A mother in Berkeley, California, was apparently arrested Sunday afternoon when an anonymous tipster supplied police with video, taken with a camera phone, of the woman feeding her young daughter soup prepared with a mass-market, chicken-flavored bouillon cube. The charge is child endangerment.

Although bouillon cubes are not illegal, they are generally recognized to be inferior to a good, collagen-rich chicken stock prepared at home using humanely raised poultry. The case hinges on the fact that the mother, Sharon Shinkleton, has both the backyard space and the free time to raise and slaughter her own chickens, thereby providing her with the means to feed her child a healthy and more subtly nuanced broth.

“What’s the point of staying home to take care of your kid if you’re just going to go to the store and buy them some awful high-sodium crap?” demanded a city councilperson.

Even the maker of the bouillon cube expressed dismay.

“Our products are really more aimed at poor people and busy professionals,” said
a spokesperson. “In the photo I have seen of this customer, she appears to be wearing a breezy tunic from the Anthropologie spring collection. Clearly she does not fit into either of these demographics and should not be flavoring with our cubes.”

Image source: Flickr member tiffanywashko under Creative Commons

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