A bird too far

That's it. I'm done.

I have to be. I can't keep throwing money and time away like this.

 Roasted chicken, you and I are through. THROUGH, d'ya hear me?


In college, I took an art appreciation class. I studied; I took notes; I eventually visited the professor during office hours to try to get extra help. And I could not get it. Even though I had A's and B's in the rest of the classes, even though none of the other students in art appreciation seemed to be struggling, I had no idea what was going on. I would walk into class, day after day, and find myself completely unable to see the qualities of unity in Caravaggio's work. Or whatever.

Finally, in the seventh week of the 10-week quarter, I dropped the class. It's the only W on my transcript, and I still believe it's better than the D I was going to get.

The lesson of art appreciation is one that I still struggle with: No matter how hard I try, there are actually one or two things in this life that I cannot accomplish.


The story of me and roasted chicken is one of perpetual hope and perpetual failure. I've read stories about how whole chickens are the best per-pound deal in the market, how you can live for months on recipes from a single bird, how even the most rock-stupid culinary dumb-dumb can roast a chicken.

So every now and then, I buy a chicken. I put tasty veggies under it to roast. Sometimes I try brining it, and sometimes I just rub it with salt and pepper. I stick a meat thermometer in and pop it into the oven. When I pull it out, it looks gorgeous!

And then I start carving. And I find bloody spots along the thigh. So I carve it into bits, cursing, and pop the bits back into the oven until those spots go away.

This happens all. The. Time. I've tried flipping the chicken during cooking. I've tried letting it sit out to bring it to room temperature.

So. Yesterday, I brined the chicken for three hours at room temperature. Instead of 165, I set the thermometer to beep at 180. And then when it beeped, I took the thermometer out of the breast and stuck it in the thigh - where it registered 140. Back in the oven with you, vile poultry poultroon!

By the time the thermometer beeped again, it was getting close to time to leave for a party. So I made a little slice in the thigh, satisfied myself that the juices were running clear, and popped the whole Corningware in the fridge, chicken, veggies, and all.

Cut to this morning, when I'm carving the chicken into servings for later. I pull off a wing ... and notice some pink. It worries me a little, but I convince myself that it's normal and move on.

Until I get to the little bits of meat on the back and pop out the oyster. Yeah, that's blood. And even though I am an absolute tightwad when it comes to wasting food, I'm not about to mess around with undercooked chicken. The entire bird, plus the veggies underneath it, have to be thrown away.

Ugh. That's like six pounds of food and $15 down the drain.

So I'm done. No more imagining that if I change my technique, I'll magically get it right. No more wasted hours spent seeking out undercooked chicken spots. That's it.

Although, there is always butterflying ...

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