Saturday, November 8, 2008

Little Chickens

So, yesterday I decided to roast a chicken. It may not seem like a big deal, but I've never roasted a chicken before, and it should be noted that I am disgusted by touching raw meat, especially when that meat still resembles the animal that it started out as. Cooking shows are really like propaganda; I see Barefoot Contessa do something and I think it looks so good and easy, I forget that I am repulsed by raw chicken skin and giblets. My mom once made cornish game hens, and I really tried to eat one, but I just couldn't get past the fact the I could imagine where the hen's little head and feet had been. I just couldn't do it. I like my meat cooked, on a plate, and in no way reminding me of its former life.
I decided to prep the chicken, and place it on a bunch of cut up vegetables so they could roast along with the bird. It was time to remove the giblets. This was the part I was dreading, and I decided to just hold the bird over the sink and shake it vigorously and hope that they would drop out. Nothing dropped out. I looked inside and didn't see any giblets, so I swallowed hard and reached into the bird and felt around for the blubbery grossness and there was nothing. I thought the universe had smiled on me by giving me a giblet free bird, but I started to wonder if I had actually bought the wrong kind of bird. Then I stuffed things into the cavity; a quartered lemon, a bunch of thyme, some garlic, and I realized that I had forgotten to rinse the bird like the recipe says. So I had to reach into the bird AGAIN and get everything out and rinse the bird. I had also forgotten to salt and pepper the inside, so I did that, and re-stuffed it.
Now I had to tie the legs together, so I foraged around for something to tie them with, found some string, and tied them together. It didn't look like it did in the picture, so I tried it a couple more time and then just gave up and tied them together any old way. I place the bird on the vegetables, patted it dry with paper towels, and brushed melted butter on the skin. Very Silence of the Lambs. I put the bird into the oven, and scrubbed my hands with hot soapy water. I was feeling proud that I had touched flabby chicken skin and put my hand in a bird without puking or fainting, and after a while my kitchen started smelling good, and by the time Rob came home dinner was almost ready, but my moment had passed and I let him take over. He took the chicken out of the oven and let it rest under some foil, and when it was time to carve, my kitchen juices kicked back in and I tried to re-enact what Barefoot Contessa had done on TV. It just wasn't making any sense, though, and I couldn't bring myself to rip a leg of the poor thing, and then I realized that I had cooked the whole thing upside down. The breast skin, which was supposed to be all nice and crispy from the butter, was white and flabby (not unlike my own), but the underside of the bird looked great. I felt stupid, but the meat was actually very tasty and juicy. I think that's why it wasn't coming out right when I tried to tie the legs together; once I turned the bird over, it all made more sense.
The ironic thing about the timing of this meal is that earlier in the day I was at a friend's house and she lives on somewhat of a farm, and they just got two dozen baby chicks that they will raise and slaughter and eat. (Apparently, there is a traveling slaughter guy who comes to your house with a truck full of instruments of chicken torture, and coaxes the chickens into the truck and takes care of business. Would you want that job?) So, I went to see the chicks, and I held one, and they were all so cute and fuzzy and peeping, and then later that day I was shaking one of its brethren over the sink to try and get its guts out. Nice.
All of this was really just a way to be able to make more chicken stock since I got such a kick out of that. This was not my last chicken roasting, I will try again and emerge victorious. The one thing I wont do, though, is pick all the meat off the chicken. I really am not a fan of meat-on-the-bone; I don't like ribs, or chops with bones, or bar-b-qued or fried chicken that you eat with your hands. Which makes it all the more weird that I would want to roast a chicken in the first place. But, as long as I have Rob, I have someone who will pick the meat off the bones for me. I am still grossed out by raw chicken, but I've faced my fear and learned to deal with it. That's enough for now, there's no way I'm picking the meat off the chicken.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is hilarious. Did you know that by mistake you stumbled upon a bonafied technique? Cooking a bird upside down makes it juicier, because the fattiest part is on the bottom and the fat dripping down the meat provides constant basting. The catch is that you have to turn it back over at the end to crisp the skin.