Monday, July 9, 2012

The Burned Beast

Guest Blogger - Barbara Schwartz

How many beer can chickens have you made since this wonderful invention?  I would guess my number to be at least in the dozens. Flawlessly reliable; moist, tender, incredible flavors. And no clean-up required. It’s the best! I can do a beer can chicken with my eyes closed. Which apparently is what happened when I prepared the last one.

An unbelievable 45 minutes had passed before I realized I had not checked on the chicken. And since when do I not turn down the temperature at any point whatsoever? Pegged at 550 degrees, I opened the barbecue to witness the extraordinary sight of dinner in flames, which of course had been ongoing for quite some time. I did what any good chef would do and closed the lid, turned off the gas, closed my eyes and left the black beast to smolder into ashes. I didn’t even consider the obvious next thought: What was I going to now prepare for dinner? And the more important question: What excuse was I going to give for this aberration of my cooking?

Truly humbled, I went with the truth. Explaining it to my husband and children, my voice sounded like I had been through a major trauma; low, subdued, tragic. I admitted I had ignored the chicken. I had not cooked with love. I had decided to multi-task. Certainly I could negotiate new car insurance while preparing dinner.

This former main course beauty had been bestowed with a new rub. The usual coating of olive oil and one-quarter cup each of sweet paprika, brown sugar, salt and one-eighth cup black pepper was getting a bit ho-hum. So it was rosemary, thyme, basil, pepper, salt, garlic. Oh my it was going to be good. And my son was inviting his girlfriend (I think she is a girlfriend; mothers are last to know) for the very first time to dinner.

I am blessed with a husband who chose to laugh. Laugh! Oh my I am lucky. And vow from now on to be ever vigilant, cook with love, over-monitor my birds (but not over-opening up the barbecue as that is a sin).

One must never let up, never rest on the past success of a good meal.

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