At My Kitchen Table: Braised Chicken

A friend insists that I will discover great clarity of mind if I will only give Zen meditation a try. But I’m still trying to deal with the great clarity of mind that discovered me when I gave martinis the slip.

Cooking, for one thing. I am getting clear about cooking. I like to cook, but there are conditions that must be met. There are too many conditions to go into here, but I find that I can keep track of them easily enough. The one that Kathleen is having the hardest time with is, “No cooking past ten o’clock.” After ten, we order in. It is very easy to deal with this condition at seven or eight o’clock. It is not so easy at nine forty-five, when pots are bubbling on the stove, the table is set – and a recalcitrant printer is holding up Kathleen at the office.  That is not a fun situation. It is no help at all to be clear.

— Kathleen, I want to say, you are too old and too senior to be dealing with recalcitrant printers. Sometimes I do say it. All right: I always say it. But I say it. I shout less and less.

The following dish is very forgiving under such circumstances. Simply wait to stir in the peas until your companion arrives, and dinner will be ready in ten. That gives her plenty of time to powder her nose &c. And you to get a grip on your tremendous clarity.

Braised Chicken.

2 Responses to “At My Kitchen Table: Braised Chicken”

  1. George says:

    In many ways we cook like we write, which is to say we do it for someone else as well as ourselves. Clarity of purpose is the intention of meditation which perhaps is either a super or a subset of clarity of mind depending on your point of view. Mindfulness is the goal, as nearly an unobtainable goal as the perfect crème brûlée, in your case, or in mine, the perfect flat iron steak but still a target in the archer’s eye.

    (Now, for those of us who are not fluent in the various dialects of Yorkville and environs, please, elucidate “&c”, I am hoping it must be “and change”. But of course, my dear, everyone changes when coming home after work. There is a world of multilevel meaning in that phrase, eh! Yes, everyone changes when coming home after work. Most of my relatives in far Northeast Tennessee and far Southeast Kentucky certainly did not look the same when they came into the parlor after work which sometimes could be around seven in the evening or seven in the morning depending on which trick they were on. After they parked the car on the shoulder of the road near the mailbox and walked over the swing bridge into the black room under the front porch, disrobed from their work clothes, washed up, put on house clothes and came up stairs they bore no resemblance to the blackened, shuffling, defeated creature wearing a felt fedora of indeterminate color, a barn jacket and bib overalls with black brogans and a steel lunch box that climbed out of the old thirty eight Ford, or in the case of my uncle Clem who had done very well and advanced to foreman, the old forty seven Ford and made the trek to the black room from the highway in nineteen fifty five waving and smiling at his relatives on the front porch above his head as best he could after twelve hours underground. There were rules in Aunt Sacky’s house much like Kathleen’s rules, I’m sure, in that they were inviolate with severe penalties for violation like a serious chill in her affect towards the violator(s): no black clothes beyond the black room, no smoking beyond the highway shoulder, and if you spit, you damn well better do it out of her sigtht and in the spittoon. Alicia Marie Sackwell Anderson and Clement Charles Anderson, my mother’s Aunt Sacky and Uncle Clem, would be proud of your chicken and eat it heartily I’m sure. Is Ms K, as she was once when I was there nearly twenty five years ago, still going out to the printer’s to proof the securities as they come off the press? I think Aunt Sacky and Uncle Clem would understand her situation well if she is, “It’s work, honey, hard work but it pays the bills. Now come on in and sit down, we’re ready to eat now. Clem, you go spit in the parlor, please.”)

  2. George says:

    OK, clarity of purpose, yes, clarity of purpose. The parenthetical added by the editor is duly noted and we thank him for his courtesy in leaving the entire remark instead of simply removing it. A fine fellow as always, the editor here, tolerating my “cowbird” comments on his blog.