Mia: Shaken Not Stirred


The true life stories of a NYC female.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Chicken Feet


My mom and I arrived home to the sight of my little sister in the kitchen furiously working the stove like a DJ spinning records at a party. The child was fierce! The aroma wafting out of the kitchen was mouth watering. It was her first attempt at cooking a meal for the entire household. Not an easy endeavor when you take into consideration that there’s eleven of us here and we’re all fussy eaters. I am happy to report that the kid can actually cook! Long after dinner was over we continued to complement her cooking skills. Caity was beaming, she was so proud of herself.

Grateful that dinner was delicious we felt safe in reminiscing about bad meals. My favorite bad meal story was my mom’s encounter with chicken feet. When she was a kid her parents had been invited over to someone’s home for dinner. The main course was asopao de pollo which can best be described in English as a chicken gumbo. According to Latino legend a good asopao de pollo has miraculous healing properties supposedly it can cure everything from the flu to cancer. Rumor has it the apostles were ladling out the stuff when Jesus cured the sick, the lame, the blind and when he brought back Lazarus back from the dead. If you look closely at the painting of the last supper there’s a bowl of asopao de pollo on the table.

Imagine the look on my 9 year old mom’s face when the hostess served her a bowl of soup containing a pair of chicken feet with claws attached. When my mom attempted to push away the bowl without eating her soup my grandma nudged her leg with her foot underneath the table. All throughout dinner it went the same way mom pushed the chicken feet around her huge bowl refusing to eat the soup filling herself up on the bread instead while my grandma furiously nudged away with her foot. The hostess seemed oblivious to the fact that my mother wasn’t enjoying her soup. When the hostess left the room for a minute grandma leaned over to my mom and said, “Magda don’t be rude eat the fucking soup!” “Mami there’s feet with nails! Mami nails! The chicken feet have nails! Chicken feet ma! There's chicken feet in my soup!” Nena eat the soup just push the feet away.” “No mami it’s disgusting the feet are swimming in it, you eat it!” “Magda I am eating the soup. Now you eat the soup!” “No mami no way!”

My grandfather was no help because he kept telling my mother that chicken had stepped all over feces just before ending up at the vivero's (halal butcher). My grandmother kept kicking my grandfather under the table to get him to stop. When it became evident that there was no way in hell my mother was going to eat the soup despite my grandma trying to bribe her with the promise of pizza later on my grandfather intervened on his daughter’s behalf. Reaching over and scooping out the offending feet he was about to place the feet on the side of his plate when the hostess walked in on him holding the chicken feet. “Magda doesn’t like hen?” asked the hostess. “Oh no it’s not that it’s just she prefers hens with manicures.” My grandmother promptly kicked my grandfather underneath the table. To this day my mother refuses to eat asopao de pollo and every time my grandfather is served a bowl of the stuff he says it makes his shins hurt.

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