jp has been a vegetarian for the past four years. me, the past two.

we’ve been really convicted in this dietary restriction and it’s been a large part of our day-to-day lives.
it also has played a significant role in our marriage. though a strict veg once, right before i met jp i was making ‘exceptions’ for chik-fil-a, biscuits and gravy, and buffalo wings (among other CAFO meat goodies). but being w jp taught me that it is important to be what you are, to walk the walk, to practice what you preach. if i was to keep making these exceptions i had to stop calling myself a vegetarian.
i was giving the rest of us a bad name.
i soon came around. and jp encouraged me by making veg biscuits and gravy, seitan buffalo wings, and some killer bbq tofu as well as scrumptious, healthy foods revolving around whole and fresh ingredients (think quinoa stuffed acorn squash or tabuleh salad or blah blah blah). he gave me the fried, meaty fix i (thought i) needed and also a fixin’ to my principles.
if anyone is a man of his word, it is my husband.
all this said, being veg wasn’t quite cutting it. we had been doing a lot of reading about foods and farming and markets and seasons (see michael pollan, plenty, barbara kingsolver, wendell berry). the more we learned about the detrimental effects of our imported produce diet the more we struggled to justify not eating meat raised sustainably in our own backyard. this was the dilemma we found our diet put us in.
we have all but stopped buying produce that comes from far far away. we have realized it is more important to be conscious about where your food comes, who grew it and with what care, then whether or not it got its life from plants or the sun. after much thought and deliberation, we decided to add meat to our diet.
local, happy, fresh meat.
these are our chickens that we purchased on friday from green grocer. they are snuggled together whilst thawing, next to jp’s homebrews.
we wanted a really simple meal for “breaking veg”. we invited over two close friends: zach, our most devout meat-eating friend who has eaten many-a tofu dinners with us due to our restriction, and brandon, who was in town having surprised us w a visit from denver.
jp used rosemary, thyme, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne to flavor up these big ladies. the fingerling potatoes were a butter cream variety and were the BEST potatoes i have ever had. both these: roasted.
we paired the dinner w a bottle of red i picked up outside of shelbyville on my recent trip to kentucky. it was an extremely fitting choice as the wine came from the vineyard of the daughter of wendell berry, who is a hero of ours and a huge influence in my desire to farm and raise chickens.
the meal makes it way to the table. jp is, perhaps, a bit apprehensive here about what is about to happen, but the succulent aromas from the broilers fill the house and makes our tummies grumble.

the ‘dining room’ table is set pretty for the special occasion.
i am reminded here of aunt augusta in graham greene’s book travels with my aunt:

“you must surrender yourself first to extravagance. poverty is apt to strike suddenly like influenza; it is well to have a few memories of extravagance in store for bad times.”
i’m not certain this is biblical, but seems apropos for life in 2009.

jp plucks out the oysters for us to kick off the meal. obviously, it wasn’t that hard of a transition as we are licking our fingers.

we thinks ourselves pleased w this decision…

…and proceed to carve up the two hens. each of us gets a half(!).

the plateful.

i cannot get enough. i had forgotten how good the skin tastes.

all the good stuff is gone! the rest will go into the kettle for chicken stock.

i have never EVER in my life seen zach so full.
and this dude, though a polite nibbler, can pack it away.

this doesn’t mean meat will become a huge part of our diet, at least not immediately. we have pretty strict guidelines for what meat we will ingest and we certainly cannot afford this rather special meat on a regular basis. but this is a start. and a mighty good one at that.


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