Rest and Food Prep

So it’s Sunday morning again. Got up late (after the sunrise) and drank a couple of cups of coffee while playing with the kittens and puppies on the back porch. Then Steph and I came inside and did our Sunday morning chore, preparing a week’s worth of food for the two pups and three kittens (the old indoor cats prefer their dry cat food and an occasional can of tuna).

The process is becoming a little more streamlined, now that we’ve done it a few times. The kitchen counter is a disassembly line. Whole chickens enter on one end and packaged meals exit the other. On the left, two two-packs of whole chicken, which we picked up again for 95 cents a pound at Walmart. I cut the birds on the board (with knives I’ve remembered to sharpen!), and Steph runs them through the machine. Along the way, there’s a loop, as the meat first gets cut into pieces that can be sent through the grinder, and then it all goes through twice. Then on the other end, they go into reusable plastic food storage containers.

The rough grind takes less time than it takes me to cut up the four chickens. After two birds, Steph cleans out the auger of all the cartilage that piles up there, so I have a chance to catch up. Bone goes through just fine, but the cartilage gets hung up there and after a while sounds like knuckle-bones popping as the grinder turns. So we clear that out, and it doesn’t end up in the final mix of food (which is probably just as well, since I don’t think it adds a lot to the nutritional value of the food). We get two big bowls from four chickens, and next time we’ll clean the auger between each of those bowls as we’re feeding it through again, too. By the end of the second run-through, the grinder was slowing down a bit.

Working together, we managed to make the process fairly efficient. Steph was even able to catch about half the meat as it came out of the second grind, which decreased the amount that had to be packed from the bowl at the end, and also eliminated the need to reuse the bowls from the first grind. After about an hour and ten minutes, we had 29 meals for the freezer, and a little pile of fresh meat for today. Then came the deep-cleaning of the kitchen (because, after all, we’re talking about raw chicken bought at Walmart), complete with bleach on the countertops and floor. The meat goes into the chest freezer, and we’re good for another week!

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