Growing up, my sister and I had two amazing grandmothers, often differentiated in the family as the farm gramma and the city granny.
Tonight, the farm gramma is much in my memories. You see, there is a huge vat of turkey bone broth simmering on my stove.
I really don’t know if Gramma made soup. She did the hard part!
Elsie raised poultry on the farm in Indiana. Turkeys, geese, chickens. Probably ducks but I don’t remember any colorful stories about them.
(Ask me one day about my dad and a toy bow and arrow and a certain cranky turkey!)
In addition to feeding her family, Elsie was selling eggs to help send her sons to college. (Which is, indeed, an historical issue for another day!)
Just between us, I’m pretty glad I’m not the one raising the birds that wind up in my stock pot.
And I also spend a bit of spare time now and then imagining how shocked Elsie would be about contemporary, sustainable family farming.
Elsie, who lived to be 97, didn’t trust computers.
“They’ll tell you things,” she’d whisper, “that you don’t want to know!”
I think she may have been on to something!
Then again, I’m grateful for the fact that I can sit with my laptop, watching Top Chef re-runs, and magic up a delivery of birds and bones and other yummy things.
I can even get eggs. Real, farm eggs, laid by hens who ran around like Elsie’s no doubt did, being happy, healthy chickens.
I’ve thought about backyard chickens, but there are three Newfoundlands who hold previous title around here and I just don’t see that turning out well.
Frankly, turkeys might stand a chance. They’re big and scaly and kind of pre-historic looking.
And they are, oddly, among my farm heroes.
I can make, conservatively, 50 or 60 meals from the bones of half a turkey, with a couple of miscellaneous additions. Even 100, depending what I do with the broth!
Not to mention some really excellent gravy.
And that’s after we eat the turkey!
Some of you are all, “Blech!”
I hear you.
I also know that I feel a lot better since I started eating a bowl or two of bone broth, chock full of veg, almost every day.
And I can use less food for my family so there’s more food for others.
I have a magic wand.
I even have a crystal ball.
They’re useful therapy metaphors.
My stockpot is more useful for real world healing.
I’m working on revisions for my book, Let’s Boil Bones! which should be out in paperback this Spring.
Comfort food and research all at once!
It’s a stormy night in Atlanta.
My house smells heavenly.
I don’t hurt.
I think I inherited Elsie’s bird wisdom.
Maybe that’s why the cardinals were all over the garden this morning!