In the meat section of the grocery store, I was just looking for some boneless free-range lamb chops. I dislike the taste of lamb, even if it's slathered with mint jelly, always have, always will. But I'm shopping for my mother, with under 2000 mgs. of sodium dietary restriction from the cardiologist and my dietician sister's directions to fatten her up. Not the usual advice from dieticians, but my mother lost too much weight in the last few months. Then there are the things my mother wants. Chicken Paws is not on the list. They are, however, right where the lamb chops were the last time, so I pick them up and like any normal shopper, take a photo with my cell phone.

A tiny brunette, in her yoga outfit and talking to someone heatedly on her bluetooth, stops and says to me, " My grandmother had a great recipe for those, really easy, and everyone loves it."

I figure I'll go along with this since I can't find the boneless free-range lamb chops anyway. "Yeah, MY grandmother on my Dad's side had a recipe but she died before she ever wrote it down." Total lie.

She beams. Ignoring whoever it was she was embroiled with, she asks for my e-mail. Now, I'm very wary of complete strangers asking for that or my cell phone number. The brunette seems to sense my discomfort, and with a wave of her manicured red-tipped fingernails, she asks if I have a pen and paper.

That I'm okay with and rummage through my purse, handing her a pen and small notepad. She writes in large, all capital letters, underlining several times, then smiles and hands it back to me. I say thanks. She says enjoy. And below is the recipe:


GRANNY'S CHICKEN PAWS


(DEPENDING ON HOW MANY PEOPLE YOU'RE FEEDING, ALLOW 4 CHICKEN FEET PER PERSON;

GRANNY ALWAYS COOKED FOR 15). I do the math in my head, that's a lot of chicken feet.

60 CHICKEN FEET (PAWS) WASHED AND DRIED LIGHTLY

UNBLEACHED WHOLEWHEAT FLOUR

SALT, PEPPER, CAYENNE, CRUMBLED THYME, PURPLE SAGE, CINNAMON

COOKING OIL OF YOUR CHOICE (GRANNY USED LEFTOVER MEAT GREASE IN A RUSTY TIN CAN)

ONIONS, GARLIC, POTATOES, CARROTS, TOMATOES IF IN SEASON

APPLE CIDER

IN A LARGE POT, COOK CHICKEN PAWS UNTIL TENDER; DRAIN. DUST WITH FLOUR AND THEN FRY IN OIL OR LEFTOVER MEAT GREASE. ADD SEASONINGS, ROUGHLY 2 T. EACH, EXCEPT FOR CINNAMON (1 TSP.)

CHOP OTHER VEGETABLES COARSELY THEN ADD 1 CUP APPLE CIDER. TURN HEAT DOWN, COVER AND LET SIMMER FOR ONE HOUR. ADD MORE CIDER IF NEEDED, TO KEEP THE MIXTURE FROM DRYING OUT.

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