Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tales from Maggie's Kitchen in 2 parts- Part I

Writing about my grilling experience from yesteryear reminded me of my cooking stories of the past and I thought I would share these.

First, I wrote these on a previous blog under my old moniker and I have to say these are some of my most popular writings- I wrote these about 3+ years ago. And these are some of Hecate's favorite stories, and I know she could use a chuckle right now... If you read these before, I apologize for the repeat. And newer readers- enjoy and I promise to not have my feelings hurt over your hysterical howling laughter.

Story A- Why does the Chicken Cross the Road?
There was this one time, no it wasn't band camp, when I decided to bake a whole chicken with potatoes and carrots. This was about 12 years ago, and Mac was around age 4. I had always baked pieces of chicken that were already cut up, but the whole fryers were on sale for like 23 cents a pound so we were going to do it up right! Well, I took the chicken and held it under the water and rinsed it off, letting the water run through the cavity. I put it in the roasting pan with the veggies. I turned on the oven for 350 bake for 45 minutes. Okay, no worries. Dinner would be great, I was thinking. Mac and I would eat well and I would have leftovers for the next day.

In 45 minutes, I checked the chicken and it wasn't done. Well, okay- it was whole so it might need a bit longer than the already cut up pieces I was used to baking. So I waited another 15 minutes- still not done. Well, I thought maybe it was some special chicken that needed more time, so I cranked up the temperature to about 450 degrees. And waited another 30 minutes. Um, guess what? The chicken still WASN'T done. For those of you who are math impaired like me, we have now had the bird in the oven for 90 minutes. So I let it go and finally after 3 hours in the oven I took the damn fowl out. I sat it on the stove top, poked it with a fork and the entire thing burst into flames! I grabbed the fire extinguisher and put out the fire.

Well, I called my mom, as any woman would in this situation. We tried to figure out why a chicken would just burst into flames for no reason. I thought that maybe the flames happened because of spontaneous combustion or some such scientific nonsense. I also thought maybe the cold air hit some sort of hot pocket in the birdie. My mom thought Maybe a more logical reason could be that the paper bag which holds the "innards" of the bird were left inside the chicken while I cooked it and they caught on fire...

Yeah, I know NOW, but back then I had no clue that chickens were sold with their guts tucked inside the cavity in a little paper sack. Who the hell does this? What sort of weird person wants chicken guts? And why sell them in a paper sack hidden away, like drugs or contraband? It wasn't like there were directions for the chicken cooking novice. For example, they put warnings on Preparation H that say don't take orally because we know someone did this...Why not chicken directions? I mean, really! The Nerve! I cannot be the first person who cooked the chicken, guts bag and all. Is it supposed to be some little gift for the chef from the butcher? It was all so very Silence of the Lambs. And it was slimy, yucky, raw meat for goddess sake so there was NO way I was going to stick my hand in the cavity of the chicken before I cooked it. I rinsed it out- read above- see there, I told you! People- guts in a paper sack caught my three hour cooked chicken on fire!!!

So I ordered a pizza from the Hut for dinner- Mac liked it better than chicken anyway- and the next day I went to the local fire station and had my fire extinguisher refilled- at no charge- Mac liked the fire trucks anyway!

Story B- Why I'm Pizza Hut's best customer
First, a disclaimer: I was raised by a mama who is a true southern cook and I think I can count on one hand the number of times she fixed stuff that wasn't from scratch. We never had food from a box or frozen or instant. So the world of pre-made was all new to me when I was in my own apartment.

A few days after the chicken incident, I decided to fix a frozen pizza for Mac and myself. This is merely a few days later, by the way. DAYS...

Not too tough, right? Pre-heat oven, open, place on cookie sheet, set timer and then take out and eat it. Okay, I did all those things. But when I took it out of the oven, it didn't look right. The cheese wasn't all melted. And the crust looked...funny. So, back into the oven for a little bit went the pizza.

Well, umm, I let it bake a little while longer and when it had been in for about 45 minutes and then I opened the oven door, it burst into flames. I am NOT fucking kidding you at all. Flames. So, needless to say I grabbed the fire extinguisher and put out the fire. Again. For the second time in three times.

Flames in my kitchen. Again. Well... I cannot believe I didn't get evicted.

Then I called my mom. Hey, that is what every girl in this situation would do. And it was her fault I caught it on fire in the first place- if she had been a mother who didn't like to cook us homemade food that was delicious and yummy, then I would know what to do with a frozen pizza out of a box. In talking with mama, I learned that frozen pizzas come with a cardboard circle under the crust.

I ask you- who does this? Was this public knowledge? I didn't know there was cardboard there! When I unwrapped it and placed it on the pan, it never dawned on me to TURN IT OVER to see if there was cardboard or some other foreign substance stuck to the pizza- I expected nothing but, oh, say, pizza crust!!!! There was no warning label on the packaging saying "remove cardboard circle." Damn it, twice in one week I caught a meal on fire. Damn it, twice in one week I caught my oven on fire.

So, I ordered a pizza from the 'Hut, as I am prone to do when I catch the food on fire- it was becoming a tradition of sorts. Mac liked it better than frozen anyway. The next day Mac and I went to the fire station to get the extinguisher refilled- also a bit of a tradition. Mac liked to play with the firetrucks. The same firemen were there- don't these guys ever go home? Why couldn't I have a different set of firemen? Anyway, usually the fire fighters charge for a second re-fill but when they heard the story of the pizza, so closely on the heels of the "flaming chicken" story...Um, let's say it was a complimentary fill up. I don't think the guys had the heart to charge me for it...At least that is what I think they were trying to tell me though their hysterical laughter.

And that stuff in the extinguisher is a real bitch to clean up. It is oh so yucky.

Well there you have it. Cooking tips from Mags- watch tomorrow for part 2. Oh, and feel free to stop by for dinner some night and I'll fix us up some nice vittles...How brave are you?

Julia Child I wasn't,


Hecate said...


OMG the chicken one is still my favorite story of yours that is G rated!

Maggie said...

Hecate- glad i can make you laugh!

And I need to email you and see what is your fav non G rated story LMAO!

Kelly G. said...

um...your pizza story? yep. same here. and sadly, my boyfriend was there to witness it. i was 27 fucking years old.

Great stories!