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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rooster and Rice

Granddaddy & Grandmama Bradham
Me eating pickles!

When we used to go to Grandmama and Granddaddy Bradham’s for the day, I remember certain things I used to do with each one of them. We had our ‘together times.’ The house was on the Boulevard Road. Granddaddy was famous for having a green thumb. He had a beautiful flower garden, but the thing I remember most was the strawberry patch. On the side of the house was about a six by six recessed section of the house. This made a neat little area for the wild strawberries. Granddaddy and I would go to the patch and pick the strawberries. We would bring them in and wash them. Then we would put them in a bowl sprinkled with sugar to save until they were sweet and juicy.

Grandmama always had a great big jar of baby dill pickles in the refrigerator. We would sit in front of the TV with pickles wrapped in a paper towel. It seems like every time we sat in front of that TV, ‘Hee Haw’ was on... “I’m a pickin’ and I’m a grinin’!” She loved that show. I do, however, remember Granddaddy sitting in his recliner watching wrestling on tv. He would grip the arms of his chair until his knuckles turned blue.

One afternoon I was going to get the strawberries, Grandmama came in and said, “Oh, I know what you want! I’ll get ‘em.” She came in with a paper towel full of pickles. I thanked her. When she left the room, I went and got the strawberries out of the refrigerator. Granddaddy came in a little later to find me sitting in the living room with a pickle in one hand and a strawberry in the other. I remember he closed his eyes and shook, then he said, “Now that’s love!”

Four Generations...
Mama, Me,
Great Granddaddy White & Grandmama Bradham

I can remember watching my Grandmama Bradham go in to the yard and catching a chicken for Sunday Dinner. She would grab the chicken without even looking at it, and with a simple flick of the wrist, it was done. Now, before I receive hate mail, my Grandparents were simple country folk. They raised chickens for food and eggs. We had goose, goat, chicken, pig, squirrel, doves, fish, frog legs and probably a turtle or two. If you can catch it, hunt it, shoot it or gig it, Mama and Grandmama could cook it... and make it delicious!!! I can remember my Granddaddy BBQ-ing a goat and telling me how to clean and skin them before cooking. He said, "You know how an old billy-goat smells? Well, if you let the hair of that goat touch the meat, that's how it will taste!" I think I was about 5 years old at the time. In their house, nothing was wasted. You fried chicken necks and backs with the rest of the bird. That's why, when I buy a chicken cut up, I get the country-style cut so I get the whole bird! Waste not, want not...

My friend Mary, from All Things Food~Cooking with Mary and Friends, and I have been taking some farm tours on our "Farm to Table trips". A few weeks ago, Denise and Tom from Paradise Acres Farm, called Mary to make her an offer. They were culling chickens. Culling is a part of having a profitable farm, though not the most enjoyable task. By culling certain individuals, farmers can make sure that their flocks stay healthy, and that they are not wasting limited resources on an animal that isn’t earning its keep. In this case, it was two roosters. Mary was asked if she wanted the roosters. She accepted the offer and called me to share one with me. They were processed, vacuum sealed and frozen. 

Now you have to understand that a rooster is not like a frying hen. They are a skinny, tough bird. So they are best slow cooked or stewed. I decided to do Chicken and Rice... or in this case, Rooster and Rice!

Water to cover chicken
1 whole chicken (in this case, rooster)
1 large sweet onion; diced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
3 cups long grain white rice

In a large stock, pot bring water, chicken, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, to boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for at least an hour.
Remove chicken to cool in order to debone. Let broth continue to simmer and reduce.
When cool enough to handle, debone the chicken.
Measure the broth from pot and put approximately 8 cups broth back into pot along with the rice, chicken. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is done.
Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. I always add some butter to my bird when I'm stewing it; it makes richer stock and can be diluted to go further. I love your stories; I too grew up in the country and I remember doing so many things that were work, but my Grandparents made it "fun", especially churning butter in the kitchen while I watched my Grandmomma Burrows cook....I loved spending time with them so much and in doing so, I learned a lot too~

  2. Thank you so very much for sharing this story. It reminded me so much of my grandparents that lived in the country. Grandma would go out to the chicken yard and do the same. That was the best chicken ever. I'm sorry that you had to add the sentence about the hate mail, but that's what happens. I've seen it on other blogs. Thanks again for the trip down memory lane.