Many can recall with fondness the smells and tastes of Mom’s kitchen: the warm aromas wafting from the oven, enveloping you like a blanket as you stomp the snow from your boots. Of all Mom’s culinary specialties, Oven Barbecued Chicken comes back to me the most clearly, and with all the horror of a recurring nightmare.
What’s wrong with Oven Barbecued Chicken? EVERYTHING.
Let’s start with the oven: lots of yummy stuff comes from ovens, but none of it is barbecued. Smothering something in ketchup does not make it barbecued.
I have nothing against ketchup: it’s great on french-fries. I’ll even accept it on a burger, so long as it’s someone else’s burger. But ketchup has no business on chicken — and I mean chicken in any form. If you’re one of those degenerates who slops red goop on their scrambled eggs, then yes, I am talking to you.
And if you can get past the ketchup (and slither through the stringy onion slices), then there’s the chicken: bone-in, skin-on bits-and-pieces that nobody else wants. Food on your plate should not be an anatomy lesson: “Thigh bone’s connected to the — cartilage. The cartilage’s connected to the — slimy bit.” I feel no need to remember where our meat “comes from”; as far as I’m concerned it comes from the grocery store in clean, shiny Styrofoam packages.
Now, you have to feel at least a little sorry for Mom. She somehow managed to raise and feed three girls: one wouldn’t eat potatoes, one wouldn’t eat rice, and one wouldn’t eat pasta; and this was back in the olden days, before quinoa and couscous were invented. Maybe Oven Barbecued Chicken was payback. Or maybe she’ll read this and be horrified.
Maybe we’ll just keep it our little secret.
This is a little something I submitted to the Canada Writes Edible Non-Fiction Challenge back in January. I, er, didn’t win. I’m not sure it was quite what they were looking for, but it was fun to write all the same .
What do YOU remember from Mom’s kitchen?