Friday, March 27, 2009

A Tale of Chicken Woes...

I am intimidated by meat. I say this because I have a story to tell about a recent experience involving me, my oven, and a dead chicken. Before this week I have never cooked any meat that closely resembled it's original state. Let me tell you the tale...

It all started on a reluctant trip to Trader Joes. Don't get me wrong, I like good food, I just hate shopping for it. Inside, I made a few selections before being cornered by the meat cooler. Standing there I saw a pile of organic free range whole chickens. Out of the whole cooler there was one bird staring me down...almost taunting me. Subconsciously I knew I couldn't let a decapitated bird get the best of me so I picked up the 4lb chicken and triumphantly put it in my cart. Little did I know that the battle had only yet begun...

It's great to try new things, but I would advise against trying them on friends you don't know too well. I guess this was my first mistake. Paul and I invited some friends we are trying to get to know more over for dinner...yep, you guessed it, a CHICKEN dinner. My second mistake was that the dinner was on a weeknight when I didn't even get home til 5:30pm. And finally my third mistake was that I completely missed the red flags of my first two mistakes!

With all the sweet ambition and lofty thoughts of a naive cook I put my chicken in the oven surrounded by potatoes, onions and carrots I obtained from the farmers market. What I failed to realize then (and only until my sweet husband pointed it out many hours later) was that I put the smirking chicken completely upside down so that the breast was on the bottom. As our gracious guests arrived I told them I was running a little behind and dinner should be ready soon...(ha!) Thinking I would speed things up I decided to leave the "meat" thermometer in the chicken so I could simply open the oven to see how the bird was doing. Well, the "meat" thermometer turned out to be a candy thermometer with a top made out of melted, just like my confidence.

After an hour and a half I looked in the oven at my half raw chicken, looked at our guests, looked back at the chicken and with a refined smile said, "Who feels like pizza?" We all did. Leaving the bird to roast without care if it got charred to a crisp, we left the apartment and went and had a delicious pepperoni pizza. (The chicken was still not done when we got back). In the end it turned out pretty tasty, but without our friends to help us eat it, it has been lunch and dinner for Paul and I since Tuesday (I guess it's a break from cooking!)

I don't think I'm intimidated by meat anymore, I think I'm mainly just aggravated by it and would like to say to all the chickens reading this "Watch yourselves, the battle is not over yet!"



Bethany said...

"Sweet ambitions and lofty thoughts..." I loved the picture of the farmers-market-fresh potatoes and other goodies lovingly arranged around an upside down bird with a melted thermometer as crowning glory.

Don't feel too bad. In fact, you should feel quite proud -- I've never even tried to roast a whole chicken. (Shhhhh...don't tell...)

I made crème brulée for Ted's birthday once. I even used my beautiful roasting pan for the water bath. I forgot the vanilla, though, and all eight desserts turned out like straight egg custard. My heart cracked just like all of the little eggshells.


Great job for giving it a go! I found a good quote to push us on in our culinary endeavors:

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
-Harriet Van Horne

Andrea Downing said...

ahh emily! I love the story and the "hope" you provide in that I am not the only one to have dinner-time disasters!

so thankful that we are all learning together :)


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