My mom has suggested that I find something fun to do until it's garden time. I told her the only fun thing I do right now is eat too much. Yes. I know this isn't healthy. So, the last couple of nights, I've been trying to find something "leisurely and entertaining" to do--something completely pointless that doesn't involve calories.
I tried. I really did. And this is what I found:
Video clips of Julia Child from her show The French Chef. Oh, Julia. There is so much about you that I admire: your 6'2" frame and deep voice make Betty Crocker seem so flimsy, so dainty--like a piece of lace next to a a good yard of gingham. Watching you handle a live lobster bigger than most newborns makes me wish you would have been in that scene in Annie Hall. You would have cut right through the BS and gone straight to the cooking--something Betty Crocker doesn't really address. And neither does Woody Allen, for that matter.
I found another amazing clip where Julia takes a huge bone she just freed from some portion of pig and tosses it behind her onto the counter like someone tossing her keys. The way it clunked. Oh, I was dying. There is absolutely no nonsense about this woman. She is beyond embarrassing herself. She just glows with the light of someone who is doing exactly what she was made to do. She has that confidence about her.
OH! And her appearance on the Letterman show! Here:
I like a woman who is willing to cook with a blow torch if her stove won't work (and on live TV! She is so calm, so funny, so resourceful! I just love Julia.)
So, my stepdad Mike came across someone who sells free-range chicken direct from the farm. He hooked me up with about 8 of these babies, and they've been sitting in my deep freeze waiting for me to deal with the fact that they are WHOLE chickens. I have to admit something to you: I've never cooked a whole chicken. I've never, like, dissected one before. Today because of Julia and this beautiful new dutch oven I just purchased, I decided to face the chicken. I should have read the instructions first because this poor 4 pound fryer died twice, once before it got to my house and again when I tried to cut it up into recognizable chicken parts.
The sad thing is that I worked at KFC for a whole summer. I know my chicken parts. The trouble I had was finding them on a whole chicken. I mean, I'm pretty sure I ended up with two wings, but beyond that, I can't say. I was so inspired by Julia--the way she lifted the cleaver above her head and brought it down on the hunk of meat like someone trying to win a stuffed bear at the state fair. Surely I could do this.
Nora was playing on the kitchen floor while I butchered the poultry, and I kept trying to create a sort of barricade between her and what I was doing to that poor chicken. I definitely didn't want to have the "where do chicken nuggets come from" talk yet, so in my haste I eventually ended up with the right number of pieces (still unidentifiable) and hurried them into the frying pan while disposing of all the other evidence like Betty Crocker after a night of bingeing on 5 boxes of Little Debbie snack cakes.
After it was all said and done, the chicken cacciatore was amazing. I guess it doesn't matter if your chicken ends up with three thighs, four breasts, and a tail. All I know is that it has to be chicken, and it has to be dead. I made sure of both.