The Art of Making Stock
Over the weekend, the clouds rolled in and I was feeling down. The blues hit me hard when I can’t see the sun. At least, that’s what I blame it on. It’s tons of fun for the people around me, I swear. The culprit of my depression has been a combination of major life changes (planning a move and a wedding, neither of which have cooperated with my overly strict ideas of how things should be) and good old boredom with the mundane parts of life.
I didn’t have much to do this weekend. And I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired.
So I roasted a chicken and turned its carcass into broth. That may sound macabre, but there’s something about the act of making stock that just makes the world seem a little bit better. I threw in some onions and celery bits that were about to go bad, easing my anxiety about food waste and filling my house with all kinds of good smells.
It’s meditative, at times, except at the end of the meditation you have broth instead of enlightenment. Personally, I’ll take the broth option.
At first, this post was going to be my usual recipe post. Complete with ingredients and directions on how to make yourself a stock, be it from chicken, veggies, or beef. But then I realized that I’ve never actually used a recipe myself. Thus, it seemed silly to pretend that I do.
Here’s what I do: I get very, very sad, or very, very happy. Sad/happy enough to consume an entire 3-lb roast chicken myself. Then I take what’s left of that chicken and jam it into a large pot. Then I check my fridge and grab out all the veggies that are about to rot, like that floppy-ass carrot and the butt end of what used to be celery.
I throw it all in, fill the pot to the top with water, and put it on medium heat for about two hours. About halfway into the two hours, I douse it with salt and pepper.
And there you have it. You’re making stock.
And in a strange way, it made me feel better. Warm foods, especially when they involve chicken, have a way of doing that. I used some of the stock to make ramen and put the rest in the fridge for later. It’s like making a deal with myself that there will be a later, a time when I will once again get to eat and find joy in something.
It’s that way whenever you make something to preserve. Making stock, jams, jellies, or make-ahead dinners. All of these are created based on the assumption that the future will happen, and it will include food.
Until next time, save the carcass.