A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life

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The Colonel Can Kiss My Ass

As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.  Never has that statement been truer than when I tried to make a homemade fried chicken dinner for a friend in need.

My good deed starts out with high hopes.  I signed up via mealTrain to help out a baseball team mom who is battling breast cancer and going through chemotherapy.  mealTrain allows the community to sign up in advance to help out people with challenges — surgery, illness, deployment, new baby, condolences — allowing friends, family and the community to coordinate/schedule support in the way of prepared meals.

I was thinking “a homemade meal is worth at least 3 weeks off that purgatory sentence I keep racking up”.  Oh, but the price I would pay.  I would have to cook.  And we all know how much I love cooking.

I found what sounded like a tasty recipe on the website Just a Pinch.  How can you go wrong with something called Dang Good Southern Fried Chicken?

I purchased all the ingredients to make the chicken rub — all 13 of them.

I know you only count 12, but I couldn’t fit flour in the picture.

My recipe usually calls for three ingredients: 1) drive up to speaker box; 2) order and pay for chicken; and 3) take bucket home for everyone to enjoy.  With 10 additional steps in the process — not including the overnight soak in buttermilk and the frying part — I should have known I was in trouble.

I purchased chicken drumsticks and breasts.  I think the package was mislabeled because what I ended up with was pterodactyl legs and breasts that would fill Pam Anderson’s (pre-reduction) bra.  And then some.

I followed the instructions for the chicken prep.  The 13 spices made me very sad I hadn’t opted for my usual 3 step process.  It was incredibly messy, halfway through I had to stop to make more rub and my kitchen reeked of buttermilk.

The frying was no better.  I used tongs to turn the chicken, but pterodactyl legs are decidedly impossible to move around with only one set of tongs.  And without splashing HOT grease everywhere.  The DDD cup breasts were no better.  Every time I touched them, the amazing rub on the skin would come off and float around in the grease, sending a mocking hiss at me as it over-crisped in the oil.

Once the chicken was done, I attempted a bit of plastic surgery, reattaching the floating skin to the pieces of chicken.  Sort of a frankencluck, if you will.  (I’ll tell you who was frankenclucked, people.  It was this chick and the ones that had been frying).

I believe my only saving grace for this meal was the homemade buttermilk biscuits.  And the corn on the cob cupcakes.

Perhaps I earned a few get-out-of-purgatory-early points after all.


Real Food. It’s What’s for Dinner. Once a Year.

My sister, her husband and their 3 kids stopped by our house for an overnight visit this past Wednesday, during their annual Summer pilgrimage from Canada. Our boys had football practice, so my husband and I figured the best dinner solution was to order pizza for everyone when practice was over.

My brother-in-law offered to go to Wegman’s and pick up a few things to grill for dinner instead of ordering pizza. “Sure”, I said. I mean, I like burgers on the grill and nuked Stouffer’s mac and cheese as much as the next person.

Except his shopping list didn’t include any hamburger or mac and cheese. This is what he brought home:

  • garlic flavored hummus
  • gourmet crackers – who knew there was something better than a Ritz?
  • fresh basil
  • fresh mozzarella
  • yellow peppers
  • gourmet chicken breasts
  • a whole white onion
  • fresh garlic
  • mini dessert cakes
  • strawberries
  • real cream
  • and more than one potato (up yours, Dan Quayle!)

Since I had no idea what to do with any of these ingredients that lacked the preservatives and frozenness that I am typically accustomed to when I “cook”, I decided to stay the hell out of his way.

There were a few requests he had while he was busy whipping up dinner. Literally people … he whipped the cream he bought. I told him I had Cool Whip in the frig, but he made the same face Molly Ringwald did as teenager Samantha in Sixteen Candles, when her grandmother suggested she take Long Duck Dong to her high school dance.

He asked me where I kept my garlic press. I told him that my garlic comes out of jar, in the pre-chopped format.

He asked me where my fresh Rosemary was. Puzzled, I told him none of my foul-mouthed and inappropriate friends had been invited to join us for dinner.

He asked where my whole pepper corns for grinding were. I showed him the shaker on the table with the pre-ground pepper. I’m not interested in that much exercise while I spice my food.

The evening’s menu consisted of garlic hummus and fancy cracker appetizer, fresh mozzarrella caprese (I did have olive oil and balsamic vinegarette), marinated grilled chicken, grilled peppers and onions, baked potato wedges and individual strawberry shortcakes. It was the best meal ever made in my kitchen. And the bonus was that none of the Rices’ bodies rejected the good food, or went into shock from the freshness of the ingredients.

Unfortunately, my family is destined for another year of nuked nibbles and pre-packaged, preservative-filled provisions until Uncle Jonas once again appears to fete us with his culinary creations. I hope we can all hold on that long.


When Did I Become Becky Crocker?

It is no great surprise to anyone that I do not like to cook. My husband knows it. My mother (who makes every frickin’ thing from scratch) knows it. My sisters – one of whom made her own baby food – know it. My kids know it. My facebook and Twitter friends/followers know it. Even the dog knows I can barely bring myself to fill her dish with dog food in the evening.

When you are faced with this type of commentary when you cook…

  • “This doesn’t taste like a Glory Days hotdog” when my kids are presented with boiled Oscar Mayer weiners
  • “Is this supposed to be so runny?”, when my family is presented with my meatloaf
  • “These suck compared to McDonald’s cheeseburgers”, when I attempt to glue the pieces of hamburger together with cheese, to disguise the fact that the damn patty stuck to the grill under my watch

…it’s no wonder I am always looking to redeem myself in the kitchen.

Working my way backward to find out how this all started, I see that I have actually morphed into my friends’ and family’s go-to dessert maker.

There were these recently commissioned (!) cakes, for two of the kids on my son’s little league team:

This Memorial Day cake for a family picnic, along with homemade chocolate candies in red, white and blue:

This was my first commissioned (!) cake and cupcakes for a local girls’ softball team (Go Mystics!):

This Easter cake, made from two round cakes with icing and M&Ms:

This birthday cake for my son Alex, with candy stars made by me:

This birthday cake and cupcakes for our friend Brian Henigin’s Led Zeppelin-themed party (his self-designed birthday logo is there to the left of the cake). The sprinkle cupcake is for his adorable daughter Samantha, who loves it when Miss Becky shows up with goodies:

A sampling of the yummy red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a friend’s 40th birthday bash – hand decorated by yours truly:

This SuperBowl cake – can you figure out who we were rooting for?:

These New Year’s Eve cookies (there were many more – each one decorated differently)

Goodies for various Pittsburgh Steeler watching parties:

A Halloween-themed Pittsburgh Steeler watching party at our friend’s the Henigins:

But I think it all started when I took a Friday off, in celebration of homecoming weekend for our local high school. Our one son was playing on the mini-pony team in town, and they got to be part of the homecoming parade on Friday night. So, I decided to do something special for the kids’ game the next day. I made 60+ helmet cookies, and hand decorated them with icing and their team name (Go Lions!), individual numbers and names. I also made cookies for the coaches and some generic ones for the cheerleaders.

The day after the football game, I received the following e-mail from a dad/coach:
Thank you so much for the time and effort that you put into the cookies you have provided the Coaches and Players. Not only do they look Great but they taste phenomenal !!!!!! Ian appreciated his so much, I couldn’t get him to eat it. He gingerly put his in a tupperware bowl, sealed it with tape, and promptly put it in the freezer upon our arrival home. He did, however, munch on mine (which incidentally didn’t make it out of the parking lot before I had to split it with him). Once again, Thank you for your efforts.

And Becky Crocker was born.