Friday, August 10, 2007

The Sky is Falling!

I bought a chicken today. Or more accurately, I purchased a carcass that once housed the soul of a chicken (if chickens can be said to possess souls {which is a philosophical discussion for another time}).

This is kind of a big deal for me. In no way am I the "Suzy Homemaker" type. No domestic diva, I. Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray (annoying woman who my mother adores) have nothing to fear from me. In short, I flunked Girl101.

I hate to cook. (Disclaimer: this does not apply to Armenian food. I am an awesome Armenian cook.) I love to bake and am quite good at that, but just the thought of cooking can still send shudders of horror and anxiety through me. I've gotten better over the years and especially in these last two and half years that have found me out of the workplace. Dare I say it, I've gotten almost adventuresome. I've cooked steaks. I've tried recipes from cookbooks. I've even deviated from them and branched out on my own. Now, I face the final frontier: the chicken.

I have a "thing" about chickens. It's not really a phobia. It's more of an extreme dislike and lack of respect. I even have trouble eating chicken. It stems from my childhood and spending time in Fresno during the summers. When I was younger, Fresno was the "New Old Country" for Armenians on the West Coast (I think that distinction has moved to Glendale now). And 35 to 40 years ago it was not the urban sprawl in the Central Valley that it is today. There were still orchards and farms quite close to town.

We would go visit my Auntie Zaroohi on her farm. Sometimes we kids would get sent into the fields to pick grape leaves and the old ladies would can them to use later for dolma and yalanchi. Afterwards, we would sit on her porch, drink lemonade and eat pomegranates. Auntie kept chickens. Chickens are disgusting animals. They are dirty and mean with cannibalistic tendencies. Occasionally we had to gather eggs or feed them. I never liked walking through the pen, being that close to them. They would peck at your feet and argue and harass you. The sensation of chicken shit squishing between my bare toes as I walked is one that instills a sense of stomach churning disgust in me to this day.

I have never baked a chicken. Or roasted. Or whatever you call it when you stuff it with dried bread and lay it nicely in a pan with potatoes and carrots and onions around it. But I am going to tonight. I am obviously possessed of a trickster djinn who is going to be greatly amused by the spectacle, but I'm going to give it my best shot. I've got a Joy of Cooking and Mojo has his Betty Crocker Cookbook around here somewhere, and damn it if I'm not going to feed this nasty bird to my loved ones! Just see if I don't!

I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes. Wish me luck!

2 comments:

boogiemum said...

Good luck! I don't mind the actual cooking of the chicken, it's just the initial cleaning of the chicken I hate. Oh and the cutting too.

So happy you are back!

Artemis Rich said...

Thanks!

Slowly but surely. I have a lot of catching up to do. I'm behind on reading everybody's blogs!

Glad you're still out there!