We re-homed four of our eleven roosters this week.  Thanks to the miracle that is Craig's List--who is Craig?  the patron saint of loons who know there are other loons out there who want their stuff?--I found a lady who would take as many as we were willing to give her.  That number, for me and my husband anyway, was nine.  Roosters are useful, but not in the concentration we are presently hosting.  When the numbers get too high, it's just a big frat party and the feed bills go up while the poor beleaguered hens go bald and form unions.

Posting something on Craig's List definitely opens your world up to some chaffy emails, but the woman we ended up with seemed like the real deal.  She and I made a date.  Here at the homestead, we prepared to load the boys up.  I wish I could give you the entire transcript of my younger daughter's litany as we considered the menfolk of the coop.  (Not him--he was the little brown chick we loved so much!  Not HIM, for goodness' sake--he is Fern's brother!  Not him--he is too old to have to get used to a new place. And so on.) In the end, we parted with four, because it was very clear that four was as many as we were parting with peacefully in one day. Maybe you know that look that children can develop, around the edges, when the needle on their main gauge is jumping towards "overload."  

I drove with four quiet roosters to an exit on the highway halfway between the lady's loony home and my own.  I stopped at the appointed meeting place, having arrived first.  Quietness ceased.  Mad, competitive quadrophonic cock-a-doodling commenced.  It was pouring with rain, so I sat in the car with the windows up and let me tell you, sound accumulates quickly in a space like that. Mercifully, this decibel level prevents deep introspection.

Per my husband's suggestion, I frisked the lady for marinade, large casseroles and recipes for coq au vin.  She came up clean, so I transferred four roosters from my kennel boxes to hers without, I am pleased to say, releasing any live birds into the Friendly's parking lot or onto the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Four down, five to go.  It's a process.

Today, it's not raining anymore.  It's a nice day, and someone left the door open...


...so you-know-who was discovered in the dining room.  I think it's sweet that she shares my interest in cooking.


Food news, you ask?  


Hmm.  When I am operating under an appreciable but manageable amount of stress, I try with varying degrees of success to take the whole "body is a temple" approach to self-care.  Here, dear carriage of my being--here is a green juice for you.  Here is a yoga class.  Here is some balanced nutrition, served at regular intervals on a plate while you sit in a chair.  Perhaps this is just me, but when the going gets tougher, when the needles on my gauges are heading for the red area, that strategy goes out the window faster than whatever it is that comes to your mind that defenestrates quickly.  (Suddenly I cannot think of a thing, other than the flaming log my uncle threw out onto his suburban lawn in 1972, shortly after lighting a festive Thanksgiving fire, when it became clear that the fireplace in his home was more decorative than functional, but that mental image may not speak as directly to your mind's eye as it does to mine. Trust me: he did it rapidly.)  

When I need it most, when my weary self would derive the greatest benefit from that good nutrition and tender care I spoke of, then what I begin to crave runs more to gummy bears and whoopie pies and I have to watch myself very carefully.

Things like sugar and wheat, which I can flirt with to a degree when all is right with my world, are things I need to steer quite clear of when I am taxed.  But I am a big believer in comfort food.  A dilemma.  Enter pudding!  I love things on a spoon, and despite my devotion to spicy food, I loooooove things like tapioca--gloppy and gummy and mild.  My friend Laura turned me on to chia seed pudding a while ago, and it is just absolutely the ticket at the moment. Here is her sophisticated version, and below is how that panned out in my kitchen.

If your thinking about chia seeds, like mine, was stuck here:


then you might like to know that chia seeds, like flax seeds, are rich in a certain useful kind of omega-3 fatty acid that your body can use to reduce inflammation, and you might also like to know that very little time and few kitchen skills indeed are called for here.  This is a quick experiment. If you like tapioca, you are likely to like it.  You can customize the flavor as you wish and I bet you could use a packaged nut milk or coconut milk to make it--I just happen to vigorously dislike the packaged kind, and the home kind takes about three minutes to whip together and totally smokes the boxed stuff in terms of flavor and consistency.

I am not really sure how to weave it into the narrative here, but I feel you should also be aware that this exists, and so does this.  I would not want your errant googling to lead you there, and think I was holding out on you.

chia pudding
  • a scant cup of almonds (or maybe hazelnuts, or cashews if you lean that way), raw or toasted
  • a couple tablespoons of sesame seeds (optional, if you like the flavor)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds (for reasons I cannot explain, the dark ones are much easier to work with than the white ones, which are very prone to clumping)
  • 3T honey or maple syrup or sorghum
  • dash vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
Put the nuts and sesame seeds in the container of your blender with about 3 cups of water, and let them soak for a bit--I have soaked them for a minute, and for an hour, and seen recipes that suggest you soak them for 8-12 hours, and while there may be levels of nutritional difference between the various outcomes, they all taste the same to me).  Grind them entirely, and pour into a fine mesh strainer, or a cloth-lined one if you don't have the mesh one.  Press or squeeze the solids until they are as dry as you can get them. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of nut milk, maybe a little more.  [The paste that is left behind can be turned into nut butter (by combining it with some coconut oil and maybe a little flavoring of your choosing), used in baking, thrown into your oatmeal or smoothie, or be cast straight into the yard for whatever kind of bird dwells in yours.  You can also use a food dehydrator to make crackers out of it, but I am going to spare you those details for the moment.]
Put the nut milk and all the remaining ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake it like you mean it, until everything is well-combined and evenly distributed.  Refrigerate for a few hours, shaking periodically for the first half hour, until chilled and set.  You can garnish it beautifully with chopped nuts or orange sections, like Laura did, or you can sneak off with the jar and a spoon, like I did.