Just another day in my Asian life.
I stopped at the chicken lady’s table in the market near my house and pointed to the raw chicken I wanted. I was going to make bone broth with the carcass and cook a delicious chicken noodle soup. The man held up a blade and seemed to ask if I wanted the legs chopped off. I wanted the body whole, but sure… I guess the legs could be removed.
He raised his giant knife and began whacking it into a million pieces.
I sighed. Chopped up chicken it was. Next, I wanted to get a few chicken feet. My friend had assured me that chicken feet contain collagen and nutrients that are beneficial and reparative for intestinal lining (and help with wrinkles). Desperate to get rid of my stomach demon, Percy, (and reduce my wrinkles), I was willing to give the chicken feet a try.
I tried to ask the lady about chicken feet. She stared at me blankly.
I pointed at the chicken, and then at my foot. I very nearly started clucking. She nodded in understanding and handed me a bag of 50 chicken feet. In my broken Korean I explained, “No, no, I don’t need 50 chicken feet. I only want two. Can I have two chicken feet?”
More blank stares. More pointing at my feet and holding up two fingers. She smiled, shrugged, and handed me the bag of 50 chicken feet. I asked how much for the bag, and it was about $3.
I sighed again. Fifty chicken feet it was.
I went home and stared at my bag of severed chicken limbs. What was I going to do with all of these? I added a liberal amount of feet to the broth. As a “part time vegetarian” I hadn’t cooked meat in three years, but here I was dropping talons and spinal columns into a pot like a medieval cook.
Later, as I told a friend back home about my chicken feet incident, she laughed and pointed out that I didn’t even seem fazed by the fact that I was cooking chicken feet, only that I had unwillingly acquired so many. She had a point.This is what two years in Korea hs done to me.