Chicken feet. My two Newfoundland dogs love them, and they are wonderful snacks for them-lots of glucosamine, great for big dog joints. Every time I pull some out of the freezer, I climb aboard the same train of thought. Sometimes these trains run to strange stations. When I see chicken feet, I think of how wasteful we can be with food and how we (and by “we”, I’m referring mainly to Canadians and Americans) say “Ew” and gag at the sight of such unappealing fare, yet how many countries put us to shame by using all parts of the animal, even the not so pretty ones.
Chicken feet remind me of Jamaica, where chicken foot soup is enjoyed with relish. And thinking of Jamaican food means that the lovely Ferguson sisters come to mind. Early in my time as food critic with the Coast, I went to investigate a tiny, hole in the wall restaurant on Windmill Road named Sisters from the Caribbean (“Sisters” being the Fergusons), and it was here that I sampled my first Jamaican fare–curried goat, meat pie, red beans and rice, real jerk chicken. I ended up doing a feature piece on the business, not a critical review; it was my first interview piece.
And this is where Stephanie Domet comes in. I was lucky enough to have her as my first editor. Through her feedback, suggestions, explanations, gentle cajoling, insistence on rewrites, I credit her with bringing out the best in my writing, and my voice. And in this particular piece, she demonstrated a few key points that would help its cohesion and flow, and they were pointers that I remembered, as I did much of her advice, ever after. (Clearly, she has not reviewed this particular blog entry)
Then the train pulls back into the station and I know that every time I pull out a chicken foot, I’ll take this trip again.