I saw two news items today confirming the continued popularity of chickens across the world. The first came from Sunset Magazine proclaiming backyard chicken coops as one of the Top 100 Cultural Trends in the West. It’s part of “The ideas, people, places, and things that are making life out here better right now.”
The second news item came from Dorset, England, where they’re experiencing a rise in chicken thefts. The reason? The price of a purebred chicken has risen because of the popularity of raising chickens. “The Domestic Fowl Trust says chicken thefts, driven by rising prices, are happening more regularly across the country. When you could get a bird for £5, no-one cared. But now that keeping poultry is more popular and prices are higher, we are seeing these thefts increase. It is a really popular hobby – it is the fastest growing pet market there is at the moment.” Shouldn’t we have a “Domestic Fowl Trust” in this country too?
I think that one under-appreciated reason for the chicken craze is because chickens brighten your day and make you laugh. Take this morning for instance. My day started out with six knobby chicken knees peering through the window at me. I was late with the girls’ warm breakfast mash and as I entered the run I looked up to find a line of scaly legs as the only thing visible through the coop window. Kinda’ looked like the Rockettes – if the Rockettes were made up of chickens.
Everyday it’s something new. Yesterday Roxanne didn’t want to touch the snow but she was also tired of being held by me. So, off she flew from my arms, bounced twice on the snow-covered path like a deflated basketball and finally landed up to her neck in the snowbank. She haughtily scrambled out of the snow attempting to keep her matronly dignity intact.
Then there’s Ruby, who wears as much food as she eats. As her beak gets coated with a mustache of yogurt she swings her head causing it all to land on her head. Yesterday she wandered about with a cape of arugula perched on her back.
Chickens are pets that provide many diverse dividends. Yes, they give us eggs, but they’ll also give you something to smile and laugh at. In spite of yourself.
It’s been a fun week. Everyday something new comes out about the book (Chicken and Egg) and I hear from people who’ve bought it, such as this lovely note I received from reader Lisa H:
“I purchased your book “Chicken and Egg” at Crate and Barrel. Every aspect shines-writing photographs and recipes. I read it cover-to-cover. As a fellow Suburban Homesteader, and flock owner of 12 hens, I was drawn to your personal story of poultry ownership, and we are always looking for new egg recipes. Thank you for sharing your story and recipes.”
The chicks appear to be totally unfazed by their emerging publicity. Their attitude seems to be that fame is probably fleeting, and what’s really important in life is that the food bowl is full and treats come often. But, if there are fans out there with time of their hands, I’m sure the girls would each love a pair of hand-knit leg warmers, as our cold weather continues!
I’m excited to share one of my favorite recipes from the book, I hope you like it! It’s a great recipe for Super Bowl week because it’s perfect to serve during the game. The recipe calls for the wings to be grilled, but if you’re one of the many readers who have suffered through the storm of the century this week, I’ve also adapted it so that you can cook the chicken in the oven. I think you’ll like it either way. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Smoked Wings with Cilantro Dip
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