How Do You Eat an Elephant?

September 2010

My boss has this saying, which apparently is heavily shuffled around the business world:  “How do you eat an elephant?  One piece at a time.”

As the elephant is my favorite wild animal, I find it really hard to support the business world’s metaphor.  Someone once scoffed at me when I declared the elephant as my favorite wild animal.  “Everyone’s favorite wild animal is the elephant,” the person sneered.  I would like to take this opportunity to justify that I am not on some wild animal bandwagon, and I have a real history of loving elephants, as exhibited by the time I went to Kenya.

I was very fortunate to be part of a trip to Kenya in 2005.  As part of a group of volunteers (including Erin, my partner in The QT Pie Project), we brought medicine to an American doctor and his wife living in the Turkana region of Kenya.  We had the opportunity to follow the couple on their clinic rounds throughout the region.  The pair had been in Africa for thirty years, so their rounds were old hat to them.  It was more of a learning experience and cultural exchange for us, but the medicine and company was well appreciated by our hosts.   After our time in the Turkana desert, we returned to Nairobi for some site seeing.  One of the activities I planned for Nairobi was a trip to the elephant orphanage.

While watching the elephants play with baby pools, tires and in the sand, I learned that elephants really don’t forget.  The orphanage always has two trainers working with any given elephant.  In case one of the trainers has to be absent, the elephant still has another trusted human in his or her daily activities.  Otherwise, the baby elephant’s memories of abandonment would overwhelm the poor thing.

Thus I conclude my elephant tangent.  How do I eat an elephant? Only as a cookie cutter imprint on a chicken pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie Part One:  The Roasted Chicken
Adapted from a Julia Child recipe

In my efforts to cook more and to cook more extravagantly, I sought a roasted chicken recipe from the Kitchen Queen herself, Julia Child.  I paired it with a macaroni and cheese recipe inspired by one of her modern day protégées, Martha Stewart.  It was an epic and delicious meal, and there was more chicken than room in our stomachs, though the dashing carpenter always makes an impressive, stomach-defying, eating effort.

Roasted Chicken Ingredients

4.6lbs local, free-range chicken
1 small, local yellow onion, quartered
1.5 limes
All the celery leaves from one package of organic celery
5 local garlic cloves
Salt and black pepper
Local Amish Butter
1 small local onion, chopped
1 local carrot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups organic chicken broth


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the chicken in hot water and dry thoroughly.

Season the cavity with salt and black pepper and stuff with the onion, lemon, and celery leaves.

Rub the chicken lightly with softened butter and season all over with salt and pepper.

Tie the drumsticks ends together and set the chicken, breast side up, in an oiled v-shaped rack or on an oiled roasting pan in the oven.

Roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees, baste the chicken, and roast for 15 minutes.

Add the chopped onion, carrot to the pan, (leftover potatoes, yellow squash) chicken broth basting them and the chicken.

Continue roasting the chicken for 45 minutes plus an additional 7 minutes for each pound. (In other words, a 3 1/2 pound chicken would take a basic 45 minutes plus an additional 25 minutes, for a total 70 minutes or 1 hour and 10 minutes of cooking time.)

Remove the chicken and sprinkle on the herbs.

Part Two:  Chicken Becomes Pot Pie

For the Crust

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 sticks Amish butter
2 Heaping Tbs Local Wildflower honey
6-10 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 local, free-range egg for egg wash

For the Filling

Roasted chicken
4 carrots, chopped
1 green pepper
1 small red potato, thinly sliced
3Tbs of the roast liquid
A generous garnishing of black pepper
Pinch of Thyme
Pinch of Sage
Pinch of Rosemary


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