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January, 2010 | Manolo's Food Blog
Archive - January, 2010

Impaling your bird

Mr. Henry is wary of gadgetry in the kitchen. He likes his old waiter’s corkscrew and his old hand-crank can-opener. If he needs to slice and dice, he takes a knife out of the drawer.

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To this bastion of conservative family values one fine day Mrs. Henry, normally a woman to abjure gimcrackery, brings home a cone-shaped ceramic vessel with narrowed neck and announces the advent of the “chicken sitter,” an invention that would have delighted Vlad the Impaler.

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Resembling the Mercury orbiter capsule, the chicken sitter (and try saying that three times fast) is more fun than Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang. It beats the old beer can technique all to hell. Stuff the chicken sitter with herbs, wine, garlic, lemon or what-have-you. Then impale your trussed bird on the cone.

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Skin cooks crisply and evenly all around while liquid inside the cone bastes and steams the flesh. Indeed, the chicken sitter yields a perfect roast chicken with absolutely no fuss. Afterwards you can salvage the juice inside the cone to help make stock with the bones.

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Sour grass

Death, divorce, and debt – the glorious three “d’s” of Sotheby’s and Christies – currently bedevil the extended Henry family, though fortunately not the immediate household. Mrs. Henry believes in keeping up routines and bloat.jpgdoes not countenance such prodigality.

Christmas holidays likewise bring forth a perpetual wellspring of objects seeking new ownership – apple corers, nutcrackers, scented candles in matched sets, cherry red windbreakers and frightful neckties.

Holidays also bear gifts of depression, indigestion, intestinal cramp, bloat and a throbbing gall bladder. Each year Mr. Henry swears he will leave for the holidays because too many around him take leave of their senses, and because despite his renowned self-control at the table, during holidays he abandons all sense of moderation and proportion.

Christmas tradition revives bad food habits from the storied Middle Ages, blithe era of famine, contagion, and dogma. Eggnog (vanilla nutmeg ice cream in a glass!), triple cream cheeses, bon bons wrapped in sparkly foil, preserved fruit, mincemeat, liqueurs, layer cakes, assorted chocolates with cream filling, and nuts roasted in peanut oil, palm oil, or coconut oil. Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, fat was a good thing.

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Today these caloric gut-bombs serve as anti-depression medications self-prescribed to remedy seasonal affective disorder, better known as the blues and the blahs, horse latitudes of the soul.

What brings out the holiday nuts? After four scotches nutty Uncle Jack dressed in plaid jim-jams slips on the patio black ice and cracks his humerus. Ha! Not so funny now, Uncle Jack’s funny bone.

Brother Clifford treats his seasonal disorders with sour green juice of fresh barley grass mixed with V-8. It puckers the gums mightily, but also promotes good digestion and cures bad breath.wcfields.jpg

Clifford subscribes to the philosophy of a ph-balanced diet, that is, eating foods that promote an alkaline environment in the blood. Contrary to expectations, preachers of the ph-balanced way do not necessarily extol foods that are themselves alkaline. Lemons and limes are recommended, for example. Wine and vinegar are forbidden, as is coffee. Leafy vegetables are encouraged. Meat is discouraged. It’s hard to keep up. You’d better buy the ph bible.

Clifford claims it cured his incipient diabetes, chronic headache, chronic backache, and fatigue. If you add hoarseness, cottonmouth, snoring, dropsy, flatulence, hip pain and plantar fasciitis, you’ve got old age pretty much covered.