What you put into chicken stock is not nearly as important as why you're making it
Use leeks or not
Use the woody ends of last night's asparagus or not
Whole garlic, peeled garlic
A clove-studded onion
or cloves tied in cheesecloth.
With each dull clunk in the stock pot
as you drop in what you have on hand
With each resounding thwack of the knife
as you crack apart the chicken bones
You'll come to know that making stock
brings a calm you didn't know you needed
a connection to an agrarian past you didn't know you were missing.
100 years ago, in a snug white-washed houseSo use leeks or not
sitting on the corner of a small field,
a woman in a blue-flowered dress
looks out the window at the prairie sunrise—
a defiant, burning orange,
the promise of a clear, full day.
She thinks not of
the onions and carrots and herbs
dropping from her hands and into the pot,
but thinks instead of
the soup this chicken stock will become
and of the people who will noisily eat it at her table
and of how she likes the sun but wishes it would rain.
The stock simmers and
she's drawing the richness out of every joint
thinking about it.
Asparagus, garlic, celery, onions:
whatever you do, find the flavor of life
draw deep from the marrow.