Folk Remedy/Belief

Jackie: So my nanny, Marta, from El Salvador, whom we grew up with and whom still works for my parents used to always eat chicken for lunch. I followed Marta wherever she went around the house. So when she would sit and have her lunch, I would always linger around her chair. I specifically remember always asking to try some of her lunch and noting… like I vividly remember calling attention to the fact that her chicken tasted different than the chicken I would eat for dinner or something. And when I asked Marta why, I think I was like 5 or 6 when she told me this… She told me that her chicken tasted different because she only ate chicken a day after it had been cooked. She said it was better for you that way.

Isabel: Did you ever try this?

Jackie: I only tried it when I would ask her for a bite. I liked the ‘different’ taste but the belief or whatever it was never stuck with me. Just something I remember.

Isabel: And she only leftover chicken?

Jackie: Yep, I believe so. It kind of makes sense now that I think about it. Marta is super OCD. I think this was almost out of routine or compulsion than true ‘belief’ you know? I also think it could have reflected some of her Salvadorian heritage. Maybe it’s a known and accepted belief there? I don’t know. I just know that I never questioned her as a little kid but also never felt the need to follow this ‘chicken idea’ I guess. Its just something memorable about Marta for me.

Jackie’s description of her nanny’s belief in the benefits of leftover chicken, show the ritualistic aspects of certain folklore genres. The fact that Marta’s belief was not only about the health benefits of eating the chicken, but was also a form of control through routine for Marta exposes the psychological factors that surround folklore performances. In addition, Jackie’s retelling of this practice is very endearing. Throughout the interview she is very nostalgic and seems comforted by the thought of Marta. Jackie associates the folklore with her childhood alongside Marta allowing her to connect to her past.