or more lanes of traffic traveling in each direction, drivers talking
on cell phones, cruise controls set ten miles over posted speed limits,
rushing always rushing, going to work, picking up the kids, dropping
off kids, school, soccer, little league, dance recitals, choir practice,
it never seems to stop. Everyone is in a hurry to be somewhere else.
Everything, it seems, is computerized. We have call waiting, call
forwarding, conference calling and telephone tag on the answering
machine. No one can get by without a Day Planner or PDA. Sometimes
it all gets to be too much. Sometimes a person just wishes they could
go back to simpler times.
Simple, according to the dictionary refers to something that is easy,
or uncomplicated, effortless or plain. Canít blame anyone for wanting
that! But were things really all that simple, back before computers
and microwaves and cell phones? Were simpler times all that simple?
Take something really simple like fried chicken. If I want fried chicken
today, I can drive by a restaurant and pick up a box or bucket of
crispy chicken, fried and ready to eat. It takes about five minutes.
I can even get in bite size pieces with the bones removed. If I opt
to cook the chicken myself I reach in the home freezer and take out
a whole, dressed or cut up chicken. I place it on the kitchen counter
for a few hours to thaw, then I, oh everyone knows how to fry a chicken
donít they? Throw the chicken in a bag with some salt, pepper and
flour, turn a button on the stove, get a skillet, add some oil and
Iím on my way to what was, in simpler times, Sunday dinner.
When I was young girl, if we wanted fried chicken at our house, we
first had to grow the chicken. This took a couple of months or more.
When a chicken was mature enough to invite to dinner the procedure
went something like the following:
buckets of water from the well and fill *wash pot. (*A wash pot was
a large cast iron kettle used for many purposes, including: heating
water to bathe in, washing clothes, rendering fat when killing hogs,
and making lye soap.)
Using an axe, split some wood and kindling. Place kindling beneath
the wash pot and when it is burning add larger pieces of wood. When
the fire burning go to next step.
You must catch a chicken. This may not be as easy as it sounds. They
are faster than they look and are accustomed to running around the
barn yard all day chasing grasshoppers and other insects. And they
can fly for short distances when sufficiently motivated.
Once you have a chicken securely in hand, wring its neck or chop off
its head. After which, toss it on the ground until it stops trying
to fly. If you opted to wring its neck, and after flopping around
on the ground for awhile, the chicken jumps up and runs away, go back
to step three. When you are certain the chicken hasÖuhÖpassed away,
it is time to check the water temperature in the wash pot.
When the water is steaming, near the boiling point, submerge the chicken
in the hot water for a few minutes. This makes the feathers smell
very bad and was, to my childís mind, the only reason for this step
of the procedure.
As quickly as possible pluck the steamy, bad-smelling feathers from
the chicken. (You may want to save the soft breast feathers to make
pillows or feather mattresses.)
Rake some hot coals away from the wash pot. Wave chicken back and
forth over the coals to singe away pin feathers. What are pin feathers?
Look, just do it.
Take a sharp knife and cut chicken open and remove the innards. (And
you thought wet steamy feathers smelled bad?)
Now draw a bucket of cool water from the well and thoroughly wash
Build a fire in the cook stove (kitchen range). If you do not have
wood refer back to the first part of step Two.
Place a skillet on the stove and add about a cup of lard which you
rendered from the fatty parts of the last hog you killed.
now you almost have fried chicken. If you would also like some mashed
potatoes, I hope you remembered to plant some last spring (by the
dark of the moon of course.) Now, simply peel, boil and mash them.
Gravy? Did you remember to milk the cow?
Milking is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. And
you only have to do it twice a day.
If you have flour you can make biscuits. They go well with fried chicken
and gravy. A peach cobbler might be nice for dessert.
How To Make A Peach Cobbler:
1. First, you will need to plant a peach treeÖ