Raw Chicken Wrestling & other culinary topics

25 09 2007

      I hate cooking chicken.
      Why?  The list goes on and on: pimply skin, greasy white fat, tendons, tiny bones, gristle, knuckles you have to pull apart with a snap, skin so tough I have to saw at it with my knife, and worst of all salmonella germs getting all over everything I touch as I wrestle with the nasty stuff.
       I prefer beef.  It comes in a nice slab of MEAT.  You CUT the meat, you COOK the meat, you EAT the meat.  It cuts very politely when half frozen and thaws nicely under running water.  Chicken never cuts nicely, hanging on to its unpleasant bits like a greedy relative hanging on to a half-promised inheritance.  It freezes like a rock, and even after sitting on the counter all afternoon is stubbornly frozen in the middle.  If microwaved it stinks and turns a greasy, greyish white.
       I like beef.  Steak is good, hamburgers are good, it makes a nice teriyaki shish-kabob, and does all kinds of pleasant things when combined with mushrooms.  I even like the smell of raw meat- a sort of blood-tinged-carnivorish-outdoor-barbeque-cooking kind of smell. 
       Chicken smells peculiar raw.  Possibly because chickens are the stupidest animal on earth and will cheerfully track their poop all over their food and then fight over who gets to gobble it up.  Cows, on the other hand, won’t eat anywhere near their own poop.  They leave little circles of uneaten grass around the cow pies.    
       Pigs smell unspeakably foul when alive, and I don’t much like pork either.  Bacon grease always snaps and burns me.  Pork chop bones are gritty, and you have to fry them so carefully.  Cutting up pork is a gritty, nasty slimy buisiness.  Plus you constantly have to worry about parisites, so you have to cook chops and roasts in “moist heat.”  I have two questions about this: what the heck does “moist heat”do, and if you cook it “thoroughly” like the directions say, doesn’t that just mean you get to eat thoroughly cooked DEAD parasites?  Am I the only one who thinks that’s gross?  When my family eats ham, I eat fried eggs.  
        Bologna and hot dogs contain the left-over bits of pigs and chickens that looked too gross to sell as raw meat.  I will occasionally eat a Gvaltney chicken hotdog, but I try not to think too much while I’m doing it and I bury it in relish.  That way if something crunches, I can assume it was a pickle.  I only eat BEEF kielbasa.
        Of course, it’s getting harder and harder to get good beef.  I bought hamburger from Wal-mart recently and even the HAMBURGER was soaked in a 15% solution of preservatives and “beef juice.”  Whatever that is.  I put it in a skillet to brown it and it sweated so much water I spooned out two cup fulls from one pound of hamburger.  It wouldn’t brown at all- it boiled and turned grey.  What’s the use of that, I ask you?  Have you ever read a hamburger recipe that didn’t begin with the words “Brown the Ground Beef?”
       Food Lion recently switched meat providers and now all their pork products are soaked in 12% solution.  So you can’t fry your pork chops anymore without making pork chop soup.  (Moist heat?)  When I complained to their customer service number the person who answered the phone told me this was for my own good.  “It makes the meat more tender and last longer in your fridge.”  Unfortunately, I wanted CRISPY pork chops, not soggy tender ones.  And what it really means is that they get to soak the meat in preservatives so the germs are afraid to rot it and it keeps over a month in their meat case at the store.  Just what I wanted: month-old parisite-ridden dead animal that even the microbes won’t eat.  Mmmm….
       When I lived alone, before I had small people who think chicken nuggets deserve their own food group, I ate a lot of fruit.  I ate sweet potatos with butter and salt, beets plain out of the can, cherries, apples, cheese, cereal and organic milk, and peanut butter sandwiches.  Sometimes I made vegetable soup with a little MEAT (read: beef) in it.  I weighed 135 pounds and I looked good in size eight jeans.
       But now I’m married to a man.  Men love meat, and my particular man loves chicken.  He likes chicken in any form that’s not moving.  His very best favorite is home made chicken pot pie.  Sigh.
        I’ve already wrestled with the frozen chicken.  I managed to pry it off that little juice-soaking pad they put at the bottom of the foam tray.  It shredded, of course, spewing salmonella germs all over my sink and counter.  It had to be microwaved before it would fit in the pot (despite sitting on the counter all afternoon).  While it was microwaving, the turntable rubbed a raw chicken leg all over the inside of my microwave.  More germs.  I had to wash my hands multiple times while putting it in and taking it out and trying to rip the pad off it, so now there are germs all over my hand soap container and the faucet handles, too.  By the time I get through cooking chicken, I always feel like I need to decontaminate my whole kitchen and take a bath.
       So now, the chicken is cooked.  I have to fish it out of boiling water, let it cool, get impatient & try to pick it off the bones, burn my fingers, fuss & holler, let it cool some more & repeat.  Finally, I put it in gravy & onions, slap a crust on and put it in the oven for another 45 minutes.  Somehow the whole process just doesn’t seem worth it.  I could have baked a sweet potato in twenty minutes and been perfectly happy.
        But for Neal, the man who would do anything for me, who scratches my back and makes me purr happily, who slays spiders and adjusts the attitude of my pre-teen, I will cook chicken.
        Anyone else has to put up with pot roast. 




2 responses

26 09 2007

Man, I can totally relate to the chicken germs everywhere…so gross. I hate cleaning chicken but it’s good for you.

27 09 2007

My thought is this:
Years ago people ate chicken all the time and we never got sick or even heard of salmonella. Do you think the salmonella could be coming from the 12% solution that makes it “good for you”, or from the solution sucker material at the bottom of the package? hmmm. just a thought.

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