Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More about chicken, and Julia!

The Chicken a la Julia was roasted very simply; trussed, salted lightly and smeared with butter. That's it. Basted every 8 minutes with a butter/oil mix keeping warm on the stove. So, I didn't get out of the kitchen much during the 1 1/2hour cooking time. Results - deliciously moist and very "chickeny", just as Julia said it should be. It all begins with the chook though; I guarantee that one of those frozen "enhanced with up to 12% saline solution" chooks that one buys at the supermarket would not have tasted nearly as fine. We always take the time to procure a fresh one, it's SO worth it.

I grew up in a Jewish household where roasted chook was a weekly event, at least. Whole roasted chook, not fried, or cut up into pieces, but lovingly roasted whole, with the drumsticks, neck bones and giblets the prized parts. My father (before he passed)loved roasted chicken, boiled chicken, chicken soup, chicken liver, chicken giblets, chicken schmaltz, and artery-clogging gribenes. (This all led, at least in part, to his early demise from heart disease.) My step father worked at a chicken processing plant (good story about rooster testicles saved for another blog), and from this he progressed to purchasing a "chicken farm". He "grew" the chickens that were sent to the processing plant which ended up on our table. (My poor mother's job was to carry a bucket to the sheds every day and collect the dead chicks.) So I learned to cook chicken, make soup and make chicken liver taste divine (fry in schmaltz, lots of chopped onion) by watching my mother. I also learned to sit at the far end of the table at family gatherings, away from my old European uncles who chewed their chicken bits loudly, wetly and "spatteringly" (ugh!).

I'll end this blog with a quote from Julia. I wish I could have met this wonderfully adventurous, intelligent, warm and delightful woman. She certainly coloured outside the lines. She lived a long and fulfilling life bursting with fun and love. She could cook! And, she loved good beer!

"My Life in France", while living in Germany
(Talking about the American army personnel living close by)
"They drank beer, but only the lighter, American-style beers. What a shame! They were surrounded by some of the most wonderful beers in the world! We liked German beers."

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