I was born in 1942 right in the middle of World War II (WWII) when even a slice of bread was a luxury.
The Chicken Neck was a delicacy.
My family was fortunate that my father's sister, my aunt Alexandra, whom I loved and communicated with until she passed away at the age of 98.
Each and every Sunday, promptly at 12 midnight, (which was 7:00 a.m. in Greece, her breakfast time) we spoke on the telephone.
Aunt Alexandra was my favourite relative.
She never married and basically spent her lifetime babysitting and diapering her mother who passed at age 106.
What does this have to do with the story?
Let me explain to you, she related to the Chicken topic.
Aunt Alexandra worked at the Airport as a Cleaning Lady at night.
At the Athens Airport kitchen the food for Airline meals were prepared.
At the time the Athens Airport was one of the busiest because it was the connecting centre for flights throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Chicken was a main course in transit. However, the Chicken Necks were discarded.
Aunt Alexandra received permission from the Supervisor to collect the discarded Chicken necks once a week because she did her job well.
OH WHAT HAPPY, HAPPY NEWS.
WE HAD CHICKEN IN OUR HOUSE!
With the bag of Chicken Necks provided by Aunt Alexandra, my mother who was from Smyrna, Asia Minor, was very creative in Cooking: A gift that women from Asia Minor possessed.
So, on Monday nights, the family, including four kids and a couple of kids from the neighbourhood had Rice and Chicken.
On Wednesday Night, we had Carrots and Chicken, and so on, and so on, either in Tomato Sauce or in Lemon Sauce or in a Soup, or, or, or.
We became professionals in Chicken Neck eating.
You could put the whole Chicken Neck in mouth and suck it to the bone, you could chew the bones, and lick the meat off.
We became the authority in eating chicken.
Everything way going smoothly, until my mother took me to a friends house where we were supposed to have dinner.
I heard from my mother that they were going to serve us Chicken.
Well, I was anticipating my regular thing.
You know what I mean: My necks, my beautiful necks.
However, when my plate arrived, I looked at the food and saw two strange objects.
I was speechless, surprised, puzzled!
I scratched my head and wondered.
I asked her: "What is in the plate Mummy?"
She told me that it was Chicken.
I responded, "this is not the Chicken I know.
This Chicken has a foot and a wing. OUR CHICKEN DOES NOT HAVE THOSE FEET AND WINGS.
THIS IS NOT THE CHICKEN THAT I KNOW MUMMY!"
I asked her if I could pass since I was not hungry tonight.
I then received the explanation that Chickens have legs and wings too.
AT AGE 4 or 5, I REALIZED THAT THERE WAS MORE TO THE CHICKEN THAN THE NECKS.
How do you like my story?
My reality! I hoped that I made you smile, if not, I will have to come over personally and tickle you and punish you by having you eat wings and legs only, and you will never know the wonderful, mouthwatering taste of the Chicken neck.
On a serious note, I think that there are people in this world, who, although born during, just before, or in the middle of the World War Two (WWII) and have been through HUNGER, WOULD AFFIRM THAT ONE OR TWO CHICKEN NECKS WOULD HAVE BEEN A GIFT FROM GOD.
Today is March 24, 2012 in 5 days I will be reaching another Milestone.
I thank the Lord, again and again for the shape I am at this stage of life!
Happy 70th Birthday to Me!
This wonderful Roast Chicken with Vegetables recipe is my birthday present to you, and all my loyal customers.
Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Birthday, Spyros Peter Go(oo)udas! Happy Birthday to Me!
Spyros Peter Goudas
Σπύρος Πήτερ Γούδας