Friday, March 11, 2016


Luscious picture courtesy of ROADFOOD and Shealy's BBQ
How many folks these days do you think even KNOW what these are?  Especially by that old-timey name they’ve been called all my life---the coveted piece all my childhood, and the second-place honor of being granted a chance at the wish with someone else, as you grasped one side of that slick thin "V", closed your eyes, and  wrestled that limber talisman for the granting.  

We simply assumed that the magical properties rendered any residual spit harmless, and grabbed hold of the proffered chance with thumb and two fingers.   A tiny “crack,” a little wrestle-pull of the slick twig, and there was YOUR half, with the extra crook on YOUR SIDE showing your luck.

A Pulley Bone is sort of a by-gone thought nowadays, unless you cut up a whole chicken the “real” way---the fourteen-piece way, starting with severing thighs from body, then drumsticks from thighs.   That tricky little operation out of the way, the wings removed, and you sliced up and down each side, halving the football into back and front.

With the breast part uppermost, the knife was brought down about a third of the way from the top, where you judged the little roundy-flat tip of the pulley bone to be.  A soft severing upward through the softness, and there it was in your hand---a smooth lump like plump little pink harem-pants, with a small divining-rod of bone running through.

Only then did you place the cleaver straight up and down on the breastbone, putting a good weight on the whole operation, as the give of cartilage and crack of bone made two neat halves of the breast.   Little collops from each half were nice, as well, but you could just cook each half as is.

The back took similar cleaver-weight and cracking crosswise, unless you were one of those rough-and-ready cooks with strong enough hands to break it manually, separating the lower, oyster-bearing half from the rib cage with one firm hold-and-snap. 

There you had it---fourteen pieces:  two drumsticks, two thighs (second joints, I learned from relatives who visited from “off”), two breast halves, two wings, two back halves, neck, liver, gizzard, and PULLEY BONE.

I hope you get to enjoy one soon.   And make a wish.


Kathy said...

I have never heard it called a pulley bone. We always called it a wishbone. When I was a child my sister and I always got to be the ones to pull it apart. The loser was always disappointed and the winner was positive her wish would come true. I've never heard of cutting a chicken up that way. That's interesting.

donna baker said...

Don't ever see them anymore. I save them from the turkey every year though I don't know why.

Chronica Domus said...

Goodness me, this must be the best description I've ever read of a chicken being dissected so elegantly. You certainly have a wonderful way with words.

Jeanne said...

Good morning my sweet friend, I love your description of cutting up a chicken. Someone taught me how to do this many years ago. I can't remember who! I remember my dad cutting off the chicken's head so we could have our Sunday chicken dinner. Yikes. (the farm years) We then had to pull feathers and it was always roasted never fried. My parents were Yankees and 'nothing' was ever fried. Thank you mom and dad for moving and raising us in the South. We too called the 'pulley' a wishbone. The main thing is it was a big deal to get your wish if you were lucky enough to win the prized bigger half. Love your story as always. You make cutting up a chicken almost romantic. big smile here.

Thank you for your 'always' special comment on my post about hosting Blue Monday. It is up and running with Beverly's help. I am really trying to get back to my blog and visiting my many friends again. I too cherish the eight years since we met and that was always my big reason for blogging. Sally didn't know this but her passing made me realize how much my friends mean to me and losing that connection is very sad to me. So...this time I am really back.

Much love to you Rachel and thank you for not giving up on me. I too 'hope'
we can meet sometime. I know for a fact it will be a looooooong nonstop conversation between us. LOL

Chesapeake said...

Unbelievable that cutting up a chicken could be poetic? Of course not, at least for or Rachel! I read your words in wonder, my dear!

Donna Baker, your post reminded me that I have a purse tatted for a doll, tatted for my mother's doll, fastened on a "pulley" bond for a handle. Thank you for reminding me!

Kim S. said...

I agree with Ms. Chessie! Only you could make poetry outta cuttin’ up a chicken! We are in Memphis this week and with Mississippi just down there, you and my Bomo are in my head every minute!