This post is about chicken.

On a few other occasions, I have attempted to show my domestic side, whereby I prove myself to be a human being capable of functioning in a normal, adult world.  Theoretically.  I'm gearing up for a big millinery/haberdashery post (because I have been doing some haberdashering on the sly), but for now I've just been cooking.

This time around, I made spicy breaded chicken tenders instead of shrinking pies.  But before you start getting all flushed with admiration for me, I was really just making dinner last-minute for my sisters.  I was tired and crampy and all I really wanted to do was scrounge about for a little nibble to tide them over till morning.  It was not impressive.

But instead of abandoning them to graze on whatever was in the fridge (crusty ranch dressing and wheat germ, mostly), I rallied my strength, grumbled my way into the kitchen, and whipped out this culinary masterpiece!

Of course, it still had to sit for a bit.  You can't rush art, you know.

And now, here is a long and irrelevant story for you:

About a month ago, I decided that after five years and four months of being a vegetarian, I wanted to start eating meat again.  This decision came about after a trip to the farmer's market with my boyfriend (why yes, I do live in a romantic comedy).  That night, we were planning to make a prematurely autumn-like soup which required bacon, so he picked out the heartiest, thickest slices of bacon he could find, which were then weighed and wrapped by a very obliging Amish fellow.  When we took it back home, I offered to cook it.  The Boyfriend was quite grateful, since he usually eats bacon straight from the frying pan, without bothering with any intermediary nonsense such as plates.  Or a napkin.  This way, the bacon at least made it into the soup - some of it was even sprinkled artfully on top.

However, as I stood there fussing over the bacon like it was a tiny babe in a cradle, the bacon began to work its magic on me.  Before I knew it I saw myself reaching into the pan for just a smidgen, just a tiny taste.  Surely I wouldn't get sick from just one little bite?  One thick, crunchy, little bite?  As if standing outside of my own body, I watched as my hand nipped a bit of the meat, trembling as the sinews snapped: it was mine.  Into my mouth it went, and I gargled a sick cackle of delight as the greasy, salty, wonderful juice thrilled my tongue and my teeth sank into the forbidden fruit.  Or meat.  Whatever.  In any case, my moment of ecstasy was rudely interrupted as The Boyfriend ran up behind me, grabbed me around the ribs, and muscled me over to the sink where he forced my mouth open with his thumb and forefinger, shouting Spit it out!  Spit it out! as if I were a dog on a chocolate binge.  I did spit it out, mostly out of shock, but I glared ruefully at him, muttering disdainfully that all I'd wanted was a taste.

The point of that story was to impress upon you how new the world of meat cookery is to me, and that because of this fact, the chicken tenders felt much more slimy than I expected them to.  Also, I was hoping somebody could point to where the tenders are located on a chicken.

The rest of it was pretty alright, though.  Flour and kosher salt?  Easy peasy.  Hot sauce and eggs?  A cinch.  Cayenne pepper, cornmeal, chili powder?  A little more difficult, because we only had half as much cornmeal as the recipe demanded (you'd think recipes would have a little more leeway), so I had to throw in some Panko to even things out.  Also, I do love cooking with kosher salt.  It makes me feel like everything I'm doing is proper and sanctioned in the eyes of God, at least.

We do things right around here.

The dipping, though, was an entirely different story.  The flour was alright, because that eliminated the sliminess of the raw chicken.  But then the egg mixture brought back the goo with a vengeance.  The breading built up on my fingertips in a clumpy, sticky mess, but I muddled through all these unimaginable tribulations because damnit, my sisters needed food in their bellies!  The result:

Ignore the odd one out on the end.  I ran out of bread crumbs so it just looks wet.

I didn't remember to snap any pictures of the chicken after it was cooked, but you can be sure that my sisters gobbled up every last bit of meat they could lay their hands on before proceeding to lick the plates, their fingers, even their napkins for any remaining shreds of flavor.  Delighted, I cried out, "Wait till you taste the salad!"  However, they were a little disappointed, to say the least, by the plain, wilted romaine lettuce affair, and dinner ended on a rather low note.

Another typical meal in the drudgery bin.

Top image by Jim Davis and Dan Walsh, via Garfield Minus Garfield; all others by me.

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