« Pinochet Indicted and His Bank Accounts Investigated | Main | Digitized Books Will Soon Be Available for Free »

December 13, 2004

behind the name of the blog

Been wondering why I named this blog Chicken Foot Stew?
It's actually sorta interesting (I think).

Here's the deal - when someone offered to buy me a domain, I wanted something catchier than Serpentine Dancing Queen, the name of this blog's previous incarnation. I decided to try to name it after a historical feminist and found the Jewish Women's Archive. In their Women of Valor presentation, I found Barbara Myerhoff, a pioneer anthropologist who collected oral history from a Jewish retirement center in Venice, California. Here is the Chicken Foot Stew story:

"Being so rooted in their Judaism helped the old people in their struggles and celebrations. They were sufficiently comfortable with it to improvise upon it and adapt it freely as needed, for small requirements and large. Basha exemplified this when she described her dinner preparations. She ate alone in her tiny room. Over an electric hot plate, she cooked her chicken foot stew (chicken feet were free at the supermarket). Before eating, she spread a white linen handkerchief over the oilcloth covering the table, saying:

"This my mother taught me to do. No matter how poor, we would eat off clean white linen, and say the prayers before touching anything to the mouth. And so I do it still. Whenever I sit down, I eat with God, my mother, and all the Jews who are doing these same things even if I can't see them."

"Such a meal is a feast, superior to fine fare hastily eaten, without ceremony, attention, or significance. Because of such things, I came to see the Center elderly as in possession of the philosophers' stone- that universally sought, ever-elusive treasure, harboring the secret that would teach us how to transmute base metals into pure gold. The stone, like the bluebird's feather of happiness, is said to be overlooked precisely because it is so close to us, hidden in the dust at our feet."

So, Chicken Foot Stew is a nod to my heritage and a version of the philosphers' stone.

Plus it sounds cool, no?

Posted by cj at December 13, 2004 5:05 PM


Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?