I read Finger Lickin' Fifteen, a Janet Evanovich book and I was hungry for chicken. Go figure. it's just the way I work, okay? It was either fix chicken or get arrested for sexually assaulting a guy who could be Ranger. The chicken was a safer bet, so I thought.
I had a whole chicken in the freezer and I thought I would bake it with a rub on it, and then do some country fried taters with onions and peppers and a pan of corn bread in the cast iron skillet and call it dinner. Mac thought it sounded good so he was on board with it.
Well, the first problem was that I decided this but didn't have enough time for the chickie to thaw. It was about half frozen when it went into the oven. My second problem is I've never cooked with a rub before (other than on the grill, anyway) so I didn't realize it would take longer to bake so the rub didn't burn while the bird was still raw. Of course, I discovered that when I read it online about 10 minutes after the chicken went in the oven. The final problem is that this bird must've been on frickin' steroids because this was a ginormous chicken. Bottom line: the chicken was not going to be done baking the same time as the rest of the food. So I quickly scrambled some eggs and fried up some sausage and we had that with the corn bread and taters.
Though we were all bummed about the chicken, I figured I would just pull it off the carcass and make either a casserole or a pot of homemade chicken and noodle (or dumpling) soup the next day. The chicken actually was taken out of the oven about an hour after we were done with dinner.
Live and learn...
But of course, it couldn't just end there. The chicken was beautiful and fine. It was golden and crispy. The juices bubbled. It smelled like heaven. The aroma was mouth watering even though we were all full from the impromptu breakfast-as-supper- I hastily tossed together at the last minute. We even pulled off little bits of the chicken and the skin- it was tender and golden. This was the perfectly baked chicken- with not one bag of guts or flame or exploding anything in sight.
Daddy-O and I decided we would leave it on the counter to cool to the touch before pulling it off the bone. We weren't going to leave it out long enough that anyone would get sick, but this was piping hot and before ripping all that scrumptious meat from the carcase it had to cool off.
In about 30 minutes I went to the kitchen to start on the bird and snatch a few yummy bites while "plucking" only to find to my utter horror that the chicken was no longer fit for human consumption because ...*dramatic pause*... it was covered in about 50 enormous black ants. Oh. My. G-R-O-double S-- GROSS!
Now Daddy-O and I are clean people. We are rather fastidious when it comes to a clean kitchen. Some folks might even akin such cleanliness to an OCD that should be medically treated since we clean everything with bleach water and 409 ALL THE TIME. There isn't a crumb or a smear of jam or a bit of food to be found. We didn't have ants 'cause we're nasty. We have ants because it's the MidfreakingWest in the middle of July in high humidity with temperatures hovering near 100 in a house that's over 100 years old and the ants just need to go somewhere. And all over my dang chicken is the somewhere they went, those little bastards.
I was mortified and mad. I was disgusted and pissed. I was grossed out and just irritated. I felt bad that Daddy-O, who bought groceries, had wasted money on food we couldn't eat AND that all the patience and hard work to make the perfect chicken was stamped out by the "Invasion of the Picnic Creatures."
And I swear if I had waited 10 more minutes to walk into that kitchen, the chicken would've marched passed us in the living room! And the final exceptionally gross thing is that the ants were stuck in either the grease at the bottom of the pan or in the rub goo on top of the bird. Oh, it was just awful! AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL!
So the bird went into the trash, the pan was immediately set to soak in hot soapy water, Taro the Ant killer was set out all over the place, and the bleach water and 409 were hauled out to scrub yet again.
I hate ants. This is my second run in with ants on my food in my lifetime but at least this time I didn't eat them. That's a post for another day.
I don't think I'll ever eat chicken again. Or at least not for a very looooong time.