Yesterday I made chicken cacciatore. That might come as a surprise to you, seeing as I have a reputation for being vegetarian. I don’t eat birds at all–I haven’t eaten bird since I was young. I made a bird version and regular, which was vegan.
This is what happened. There are elders who live in the back house. H told us we should check on elder R, as he was in a lot of pain and could barely walk.
Ugh–I was doing laundry and having a stressful day, when this instruction was mentioned to me. I passed the request on to Ming, our resident nurse, and Ming checked on R.
Yes, R was in a lot of pain and could barely walk. He was having trouble eating because he couldn’t get or make any food. So Ming gave him a bottle of tylenol, offered to cook for him, and made him some food.
Then I got the idea that Ming and I should pick up a box of free food from the culinary school. They give free food boxes that include a lot of frozen chicken. I don’t eat meat and hate to cook meat, but meat is the favorite food of the elders in the back house.
I try not to judge the bodies of others, but R is looking thinner than I have ever seen him. His pants appear to be empty. So it seemed good to help him eat. Ming called to do an intake and got a box of free food from the culinary school. It’s super nearby, and yes. It had a lot of potatoes, onions, apples, two bags of carrots, rice, refried beans, and frozen chicken.
I don’t understand how anyone could eat so many onions! Trying to think if I could make onion rings using gluten-free pancake mix…
That first day we made some chicken plain in the crockpot. I delivered it to the back house, and it was received appreciatively.
Then yesterday I made chicken cacciatore. My mom made it very rarely, when I was a kid, and I liked it. I’d never made chicken cacciatore in my life. So I looked at recipes online and got a sense.
We had some frozen fake chicken strips that had been in the freezer for a while, to make the regular (veg) version for us. So making two types of chicken cacciatore at once–I needed to plan it out pretty well. Chopping veg was good–big onion, bell pepper from the freezer, lotsa garlic. Ming opened cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste for me. It was pretty easy.
The hardest part was determining if the chicken had cooked long enough. We used a meat thermometer, and it read 155. But the internet said chicken is supposed to get up to 165. But someone else on the internet said if you can maintain 145 for eight minutes, that’s good enough as getting it up to 165. We cooked it longer. I wanted the sauce to thicken anyway–it was seeming thin like soup, not thick like sauce.
The vegan version we made was amazing. Partly because I hadn’t eaten anything like that in a long time–I liked the variety. The fake chicken was delicious, brand Gardein, and the sauce was very good. It could have used more spices–I forgot to pick rosemary from the garden to mince and include. That would have been special. Carrot would have been nice too.
Ming made rice, and he gave a pot of food to the elders in the backhouse, taste untasted, as we both don’t eat birds. So it could have been seriously under seasoned, but hopefully they would put salt.
The chicken cacciatore was received appreciatively. R said, “This is a lot of food! I’ll be eating this for a month!” when Ming delivered it. I’m a lil nervous missing that pot, as it’s my favorite big pot with lid, but hopefully we’ll get it back in a few days.
Inspiration for today’s food adventures.
- The free food box from the culinary school is handy if you need to feed meat to your community member. (He’s not on social security, disability, or food stamps and lives on $20 a week? from the Worker. He received zero mail for around five years, off the map.)
- Chicken cacciatore is not that hard to make.
- Ming is a helpful person, to be sure!
- Community is possible.
- I can have a difficult day but still get a lot done.