It was probably a mistake to put a comment on Twitter about the chicken soup I had just made.
Made a chicken soup so good, I wish I was sick so I could take it to myself.
Twitter is made for offhand remarks like that. Its a medium of wry observation, not full explanation.
Of course, I immediately got hit with requests for the recipe.
The recipe? In 140 characters or less? How?
How could I explain that the soup started in December, when I ran into Melinda Koenigsberg of New Town Farms on a Saturday at Costco? She lamented that they hadnt had time to cull the aged-out laying hens that were eating more food than they provided.
How do I explain that I reserved several chickens when Melindas husband, Sammy, sent around a message to customers offering those scrawny hens for stock?
Do I include the moment at the Matthews Community Farmers Market when the woman in front of me got upset because her chickens still had feet? And how I volunteered to take hers, because chicken feet give stock extra collagen and body?
Can I describe the way Luca Annunziata, the chef of Passion8 Bistro, grinned at me as he bent down and snipped off the offending feet with a pocket knife and tossed them in the bag with my chickens?
Would I be able to include the moment in my kitchen when I waved a clawed foot at my son and he immediately said Ga-runga-runga! We both laughed, remembering a book we read when he was little, about a kid on the Lower East Side who yelled that when he chased his sister with a chicken foot bound for his grandmothers soup pot.
How do I explain the aroma and satisfaction of smelling a pot of simmering stock all day, and the anticipation of chilling it overnight to skim off the fat?
Would there be room to discuss how the meat from an old laying hen is tougher, but you can pull out the chicken after about 40 minutes and cut away the breast meat, then put the rest of the carcass back in the pot? And when you dice up the breast meat later, it will be chewy but tasty?
Id have to explain the other ingredients, of course. The big roasting pan of small white baby turnips, sunchoke slices, mushroom caps, carrots and onions that I tossed with some of the rendered chicken fat and roasted to make them sweeter.
Oh, and Id have to mention adding a ladle of stock to the pan, to stir up the browned bits from the bottom.
And Id have to explain that I started the final soup by breaking spaghetti into short bits and toasting them in a little olive oil, like you do when you make Spanish fideos, a paella with pasta instead of rice.
The dried thyme, tarragon and marjoram I added would those fit in the message? Even if I didnt measure them, just threw in what looked right?
How can I give a recipe in a tweet?
Make stock from feet-on aged hen. Roast baby turnips/carrots/sunchokes/shrooms. Toast spaghetti.
Feels a little skimpy, frankly.