It's funny that you should ask. I am currently a LCB student and I had to write about a family recipe memoir. My memoir includes the disaster of a food that I grew up on... I titled the paper: "Cinderella Chicken"
Chicken. There are countless ways to cook chicken. Every restaurant menu lists it. Everybody eats it. The problem with the popularity of chicken and the countless ways you can cook it is that all the recipes contain the ingredient of…chicken. If you had the opportunity to grow up in my home, you’d understand why I do not eat chicken.
Imagine a typical home, working father, working mother and three kids. I, being 12 years old, was the eldest of those three children and got the daily chore of cooking dinner for the family. I cooked the ingredients that were supplied to me. Chicken and more chicken. I was given a counter-top fryer, a freezer full of chicken, and a pantry stocked with Campbell’s soups.
How would you like your chicken? I had three ways of cooking chicken in my arsenal.
First recipe: Roll the chicken around in an egg batter, with or without the eggshells. Flop it down in some flour and perhaps you may even cover the chicken with a little flour in the process. Put the chicken in the counter-top fryer that has heated oil that is spitting at you, but only if you remembered to turn it on and actually heat the oil. If you forgot to turn it on, that’s fine. Just throw the chicken in the oil, allow it absorb the oil as the fryer heats up. It’s all the same, right? Chicken, pan, oil. Cook the **** out of it for fear that it may carry a disease that is somehow related to a fish called salmon. How do the two of them meet? On land or in water?
Second recipe: Take that same chicken and place it in a heated, or not-so-heated oil-coated counter-top fryer. It gets tricky here -- open a bottle of barbeque sauce and dump it in the fryer.
Third recipe: Take that same chicken. (Yes, chicken.) But this time place it in a Pyrex casserole dish. Open a can of Campbell’s soup. Pour the soup over the chicken and bake in an oven. The cooking time and temperature of the oven depends on whether you are early starting dinner, or late because you were talking on the phone too long with your friends and forgot to start dinner.
Let us not forget that when I was performing these amazing culinary feats with such razzle-dazzle that we had yet to reach the era of microwaves. Woes to the cook who forgets to set the chicken out to thaw in the morning. But, let this not hinder any of the above listed recipes. Just increase the allotment of time for the actual cooking process. If you ever encounter this dilemma at home, run cold water over the frozen chicken until you can get the yellow Styrofoam packaging peeled off in tiny increments. Luckily, by the time it peels away the white cottony liner will pretty much dissolve in the sink and leave clogged drains for someone else to deal with.
The age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” was not asked in my home. If it was asked, it was only to determine if the vegetable would be frozen corn or a baked potato that evening. But, what the question was really determining was whether someone (that would be me) actually started cooking dinner in time enough to actually bake a potato, or whether there was no time and frozen corn was the safety net.
There is a happy ending to this story of Cinderella and her chicken. Her culinary repertoire was kissed by a charming prince. He went by the name of Hamburger-Helper.
--True story, unfortunately--