Monday, June 28, 2004

That's taking the idea of "organic" a bit far.

Today I did some grocery shopping. I have to do it alot. Bread has to be bought daily, it's not like in the US where it comes in pre-cut "stay fresh" loaves. Bread here frequently comes hot and fresh and it's really good. Milk comes in small liter containers. Meat comes in small containers. Ditto salads and yogurt and there are precious few TV Dinners to be had (that are edible). Everything is small and (usually) fresh, and grocery shopping is a daily habit. As is cooking. It's too expensive to go out and there are no drive thrus, so I have become, by necessity, a whiz of a cook.

Chicken is a new thing to Norwegians. Historically, they never really ate chickens, they just used their eggs. The marketing of the chicken in Norway is a bit strange to those of us from the US. They sell the breasts and the wings. That's pretty much it. Wings are very popular here, they like to douse them in this orange flavoring and call them "buffalo wings". You can't get cut up fryers, and a whole chicken is always a disappointment, being small and scrawny. Since it is still a delicacy, it's QUITE expensive, a kilo of chicken breasts being $20. A whole chicken is about $15, and it won't be more than 2 or possibly 3 pounds, if you are lucky. It's taken a bit of getting used to for them, the idea of chicken being a mainstay in the diet. (They still eat whale meat as a favorite protein.) It's been hard for me, this paucity of chicken, as 85% of my recipes begin with "Take 4 chicken breasts..."

Today I saw something that I have never seen before in a grocery store. I saw an organic chicken. But I think they missed something in the translation of how an organic chicken is supposed to be presented. It was a WHOLE CHICKEN. I mean, head, feet, wings, that wiggly thing on it's head, butt, the WHOLE THING. Tightly vaccuum packed in clear plastic.

For a know at the end of the second (real) Star Wars where Han Solo gets frozen into the metallic brick thing? And his face and hands stick out and he is kind of making a face? Like "OUCH! I"M FROZEN IN A BRICK AND I DON'T LIKE IT!" THat's how the chicken looked. Its feet and head were all cramped and pained looking and it was wrapped in a clear plastic brick and STARING AT ME. It was the most un-appetizing piece of grocery product I have ever seen. Am I supposed to get it home and cut off its little organic clawed feet and its little organic feathered head and remove its little organic innards and feel that I am doing my family a favor by feeding them a hacked-up range-fed pissed-off plastic-wrapped organic chicken?

I bought frozen pizzas and Heinz baked beans instead. The Brits eat beans on toast. I will learn how to do that. The idea of chicken claws and heads and butts being in my garbage gives me the willies. Yeuch.....

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