In my 37 years (yikes!), I’ve eaten a lot of chicken. Stir-fried chicken with any vegetable, homemade chicken broth when sick, whole chicken at every wedding or special occasion, even Drunken Chicken every day for a month after having my babies. To say the least, the chicken is a highly regarded animal in Chinese culture.
Whole Chicken for Family Unity
Seeing and eating all the parts of a chicken was life in a Chinese family. Head, neck, feet, liver, all parts were either eaten or used to make broth, nothing went to waste. I would visit my grandparents in Chinatown and see whole chickens hanging in the restaurant windows. A whole chicken would be at all of our family gatherings or celebrations because it was a symbol of family unity and togetherness.
Marriage Chicken for Harmony and Happiness
In Chinese legends, if you saw a phoenix or dragon it was very lucky and you would experience a long period of peace and good fortune for yourself and your country. The phoenix, associated with Yin (female), and a dragon, associated with Yang (male), is the primary symbolism seen at Chinese weddings to bring harmony and happiness to a marriage. You will see the the phoenix and dragon symbolism in decorations, on red envelopes, and in food. A whole chicken, representing the phoenix, and lobster, representing the dragon, are both served at Chinese wedding banquets.
Nutrient Dense Chicken Bone Broth
Bone broth is a delicious food that is also a healthy medicine for the liver and kidneys. Cooking bones in water for a long time allows the minerals and nutrients to break down into the broth promoting strength, increasing energy in the blood, rehabilitating the body during sickness, and helping to prevent bone and connective tissue disorders. All of that in a soup! I have a storage bag in my freezer of all of the cooked, eaten, raw bones from baked, boiled, fried chickens, and every two weeks I boil them in a big stock pot with any grass-fed or free range meat I have in the refrigerator for 10-15 hours so I always have broth. I try to incorporate broth in all my meals as a soup or stew, side dish, or in place of water to cook rice. My girls love soup so it’s an easy way to give them nutrients and they don’t have to take their Fermented Cod Liver Oil every day.
Chicken Every Day
Because of all of the medicinal properties of chicken bone broth, I’ve grown up with the understanding that chicken was nutritious and ate it almost every day. My mom is an amazing cook and she would stir fry chicken with any vegetable because this was the most economical way to feed a single income family of six. I remember her spending the time deboning chicken thighs and chopping them up into small pieces because buying chicken with the bones was cheaper then boneless and she could use the bones for broth.
Eat Your Chicken,
The Dumpling Mama xo