Thursday, December 31, 2009

Deconstructing Poultry

Did this young girl know that she was practicing for a close working relationship with fowl when her mother plopped a chicken carcass in front of her and said, "It's time you learned how to cut up a chicken!"? At least the innards, some of them, were in a nice paper package, conveniently stuffed up in the cavity to be pulled out, and the feathers were already plucked.

Until I officially learned how to cut up a chicken in Home Economics, it was all a big mystery to me. Bones and joints and skin just seemed like tough obstacles to work with to get some pieces loose. I'd plucked plenty of chickens as a kid, but cutting them up was always someone else's job.

What a revelation when I learned the pattern of aiming for certain joints to make the official chicken pieces! Now, I can't stand to buy a precut chicken because they just go through and whack them off in the general vicinity of the section, leaving little bone slivers here and there, and not cutting the breast in the the pieces I like best.

It was fun teaching my kids how to do this. It sort of reminded me when my dad walked me through changing a tire when I started to drive. Seeing this picture from years ago reminds me of something. I have one more child at home. A son. And I really think he needs to learn how to cut up a chicken.


  1. I was an adult before I learned how to cut up a chicken! I think I read about it, and decided I should figure it out, and whacked up a few pretty messily til I got the hang of it. I'm still not perfect at boning out breasts, but who is, really?

  2. comment from earlier is not showing up. Darn!

    Yes, Tristan should learn to cut up a chicken. And make speghetti sauce from scratch (and learn how to spell spehghettit....) As I recall, when it was my week to cook 2 meals, those were the only meals I knew how to do.

  3. I got a new knife from Harper's Ferry (going out of business sale, so sad) that is really sharp. It will be great for teaching him to cut it up. He can bbq it, thereby teaching him another great skill.

  4. I'm a whiz at boning thighs. One thing I learned is no matter how meaty those bones look afterwards, it isn't enough to be worth trying to cook them down and scrape it off for soup.