Thursday, May 25, 2017

Back before there was Giant or Safeway or Weis...

Grocery stores, as we all know, sell off the whole chickens whose time in the refrigerator case is, shall we say, about to go into extra innings, by putting them in the rotisserie, slathering them with barbeque sauce and selling them, at long last, that way.

And then, if the almost-expired chicken doesn't sell in the rotisserie reincarnation, the deli guy shreds it for chicken salad.

And when THAT doesn't sell, I don't know what to tell you.

Image result for rolling hoops
Rolling Hoops
But I want to take you back to a time in America, before the George Foreman ro-to-matic rotisserie, before the electric turning spit was invented, when it was up to everyone barbecuing a bird to turn the doggone thing, lest it get all cooked on one side and all raw on the other.  Ma had butter to churn and laundry to beat on the rocks in the creek and Pa was tied up chasin' varmints and plowing row after row of corn to have with the chicken for dinner, and the kids were busy rolling hoops or hooping rolls or whatever they did. 

Dizzy Dog
Someone came up with the answer, as someone always will, if we just wait long enough. Canis Vertigus, Latin for "dizzy dog," was the solution.  

And if at any time you think I am pulling your leg or losing my mind, let me assure you, this is all true.

In the kitchen, they would rig a wheel, like a hamster wheel but much bigger, and put a dog in there to make that little wheel spin and spin. And the dog, a breed of Corgi called a "turnspit dog," made dinner come out perfectly even by doing his job.  The wheel was connected to the rotisserie and the whole family could go on about their lives, knowing that wonderful, falling-off-the-bone fire-roasted chicken awaited them later.

Some families were even so well off that they had two turnspit dogs, with one always ready in the bullpen to come in take over when the other one got dog-tired.

Back the, people did not look upon animals as we do today. Cats were there to keep the rodent population down, and dogs earned their dinner (perhaps some leftover chicken?) by working doggone hard for it.

And that's nothing, compared to what people expected of their children then! My heavens, sometimes they even had to walk to school in cold weather!

Carrying leftover chicken for lunch.

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