The last time I attempted to roast a chicken, C and I were newlyweds and we realized it was raw after we had carved it, and had to put it back in the oven. I never got over it and haven’t even dared to touch a whole chicken since.
But I’ve been really goal-oriented lately, and also on a creativity kick. The idea of making dinner once a week, four weeks in a row has been rolling around in my head.
This is a variation of the first cooking goal I had when we got married. The goal was simple: make dinner once a week. Unfortunately, that was the only thing that stayed simple. Besides the raw chicken, I also burned brussels sprouts, made Thai jasmine rice that was as hard as a rock, and almost smoked us out by burning sliced sweet potatoes.
So then I just stopped cooking. And haven’t cooked since. In four years.
But lately, I’ve been wanting to do something for my family. C works late on Mondays, and I’m alone with the babe all day. Wouldn’t it be so nice, I thought, if he came home to a proper dinner on his longest day of the week?
I told him about my goal, which was now simplified. I didn’t say I’d make dinner every week; I said I’d make dinner once per week, four weeks in a row. Enough to make myself actually do it, but also with a finish line in sight. I told him not to get his hopes up or hold me to it, though.
I’ll stop here to mention how lucky I am to be married to a man who cooks. Otherwise, I would have starved by now. But because C has the same amount of time I do, he manages cooking by making big portions of things in our InstantPot and we eat it all week. A hot meal is just a push on the microwave away.
Because of that, though, we’re always eating at separate times. And something in me just really wanted us to have a dinner together, that was fresh and made for the purpose of us all sitting together and enjoying it. No microwave.
So V and I went to Whole Foods, determined to revisit ChickenGate.
I had this recipe from Fox & Briar, which is a variation of Ina Garten’s “Engagement Chicken” recipe. And right in the first few paragraphs, I found out what I was had done wrong in 2014.
You can’t just buy a chicken and cook it, because part of it is likely frozen! And even if you cook it perfectly and “truss” it right, it will still have raw parts! If only 2014-me had known that, she maybe would have tried again.
So 2018-me read carefully, pulled the chicken out of the fridge an hour before I planned to cook it, and got to work.
There’s something about working with a whole chicken that really made me realize…this was an animal who gave up its life for this. I treated the chicken so gently, really understanding that in a way that I don’t when I’m just scooping shredded chicken out of a Tupperware.
I for sure didn’t truss it correctly, because I had to use a second piece of twine, but you know what…it came out great!
C carved everything because I am useless with a knife, but he told me at least fifteen different ways how good it was! I truly felt tears forming in my eyes, because I was proud of myself, but mostly, because it felt really nice to do something for my family.
Oh, and I know I said it felt so good to “do something for my family,” but I’ll just have you know…V didn’t eat any of it. Even though she normally loves chicken. Because, you know, two year-old.
I’ve been really into short-term goals lately, and I have a lot more I want to tackle. I will keep you updated on how the other three Mondays of cooking go!