Everyone Likes Fried Chicken!
"Everyone likes fried chicken," she said to me with a look of both annoyance and exasperation. "Now just eat it!" I could tell Barbie had had it with me. Being a close family friend and mother to my BFF Laurie, she was naturally the "tough love" enforcer. Laurie was seated next to me and shot me a look pleading," Seriously Jamie, please just eat it." Barbie had been raised in Oaklahoma where fried chicken (from what I know of the Midwest) is a common indulgence. Being raised by a Midwestern mom, Laurie too was all about the fried chicken. And why shouldn't she be? Well, my hippie earth mama was born in LA so the richest thing we ever ate was avocados in our salad. We didn't even have butter in the house so to eat fried chicken was simply beyond my 7 year old sensibilities. "Well, can you take the skin off for me?" I pleaded. "What! Jamie that's the best part. Now please stop being so picky and just eat," Barbie said. I, of course, didn't see myself as picky. I just didn't like chicken skin, or chicken fat or any visible gristle for that matter. Any time my mother made meat there couldn't be a single sign of fat or a vein or anything thing that made the cubed item in front of me appear to have once been an animal or I would freak out. "Mom, there's FAT on this!!!!", I'd scream. OK, I guess I was picky, though I prefer culinarily sensitive. At least we know I've always been meant for my profession. It also didn't help that Laurie ate everything! That girl constantly showed me up which didn't help my cause as she downed her KFC drumstick while her mother glared at me. There was nothing I could do. I was hungry, Barbie was giving me the stink-eye, and Laurie was elbow deep in grease. I had to eat it. And so I did...and promptly threw up. That greasy hormone-laden, antibiotic pumped bird barely made it to my stomach before it was pushed back out. I couldn't help myself and to be honest, a little part of me was glad I puked everywhere. "Serves Barbie right for making me eat grody chicken," I thought. Thankfully, I was never asked to endure KFC again.
That was the first and last time I ate fried chicken. Recently though I did try something kind of close to it...crispy chicken skin. Two weeks ago my friend Jacqueline came over for dinner (the squidgy egg girl) to make baked chicken. Jacqueline and I are truly perfect eating companions for as much as I hate fatty gristliness, she adores it. A meal is simply not a meal without some sort of bacon, chicken fat, bone marrow, or headcheese thrown in (all humanely sourced, of course). She'd been going on about her AMAZING chicken skin and how I just had to try it. OK, fine. The worst that can happen is I throw up and as you know, been there done that. What the heck!
We covered the chicken thighs in pesto and baked as usual (30-35 minutes at 400 degrees). After baking and to crisp the skin, Jacqueline turned the broiler on high and broiled each side of the thighs for 4 minutes. The chicken came out beautifully, I must say, with the skin perfectly blistered and crisp. Alright...it was time to taste. I took a deep breathe, snapped off a piece of skin and put it in my mouth. It wasn't bad. In fact, it was good. Like a very rich potato chip. The problem is, I'm not a huge potato chip fan. (Again, I was born for my profession.) Throughout the remainder of our dinner I gave Jacqueline the rest of my chicken skin. It really was a win win. I had tried it and decided it still was not my thing, and she was in crispy chicken fat heaven. The moral of the story is that chicken, when fried or crisped, is not for me. Barbie was right, I am picky. I mean, who doesn't like crunchy, salty fatiness for goodness sake? Me, that's who.
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