February 2011

Confronting the Chicken

It’s something I do all the time these days, literally and figuratively — confront the chicken. Some of you may have heard me use that phrase before. It’s what I say to be brave when the going gets tough. It’s also very apt in describing those chilling moments before I handle raw poultry. I really do have to confront it, as I would confront any difficult task that needs to be done. So in my latest cooking adventure, I learned how to NOT be chicken, while cooking the chicken. When I got slammed with the flu a couple weeks ago, it was the perfect chance to give it a whirl. I dragged myself out of bed, went to Ralphs and bought a bird to make a nice broth. Believe it or not, it was the first time I have ever prepared whole poultry. This is what happened next:

It didn’t go as planned, but the broth turned out beautifully. I quite believe it cured me faster. By the way, this experience was very different from a previous one involving chicken thighs because this little guy was whole. It seems absurd to be so afraid of a nicely butchered, clean chicken but I can’t help myself. Am I among millions of Americans who have become dependent on mechanically separated chicken pieces, tightly packaged in styrofoam trays? Probably. Unfortunately, the more my protein (meat) source resembles its original form, the more intimidated I get.