Spirit & Food
The Diet of Poultry: Chicken and Turkey
In the past two issues of Spirit-21, we discussed the inner states and behaviors that are integrated through the eating of various meats. We now address the widespread diet of poultry, very prevalent throughout many cultures in the world…chicken, turkey, game birds and waterfowl.
The general behavioral psychology of poultry is that of herd-oriented beings with a strong sense of community. Their natures are excitable, gregarious and "ordinary", rather than "ego-oriented" with the exception of the pecking-order structure. The strongest and most prestigious have social stations in which they peck at or discipline their social "inferiors". This leads to an inner condition of elitism and social ambition. One never crosses the Pecking Order, for fear of losing one's face or prestige, a trait more pronounced in chickens rather than turkeys.
More specifically, chicken behavior can be further differentiated by gender. Hens (females) tend toward pecking-ordered behavior with those of a more passive nature/female gender, whereas cocks (males) tend to focus their pecking order in other males, reflective of aggressive roles in society. Capons (neutered males) do not differentiate in their pecking-order actions.
Turkey reflects less pecking-order behaviors, with more emphasis on demonstration and strutting, especially amongst the Toms (males). Females tend toward more "modesty" by an equal care for one's self-interests. Turkey diet predisposes one to a less crowded social life than does a diet of chicken.
Cultures that need to organize themselves by pecking-order behaviors show a prevalent diet of chicken. A diet of chicken can develop and strengthen one's ability to cope with social pressures and "standing" in society. Chicken is one of the more available and affordable proteins throughout the world. If one finds oneself "too" concerned with social statue, a balancing can be provided through some of the other game birds, or the more independent animals listed in previous writings, namely, "goat" and "venison".
The behaviors of game birds, such as Pheasant, Partridge, Quail, Grouse and Dove include a strong family orientation of non-crowd seekers who prefer the quiet of rural locations.
The common bond of Geese, Ducks, Teals and other related species is twofold…a behavioral psychology of viewing the flock as divine, with strong individual family units, and migratory natures. Individuals, who have waterfowl as a major part of their diet, tend to be strongly loyal to family members and are semi-nomadic, at least in spirit, and they are fond of large gatherings of their peers. Since their purpose of large numbers of travel companions is survival in the wild, this predisposes them to fear of strangers and fear of strange surroundings. People who return each year to the same campground or trailer park or summer home amongst the same neighbors, or those who go to a warmer place in winter, the same winter retreat with the same group of friends, parallel the behavior of migratory waterfowl. There is a desire to return to a place that feels like home, surrounded by others one knows, as compared to those who travel to new places and meet new people when they leave home. Waterfowl have a basic insecurity around strangers. If this is prevalent in one's psychology, expanding one's diet to include more of the independent nature found in goat, turkey, venison and lamb can attain a balance.
The part of the bird that one chooses to eat, or has a preference for, can also reflect what one is looking for in one's life. I recall as a child in my family what happened when my mother set out a lovely roasted chicken on the table. Quietly, I hoped to have part of the breast. Since the breast symbolizes nurture, my preference around "social standing " in society, was concern about nurture. My brother wanted the leg. His preference was for "support" in the social order, the function of the "leg". My mother always liked the wings, hoping to "fly" in her social standing, and my father had no preference…and ate what was left…much preferring a diet of meats. By reviewing the phases in one's life and the parallel diets, one can gain insight into one's personal development. In the next issue, we will move along to the diet of fish.
RECIPES for MIDSPRING and the Diet of Poultry
To decide what to focus upon for the recipe this month, I had only to look out the window to get my direction. As synchronicity would have it, under the kitchen window was a 4-ft. male wild turkey strutting his stuff! I watched him walk down our path and return to the woods from where he came. Two hours later I walked down that path and crossed the stream, and found him again in the pine grove where I often go to reflect. So to honor the integration of his Spirit Nature into one's diet, we begin this issue's recipes with a recipe for turkey, followed by a refreshing chicken idea. Thank you, Tom, for your assistance!
CURRIED TURKEY SALAD
For this recipe, you will need approximately 10 cups of diced turkey breast. One lb. of turkey breast will give you a yield of about 3 cups of diced turkey, so for this recipe you will need to cook a 4 lb. Turkey breast, to get the 10 cups.
Dice 10 cups of roast turkey breast.
Place in the following sauce:
- 2 cups of plain yogurt
- 2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
- 6 ½ T. lemon juice
- 2 ½ T. curry powder
- ½ c. chopped cilantro
- ½ c. chopped scallions
- ½ tsp. salt
Top with coconut if desired.
- 1 each, red, yellow and green apple
- 2-3 oranges
- 1-cup pineapple chunks
- ½ cup peanuts
This recipe is most festive, and is great as leftovers.
POACHED CHICKEN BREASTS
One way of keeping chicken tender and out of the fat for cooking is to poach them. To poach, maintain the liquid at a bare simmer, keeping under cover, using the simmering time as the amount of cooking time. This usually takes about 12-15 minutes. The poaching liquid can vary from water to broth to the more inventive juices and herbs. Because flavor is released into the liquid, later reducing the liquid can make a delicious sauce. We include here a recipe adapted to the ingredients in our kitchen, from the White Dog Café Cookbook.
In a non-reactive pan, combine and bring to a simmer:
Place 4 boneless chicken breasts in the simmering liquid, and cover, cooking 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove chicken and cool. Bring liquid in pan to a boil, and reduce to thick syrup, about 10 minutes time. Cool, then mix with:
- 2 cups cranberry-apple juice
- Sprigs of fresh or dried rosemary
- 5 black peppercorns
- 1 T. cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
Add your combination of celery, with fresh and/or dried fruits such as apples, oranges, pineapple, raisins, currants, grapes, walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, and or chunks of Cheddar or Gorgonzola cheese.
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1 T. cider vinegar
- 2 scallions
Serve over spinach or fresh greens. Leftovers are fabulous! Serves 4 with the possibility of leftovers!