Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Chicken Story

Once upon a time, I decided to cook a whole chicken.

Why I Decided to Cook a Whole Chicken
I decided to cook a whole chicken to make someone else happy. Someone else was always talking about how much he loved whole roast chicken, how he delighted in picking the bones two and three days after the initial rush of chicken-eating endorphins had subsided. “There will be cold roast chicken sandwiches for many lunches to come!” he exclaimed.

And one day a magazine arrived, a magazine so loyal and true it can even be trusted for baked goods recipes. This magazine on this particular day contained a recipe for whole roast chicken. Anyone who made this magical chicken recipe would be blessedto go on a shopping trip filled with wonders only a cook could imagine: whole lemons, softball-sized onions, fresh thyme, Hungarian paprika, and delicious butter (so I deviated from the original recipe just a teensey bit...). O joyous day to she who might cook this chicken! The kingdom and prince would be hers!

To the Store!
Off to Trader Joe’s I went, reusable shopping bags in tow. The journey was treacherous, and my trusty steed, the number forty-three bus, was slow to trudge up the precipitous San Franciscan hills.

The refrigerator case was now before me! I swooped in and coddled many-a plastic-swathed bird, searching for a petite damsel suitable to feed two. I found her. But lo! And soft… She was marked with true beauty: “certified Kosher.”

The darling hen was but 28 and 20 ounces -- if she weighed but a gram! -- and I guarded her, nested safely in my arms, from the homeless man clipping his toenails near us on the bus on the journey home.

The Rubdown
Oh to hold her! To unwrap her! She was mine! I laid the gorgeous thing, plump breasts heavenward, atop a bed of parsley. She was bathed, naked and glorious, in the kitchen sink, which was thereafter disinfected most thoroughly.

Then I took to my work, sliding subtle fingers against her flesh, easing up the protective garments. As the work became more penetrable, I buttered the butterball and massage her juicy insides. I rubbed whole slices of lemon between those sheets and left them there so their juices ran down her legs and entered her very cavity.

Pricked to room temperature and with a pre-heated oven at the ready, the bird saw the final thrust. Into the oven, where she would roast for 55 minutes, then turned and checked, and maybe 45 minutes more.

Losing the Battle for Love

When it was an hour, an hour and fifteen minutes, and then nearly two hours later and my lady had not cooked through, I cursed the skies. “Damn you, chicken gods! A plague o’er both your henhouses!”

I checked. And checked. And checked. Then I did not check but left the oven door closed for some time. More than two hours had passed. The situation had gone sour. The bird had turned on me. And then it was nigh but three hours.

Oh wretched fowl thing.

Defeat
Boyfriend came to my side and declared the bird was heftier than a mere 2 or 3 pounds. “By god, she is 6 pounds if she is a day old! She is seven pounds. No! Zounds she is in fact a nineteen-pound turkey.”

“This hen is no turkey, and she be not more than one pound eight ounces!” I cried. “Thou know not thou chicken measurements!”

The night had waned, and I was cross-eyed with hunger. I declared defeat. “I am going to turn off the oven and throw the bird in the garbage.”

“No, we shan’t give in! We must hold our ground against this beast,” he said.

“I know not what you intend to do, but I shall now lock myself in the bedroom and commence a pouting episode, the likes of which you have never seen!” A demon came over me at that moment, and I hissed and bared my claws at him.

Aftermath
At half-ten that eve -- might it even have been closer to eleven? -- I emerged from my lair, scarlet from glowering alone. Boyfriend was cutting the bird, whose arms had dried out considerably but whose nether regions were still comparatively mouth-watering.

“From this day forth,” I began my decree, “I shall but only cook chicken in parts.”

6 comments:

Darius Kazemi said...

Ah, Cooking Light. Certainly the best purchase you can make in the checkout aisle.

Whole chicken, like all meat, takes practice. But it does pay off, especially if you like chicken. (I don't like chicken, really, so I don't cook it that much.) Also, you can use the carcass for chicken stock. Or rather, thou muft ufeth thine carcaff for chicken ftock.

C. Jason Smith said...

You tried once? That's quite a bit of hubub for a solo attempt--though certainly well told!

hreeves said...

hahahhaa you bought a turkey!! omigod that is so funny

Jill Duffy said...

No, it wasn't really a turkey. We just had a little fight (and continued to argue to this day) over what size the chicken was. The turkey reference was for comic effect only.

And I did use the carcass to make stock. That was the best part of the whole experience and the only part worth repeating.

My theory is I don't have to learn to make a whole chicken because I don't really like whole chicken! This should fall to Boyfriend, whose current duties include but are not limited to: sausage grilling, bacon frying, and frittata making.

Darius Kazemi said...

Fair enough. No reason you should learn to make something you don't like. (Although you should not miss out on Peruvian chicken.)

Leigh said...

Brilliant.

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