice as much.  But I don’t think that’s it.  It just seems—I don’t why—right to buy the whole, fully assembled chicken and then cut the sucker up myself.

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