Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"A Chicken in Every Pot"

We've all heard it, but exactly where did that phrase come from? A little research and I found that in 17th century France, King Henry IV wished that each of his peasants should enjoy, "A chicken in his pot every Sunday." Later on, in 1928, though President Hoover never actually said the phrase, the Republican Party used the phrase in a 1928 ad campaign touting a period of "Republican prosperity" that provided a "chicken in every pot."

Yeah, and we know what happened shortly after that.

The metaphor of the chicken in the pot brings up all kinds of warm thoughts of visiting Grandma on Sundays and the closeness and joy of a family meal together, scents of home made foods wafting, and the crisp autumn air just right for a friendly game of football in the yard.

Go to the grocery store today and try to set that lovely Norman Rockwell scene with a factory farmed bird and you have to add some not so pleasant images and words. Let's see, "Arsenic in 70% of pots," "Salmonella in every pot,"  "Campylobacter in every pot," "Antibiotics in every pot," you get the idea. 

For several years now, my wife and I have been watching the quality of food we purchase. We raised chickens at home and grew a lot of our own food, supplementing it with high quality local food when at all possible, and in general, being very careful what we bought and how we cooked it.

We recently spent 105 days camping, and in that time we ate a dozen meals out. You read that right. Sometimes we needed to stop in and use a wi-fi, and occasionally, we just wanted some fried chicken or a burger. Otherwise we did as Lewis and Clark would have done, as they were a great inspiration as we traveled through South Dakota and Nebraska, and a hard act to follow. We cooked our own, we also packed our own, and we bought high quality food as we traveled.

Raising one's own food supply is not easy or convenient or stylish, but it's high time a lot more of us did it, and none other than the main stream media has inspired me to post this today. posted an article today that everyone needs to read, then decide who you want to provide food security for you and your family. Clearly the USDA isn't doing a good job for us. Just take a look at the e. coli and salmonella contamination issues we have been faced with in recent years. As funding is cut to monitor food quality (and it WILL be) and food factories cut more corners in production (and they WILL), we will face a point in time where we're playing Russian roulette on our dinner plates.

Take your fate into your own hands and grow your own. It is the only way to insure that you will get good quality food. Grow your own vegetables and grow your own chickens. Find a way and make it happen. Start small, and learn your way as you go. Visit Harvey Ussery's site and get all the information you need to have to make it work for you. Do it today. This is really important stuff. If you can't grow it yourself, try to buy your food from a source you trust. 



  1. Excellent article Gulland! That article sure puts it into perspective. I've got to start a garden and my wife and I talk about getting chickens a lot. Gee, out here in the woods, where we have bear, wolf, fox, racoons, weasels, etc...I wonder if it'd be worth the effort, sure would have to have a lot of them, for the critters to take their share. Same with the garden, so many rabbits and deer, I can't even plant a small tree, without them chewing it down to the nub in the spring. I've got to get some fencing and at least have this on hand.. Heh! my Dad had a chicken that just loved him, she went every where he went around the yard! ha! You're picture kinda reminded of him! ha!

    We do buy from local farmers when ever we can.

  2. Jeez Yooper, You guys are pretty far down on the food chain up there, eh? I bet it would be hard to keep a garden or chickens in that environment. Maybe a walled compound would work? Weasels are the worst ones to deal with, I believe. There's almost no hole they can't weasel their way into.

    Your Dad sounds like my kind of guy. That chicken on my shoulder was named Kaitlyn. She used to come running up to me every time I went in the yard. I miss the chickens, but I think we're about to get some here at our temporary location in the city. There's an ordinance against it, but with the way access to good food is getting, I think more and more people are going to be forced to maintain their own food supplies, and that would include chickens. The city is going to have to accept that change.


  3. Good morning Gulland,
    Really great article especially after hearing so much about how our food supply can become tainted so quickly.

    I have been thinking about how I would like to go back to raising chickens again like I used to when I lived in Idaho. There I had not only Red Rocks but Bantys as well. I also had a couple goats and a lamb along with my acre and a half of vegetable garden. I was pretty well self-sufficient except for going to town (about an hour away) for the basic staples - sugar, flour, coffee, and personal items.

    Unfortunately I can't have those things here as my yard is not very big and the zoning laws would forbid it. I am thinking, though, of going to our local Grange and local Farmers' Association and seeing if there is the possibility of there being some type of community chicken raising going on. Who knows, maybe I can get a grass roots movement on chicken raising going here.

  4. PS: Hello Yooper. Wow it sounds like you are pretty cozy with the Animal Kingdom. I imagine that a bit of that Kingdom has been invited to dinner on more than one occasion?

    As for a garden and chickens, some type of compound might be the answer for that. For a garden you could probably put up some little type of "noisemaker" that might scare away the deer.

    Gulland, do you think maybe burying chicken wire for a few inches under the ground might deter any burrowing animal from getting in?

  5. I am far too familiar with factory-raised chickens. I can answer any questions (and I mean any) you have about such an operation.

    I'll say this: in a powerdown scenario, they'll be toast on the second day unless the weather's just right or there's plenty of diesel (and a backup gennie) on hand.