Exclamation Point, Special Organic Free Range Chicken Broth Edition

Oh dear.

Late last week I was going through my special hatemail folder — it’s called “Hate is all you need” and every time I open it four butterflies explode out of my computer and kiss me on my nose — and realized that I had enough really good ones to put out a fall collection. (You can see the Spring Edition here and the Summer Edition here) There’s a particular gem I got sent a couple weeks ago from someone who lives in Salt Lake City, and after ranting about how my website sucks because it doesn’t give him a boner, he goes on to tell me where he lives, what his car looks like, where it is parked, and then dares me to show up and throw a rock at his windshield. For a brief moment I considered heading out to find his car, only instead of smashing his windows I’d put a little note underneath the windshield wiper with the name of a good therapist and 10 dollars to help with the co-pay. And then sign it, “Hugs and kisses!”

But Friday night I wrote a little something about organic free range chicken broth mistakenly thinking that I was being ridiculous enough about it that people would know I was joking. That I don’t hate chickens. That, in fact, I firmly believe chickens should live as unencumbered as possible, that their lives should be filled with happiness and joy and leisure. And many, many hand jobs.

And, oh, the hatemail that followed. Turns out hatemail about chickens is a lot more colorful than hatemail from Mormons. The Mormons obviously need to try harder.

The idea of organic free range chickens isn’t necessarily funny, but when you put that label on a box of chicken broth, there is an incongruity there that is a little absurd. As if the broth water itself was out grazing feed next to the barn. And then there is the whole idea (an idea I agree with, mostly) that chickens should be allowed to live more fulfilling lives, lives where they are allowed to roam free and sleep in better cages, at least right up until we cut off their heads and eat their juicy thighs with a little bit of lemon pepper marinade. It’s like, here chicken, be happy! Relax! WE NEED YOU TO TASTE BETTER.

I didn’t mention that Jon and I often buy organic food, and agree that it is usually (although, not always) healthier for you, because the whole point of that post was to poke fun at my mother who was horrified when she realized that she agreed with a very liberal approach to farming. It just doesn’t match up with how her world is set up, one where you’re not supposed to care about the chickens, don’t you know that the chickens were put here by God so that we could eat them? Also? Those chickens totally had it coming because I have prayed about it and the Lord told me they are rotten, dirty whores.

According to the email I got in response to that post, I guess you’re not supposed to joke about chicken broth. Ever. This website is now on the Official Shit List of the Organic Free Range Chicken Broth People. And my, are they a testy bunch.

Let’s start with this one from Jason who I’m guessing would not laugh if I came up behind him and stuck a fork in his butt:

Well, I’ve never been a huge blogger, I read them once in a while, but I was forwarded your blog today by a friend. Things must be really slow in Utah around Thanksgiving, or maybe its the cold.

I’m unsure how Free Range Chicken Broth is funny, or for that matter how it would be funnier than Free Range Chicken?

Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

First I find it funny that you have no clue how to make Chicken broth. Then after admitting to this ignorance, go on to comment about how, in your infinite wisdom, you can’t understand how the qualities of a chicken would be transferred to the broth made from that chicken.

It’s like saying I don’t understand how Vitamin C makes it from an orange into orange juice. Boggles the mind.

Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Hmm… that ringing in my ears is the sound of… delicious free range condescension.

Here’s one from from Megan:

Just wanted to let you know that due to your ignorant and uneducated post about free-range chicken I will no longer waste my time reading your blog. In the past I have always enjoyed your wit and regularly stop in to catch up on your life, however your latest post has honestly left me annoyed. Do you even know what free-range means? I am so not a hater normally, but you sound like a moron in your post. Please do yourself (and your family) a favour and research Organic Agriculture and Sustainability. Failing that, consider what it would be like for Chuck to live out his days in a cage, sitting in his own feces and urine, never getting a change to move his body. Does this sould fair to you? And if that doesn’t get your attention, perhaps you might want to consider all the antibiotics and hormones an animal is given when kept in subpar living conditions on a factory farm. Mmmm yummy. Honestly there are many more reasons why one might consider organic free-range products but I’ve already spent enough time writing this post. As a last note, not everyone who believes in saving our environment is a hippy. I in fact am wearing makeup right now!

Chuck isn’t supposed to be living his days out in a cage eating his own feces? Is that what you’re telling me? A LOT OF GOOD THAT DOES ME NOW, MEGS.

This next one is from a reader named Rich:

Free range chicken broth may seem hippie to you, but there are many reasons you should consider buying it over regular broth. Organic food as well as food raised free range [blah blah blah, several long, complicated sentences here about the history of the meat industry, blah blah] and while [blah blah, more long sentences, blah] it can only [blah blah] but [blah]…


Therefore, organic is better for you, and if [BLLLLLAAAAAAAAAHHHHH] …

I wish you would educate yourself and your readers about this very important issue. Use your power for good.

Thank you, Rich, for that very useful, very lengthy primer on agriculture. Although you might want to take a different approach in the future when you’re trying to convince someone that you are right and they are wrong. First, you should make sure that the person disagrees with you. That usually helps.

Then try to be a little less civilized. Call them names. Spit. Misspell a few words. Go wild and add a punctuation mark where none is called for. USE A SENTENCE FRAGMENT (!!) Because something tells me you haven’t ever done any of these things, and that your inner six year old yearns to be set free.

Here’s one from Ted:

You don’t have any idea what your talking about, and you shouldn’t pass judgement on things in which you are ignorant. It makes you look like an idiot. I am not going to take the low road and hurl some ridiculous insult at you, because I think you would get some twisted sense of joy out of it. Rather, I will simply say, I hope this e-mail ruins your day, and that you would take a long hard look at the words you write. There are many people who believe in the power of organic foods, and most of the ones I know are just as sensitive to marketing hype as you. I happen to know the guy that started this particular chicken broth company, and I can assure you his office doesn’t have a 14th floor.

Next time you decide to laugh about something that really isn’t funny, why don’t you at least do your homework and educate yourself so you don’t sound like a moron.

Normally I think you are funny…but in this case I think you are the one that should think about your conscience before you go to bed tonight. The truly ironic thing is that you are writing about being a better democrat when in actuality, you sound like some some stupid republican who is talking about how we are in Iraq to protect democracy. Good luck with that.

People who believe in the power of organic food? You mean like people who believe in the power of the Holy Spirit? Because if that’s what you mean, I’m sorry, I would never intentionally poke fun at a religion on this website. Maybe.

Speaking of religion, here’s one from Donaleen:

Do you know how non free range chickens are raised? They are kept in cages so small they can’t move around. They are covered in chicken shit because the cages are stacked. And they are often rather bald because of the conditions. The ones that lay eggs are definitely bald. The chickens are given poor food and lots of antibiotics. They are nutritionally bad. And they taste bad.

It DOES matter how your food is produced. The chicken tastes different. The eggs taste different. And I make my own chicken broth from free range chickens. It is fucking amazing. It can heal the sick and raise the dead.

I don’t know about you, but now that I know that the eggs I eat for breakfast every morning might possibly be laid by a bald chicken, a rather bald chicken, waking up is going to be a hundred percent more awesome.

This one is from Lynn:

There is actually a significant nutritional difference in free range fed animals vs. confined, grain-fed and feedlot-fattened animals. In particular the omega 3 content and omega 3 to omega 6 ratio of animals raised close to their natural roots is much better. I don’t eat chicken at all, but if I did I would only eat free range fed chicken.

I included this one not because it was particularly mean, but because I wanted to juxtapose it with a link to this research study that several readers forwarded to me, and it says this:

But organic poultry is actually less nutritious, contains more fat and tastes worse than its mass-produced equivalent, research has shown.

Tests on supermarket chicken breasts showed that organic versions contained lower levels of health-boosting omega 3 fatty acids than other varieties, including non-organic free-range poultry.

As usual, the best part about that link is the comments section where someone says something like, “The welfare of the chickens is paramount. High time we considered the chickens before always putting our interests first.” To someone who already thinks organic free range chickens are a good thing, that sounds totally normal. But, to someone who doesn’t, that sounds like this: THINK OF THE CHICKENS! WE MUST SAVE THE CHICKENS! THE CHIIIIIIIICCCCKKKKKEEENNNNSSSSSSS!

Here’s the only one that included multiple exclamation points, and it did not disappoint. From Julie:

You have finally crossed the line with this one. Why is free range chicken broth so funny? It isn’t!!! Have you seen the pictures of chickens are are raised on those mass farms? They are so sad and helpless and did not ask to live that way. How would YOU like to watch your dog live that way? YOU would never let him live that way, so why is it OK for CHICKENS to live that way? ITS NOT!!! People like you shouldn’t be allowed to own animals. I feel sorry for your dog!!!!

I do too, because when we finally get tired of taking him on walks and decide to eat him, we won’t be boiling him in organic free range chicken broth, that’s for sure.

  • mayberry_blonde

    ‘Tis the season!

  • Morgan

    All this debate about chicken broth? hahahahahah~ I love me some hooker chickens.

    You’re a gem, Dooce. :)

  • reddirtgirl

    Holy shit. I can’t believe people who even sporadically read your site can’t decipher the humor, sarcasm, and the poking fun at the Avon Queen. I am so glad that I am at least unaware of the overly-sensitive goofballs who live around me, but it would be fun to post their e-mails and giggle ridiculously as I hurled organic chicken broth at their lunacy.

  • Jutenhoop

    I’ve been reading for a long time, but have never been compelled to get an account to be able to comment. Thank you for all the laughs you’ve given me, and especially the tears I’ve shed reading.

    Heather, you rock.

    Here’s to the idiots that are responsible for brilliant posts like this.

  • Non_Highlighted Heather

    You’ve finally crossed the line? I guess cabbage tits and making fun of Joe Smith’s chosen people didn’t quite do it. This is why I will never blog, I’m a big pussy who could never handle this kind of mail. You are a far stronger woman than I.

  • Tanya

    I don’t buy chicken broth, because chickens – free range or not – are just gross. But I do buy organic vegetable broth (it tastes better and is lower in sodium).

    This whole debate has led me to wonder why my organic vegetable broth isn’t free range?

    Why should my carrots and celery have to live out their days in a cage, sitting in their own feces and urine?! (!!!)

  • Gretchie

    Um, doesn’t “free range” still mean they may still confined to cages, only they are bigger cages? I mean, is the chicken’s quality of life better in a somewhat larger cage? Granted, if it’s outfitted with Tivo, that may be acceptable… And while the chicken may not be much tastier, or any more nutritious, by golly, it was a bit more comfortable and well entertained in life.

    On a related note, would it be acceptable to call first class passengers “Free Range Passengers”, simply because their seats are somewhat larger than the coach passengers’?

  • Non_Highlighted Heather

    You’ve finally crossed the line? I guess cabbage tits and making fun of Joe Smith’s chosen people didn’t quite do it. This is why I will never blog, I’m a big pussy who could never handle this kind of mail. You are a far stronger woman than I.

  • http://www.thatlittlebastad.com ChrisClark

    “because when we finally get tired of taking him on walks and decide to eat him, we won’t be boiling him in organic free range chicken broth, that’s for sure.”

    That is the funniest darned conclusion I ever did read.

  • Kelli

    I think it’s hilarious that people say they will stop reading your website forever just because they feel you talk about chicken broth in an unsavory manner.

  • aubriane

    “I don’t know about you, but now that I know that the eggs I eat for breakfast every morning might possibly be laid by a bald chicken, a rather bald chicken, waking up is going to be a hundred percent more awesome.”

    Rather bald.
    Now, I don’t eat chicken, and I am all for the proper treatment of all animals.
    But people. Please. Picture the broth roaming free. I don’t understand how this doesn’t amuse you.

    All hail Heather. I truly believe she can do no wrong.

  • http://domino32X.blogspot.com Rebecca

    We must save the chickens! That is the funniest thing I have read in a LONG time. Keep up the good work!

  • samantha

    It’s funny, the more you look at the word “chicken”, the more silly it looks. Silly like people who will FIND a reason, any reason, to come down on Heather because they’re jealous.


    We <3 you, Heather. And your organic dog, too. Heh.

  • http://www.outsidevoice.net pammer

    Fucking brilliant. And how do I get butterflies to fly out of MY screen and kiss me on the nose?

    I need me some of those.

  • Jesse

    Why must everyone take every single word they read so seriously? And really, by now people have to realize you make Dennis Miller look like a cream puff. There’s this thing, Internet…It’s called a “sense of humor.” Accept it and move on.

  • EOMama

    Soylent Green is made of people! IT’S PEOPLE!!!!!

  • raspberry queen

    I love this month’s banner EVEN MORE than I did when I first saw it.

    I had no idea people took their broth so seriously. Wow.

  • mm

    Wow. I can’t believe people have reacted in such a hateful way. So let me get this straight…they don’t mind saying mean things to you that may hurt your feelings, but they care that deeply about the chickens? People sure do have strange things that drive them these days.

  • http://surlyascats.blogspot.com SurlyRide

    Raise Your Hands!
    Raise Your Voice!
    Give the chickens another choice!
    Join with me!
    Set them free!
    Brothers and sisters,
    Let the chickens beeeeee!

  • Chelley

    I am laughing my a$$ off over here! The chicken-loving hippie freaks need to relax and get a sense of humor!

  • http://cushingonline.com M@

    DinerGirl: Sorry, but I’ll pass on the butt licking. Unless it tastes like Organic, FreeRange Chicken Broth. In that case, I’m in.

    hateration? nice ;) gotta add that to my vocab

  • http://www.darrenconley.com Darren Conley

    It never ceases to amaze me how someone will complain about shit being dumped on a chicken’s head, but then proceed to drop their pants and shit on a human being’s head (metaphorically speaking) by saying “I hope this e-mail ruins your day”.

    Keep laughing Heather!

  • http://stepblog.wordpress.com stepblog

    I saw the very product in question that night at the store after reading your post, and smirked to myself. No, not at the chickens, nor sustainability, nor organic food, nor any of that. Because that wasn’t what you were making fun of. The humorlessness of your haters is one reason I can hardly bring myself to shop at our organic grocery store anymore.

  • http://marymuses.blogspot.com marymuses

    If you’re going to eat Chuck, of course you shouldn’t boil him in free range chicken broth–you should be using free range dog broth, or at the very least free range wolf broth, as I don’t think chicken flavor and canine flavor meld well. You could ruin a perfectly good meal by just choosing the wrong broth, just as you could ruin a perfectly good peanut butter sandwich by choosing the wrong jam.

  • http://valetian.blogspot.com Valeta

    I use the dumb organic free range chicken broth all the time. Mostly because that is the only kind they sell in bulk at my Costco. I thought your jokes were funny. Those people are jerks. I hate dumb people who cannot take a joke. Seriously.

  • CatLady?

    I’m a new reader, and even I understand that you weren’t disparaging the free-range process, just enjoying the lablling of the product. It’s like the offer for braille menus at a fast food drive through, which leave me with a sense of amusement tinged with incredulity that has nothing to do with blindness.

  • Michelle

    I find it ironic that these people are so concerned about “free range” and living conditions when, in the end, the chickens are slaughtered. No one seems to mind that. The “chicken” activists need to get their priorities straight. ….. I made this really awesome chicken recipe last night, with regular chicken bought at the Grocery, and it was delicious….

  • http://www.passionaterations.com Ate-to-the-Bar

    Love your site! I’m so psyched you have a food-related entry so now your link on my blog has a direct connection to my content. The fact that my new year’s resolution is vegetarianism will only make this funnier. Keep on rantin’, grrrl!

  • http://heterophobic.org/journal girl

    I think I could make an entire day out of reading your hate mail. It’s fantastic! I wonder if these morons realize just how much delight you get from laughing at their hate-filled (and exclamation point-filled) sentence fragments and run-on sentences?

  • Sunni

    YAY!!! I love hate mail!!! However, this batch was lacking in exclamation points!! Come on haters…get with the program!!!

  • Val

    I’m glad that you have readers who are smart enough to notice how moronic and callous the post making fun of people who are aware enough to buy free range anything. Its too bad in this post you just try to make a joke out of it rather than acknowledging that animals who aren’t raised organic, free range live a horrible life and we shouldn’t purchase them to continue to support factory farming. Of course better yet is to go vegan.

  • jghodd

    wtf. we are talking about chicken broth, right? man, there are some combative/serious free range chicken supporters out there. maybe they (collectively) need a hobby.

    i don’t know if i even need to add anything else.

  • katy66

    To be honest, I was surprised there was not a brigade of Volvo station wagons lined up, outside your house, with people ready to peg with organic, caffiene free, Green Tea tea-bags.

    I was totally looking for that story to be on the national news.

    SHAME ON YOU HEATHER!!@!$^@&(!$@!^&(@$!#@^&)!#*!#

  • karin

    Not to overload the bandwagon here…I tend to anthropomorphize meat: imagine how you feel when you are stressed and unhappy–clenchy, tense, TOTALLY unappetizing. That is why personally choose to eat animals that were happy in life–there are enough ways to get grumpy in life, I don’t need residual stress in my meat. I do, however, love the image of happy little boxes of broth wandering in the sunshine…why WOULDN”T free-range broth taste better?!

  • curlybop

    Sheesh. People need to lighten up. Or really take a good poop…that helps sometimes too. Speaking of which, no poop stories lately. I’m sure you’d get some great hate mail from that too.

  • http://cushingonline.com M@

    Okay, I’m with Alissa. Donaleen is definitely holding out on us. I wonder if she also knows how to turn lead into gold.

    Probably a slight change to the recipe for three bean chili…..

    Fess up Donaleen!

  • http://www.generalblather.blogspot.com Headhurt

    I’m not a hater. I love both free-range and not-free-range chickens equally.

    They both taste good in the secret recipe of eleven herbs and spices.

    Don’t forget the gravy.

    (As a side note: is any chicken, caged or not, truly happy considering their heads are going to be lopped off in the most unceremonious way?)

  • bethyboo

    you rock, heather. And chickens love you, too.

  • DarlingNikki

    OMG Heather I luv u. You are my hero. I found your post about free range chicken broth hilarious and I am a supporter of the chickens and their well-being. Some people are way too up-tight…

    Give Chuck some kisses for me since they haven’t made a way for me to send them by e-mail yet.

  • Monkey’s Mom

    Oh SNAP! Who knew joking about free range chicken broth could cause such hate and that supporters of free range would be incapable of seeing the humor.

  • Dave Vogt

    That omega-3 and omega-3:omega-6 stuff is from studies on grassfed beef, not free-range poultry.

    Studies have still shown (I could get the references if you like) that grassfed beef doesn’t taste as good, even if it is marginally better for you and is “happier.”

  • Urs

    but what about the chickens?!! what about the chhhiiiccckkkeeennnsss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://brittney.typepad.com Brittney Gilbert

    If these morons had any clue, they’d know that “free range” chickens live jut as miserable a life as those who aren’t. Free range don’t mean shit, except that they are allowed a door to go outside through once a day. Free range chickens are still kept in tights cages, debeaked and starved to force molting.

    Want to make a fucking difference? Don’t write my Dooce, give up all meat, dairy and eggs. Otherwise, shut your self-righteous trap. Free-range and cage-free are only a minute amount less cruel.

    Fucking amateurs.

  • http://akphotographer.blogspot.com/ A Knupfer

    Hmmm I read your chicken post and found the humor … It was obvious you weren’t the horrible person people try to make you out to be…

    Do people really have this much free time… ???

    Your blog calls to the normal mass of people and a mass amount of idiots. I just love it! You have such power Heather!!!!
    (note my use of multiple exclamation points)

  • Sarah Shirilla

    This is completely irrelevant, but while I was reading this I kept seeing the overly used “moron” as “mormon.”

    It made me giggle.

    Oh, and viva la chicken.

  • Rusty

    Ho…ly…CRAP. These people are psychotic! Obviously they missed the part where you said we might as well not eat chickens, seeing as by eating them, we’re killing them either way, free range or living completely bald in their own feces. This is the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard, and as usual, I side with you on this one. Free range chicken broth is pretty damn funny.

  • rhonda

    Oh, how i do enjoy the quarterly hate mail review!

  • Garret

    I think I can explain the lack of exclaimation points and SHOUTING in the hippies posts..it’s hard to work multiple key combinations when both your arms are wrapped around a tree!

    The crunchy tree huggin hippies need a sense of humor, I personally LMAO when I read the post.

    Keep it up!

  • me

    I will never understand how you can do this for a living without losing your mind, Heather.

    People are so very odd.

  • http://ccrafton.blogspot.com Candice

    You can tell a lot about a person by whether or not they respect the Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. You do not, and you’re a horrible person for it. That is, among other things, the reason you are probably going to Hell.