Saturday, July 30, 2011
Spice Rack Challenge August: Cumin
My town is known for it's "progressive leanings". We're known for our art fair and our hash bash and the $5 ticket for smoking pot (before you dash over to spark up a bowl, I think that the law has changed and it's now a $25 ticket and if you light up on University of Michigan property, you can be prosecuted under State of Michigan laws, which are much different). We've got the bumper sticker that claims that Ann Arbor is "25 square miles, surrounded by reality" and an old codger radio host that used to refer to our fair city as "Moscow on the Huron" for it's liberal leanings. I've always called it the "Haight Ashbury of the Midwest" myself, because after all these years, we still attract the flower children. True to form, a few years back, the city of Ann Arbor passed a chicken ordinance, allowing city dwellers to keep backyard chickens. It's what all the cool and hip towns are doing - Madison, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, etc.
So of course, everyone had to do it - they ran out to get their backyard chickens. A Tractor Supply sprung up nearby for the citizenry's chickenkeeping supplies. Soon, the farmer's market was flooded with eggs which no one was buying because everyone had their own at home. But pretty soon, the bloom was off the rose. My town is full of lots of smart, opinionated people that are sometimes a little short on common sense. They think they know (but they just don't know) a lot of stuff, chickens notwithstanding. Pretty soon I start hearing people complain that they didn't realize how dumb chickens are, or how messy chickens can be. Then, there's the issue of the occasional batch of chicks that have a stray rooster...what to do with it? Roosters are illegal in A2. The local farm animal shelter responded with chicken amnesty day, where people could drop off their brood if they changed their mind about the whole thing. An enterprising farm nearby offered butchering seminars on how to dispatch of Henny Penny once she stopped laying.
Chicken fever was at it's highest when I was exiting I-94 at Ann Arbor-Saline Road and my son observed a rooster mulling about in the grass next to the entrance ramp. I wasn't sure if the chicken was dumped there, or it managed to get away from where ever it was. Chickens aren't the sharpest tool in the barnyard shed, after all. As I was running late to where I was going, I said a quick little prayer hoping that a local farmer would help out poor Chanticleer before he met his untimely demise under the wheels of a local citizen's Prius on his way to Whole Foods. After all, I was in no position to help. I don't know anything about chickens....I live in a subdivision in an outlying township where chickens are still verboten.
In honor of the city of Ann Arbor's chickens, this month's spice rack challenge is cumin. Superstition during the Middle Ages cited cumin as keeping chickens from wandering. And for good measure, it was also thought that it kept couples from straying as well. So, how do you use your cumin? Tell me about it! To be included in this month's roundup, please post your recipe from Aug 13 to Aug 19 and it would be helpful if you'd include "Spice Rack Challenge" in your subject line, so I don't miss it. It's never to late to join the spice rack challenge - just shoot me an email and I will add you to my reading list. Have fun!