Saturday, January 7, 2017

Wilbo Visits the Pollo Vivo Shop on Western Near the Pink Line to Remember his Mother's Chicken Farm.

So I walked under the Esperanza sign and under the Pink Line. I walked in the door of Pollos Vivo and my nostrils filled with the fragrance of chicken dander. Three men in butcher aprons greeted me behind a counter stacked high with fresh eggs in cartons, two for a fiver. "Hello"! "Hello"! "Hola"! I explained, "I am here to see the chickens"! They nodded and smiled and I looked down a narrow hallway to see dozens in cages stacked up floor to ceiling, dozens laying dozens. I had that moment where I took a mental picture to draw later. Remembering my binge watching of the Sopranos, Tony sold off his live chicken store in Newark, knowing he was making life harder for the neighborhood cooks who insisted on totally fresh chickens and eggs. None of these cooks would be too thrilled with the Jamba Juice to come. But he sold anyways after a bit of delay. My mother raised her own chickens in our sheds. Her mother Stella and her husband, Stanley, would drive out in winter time and Stanley and I would harvest the chickens. I would catch and Stanley would chop and Stella and her daughter would pluck. Stella and her daughter could make soup from the blood and make noodles on the kitchen table. I think the word for Chicken Blood Soup is czarnina. I'll have to look that up. We ate soup throughout the weekend and through the rest of winter, unfreezing what we needed.

I have time now to recreate my mother's recipes, written down in a now lost card file.

There's a whole lot of Chicken Soup making going on. I read a friend's Facebook story when a friend gave her a flock of stew hens and she put up Mason jars of low fat chicken stock for her larder. She's my age and yet looks the same as when I met her almost two decades ago. Is Chicken Soup the secret to longevity?

Amazed to learn that the chicken has a jungle bird that lives in Thailand in its ancestry.

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