Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is one of those foods that you’re just straight-up “not allowed” to have as an adult, according to bullshit diet culture. You learn to convince yourself it’s not that good. Fried chicken is for children, drunk college students, and people stuck at bowling alleys.

You can have chunks of over-breaded industrial protein composite, aka “boneless wings” (they’re NUGGETS, just call them what they are!!!) while “watching the game”, or you can have an artisanally-priced sandwich with too many garnishes and breading that slips right off that greasy thigh like a stocking off of an overheated lady at a brothel in the Old West.

What is even the point. This is why everyone gets all riled up when the good chicken sandwiches come from people who suck (Chick-Fil-A).

The best fried chicken is, of course, homemade. Having a Southerner in the family means that all of a sudden you have access to an entire repository of new powers, like being able to make fried chicken from scratch. This is why I love my brother-in-law Dave’s fried chicken: you just cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts (yeah, I know, spare me your gasps of horror) into tendo-sized strips, coat them with milk, egg, and flour, and fry them until they’re “brown enough” (his words), which usually means just a hint browner than golden. Boom. Done. Good.

I don’t want to hear it about how you’re only supposed to fry bone-in chicken. That is terrifying and I do not want to, even though I have seen it done well with my own eyes (at the best house party I’ve ever been to, because said party featured a beautiful handsome man frying bone-in chicken for everybody because he “didn’t want to talk to anyone.” Marriage material. Anyway.)

What? The Far Side is timeless.

Frying stuff in a vat of hot oil is scary enough, and I’m not here to tell you the “right” way to cook. I’m here to tell you how I cook. I want you to be able to have fried chicken as god intended: hot, fresh, light, crispy, with the Right Amount of breading and a Minimal Amount of fuss.

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Bolognese

Every person who has or ever has had a “functioning” uterus understands that there comes a point in your life when it becomes very clear that you are nothing but a soaked sponge held in the vice grip of cruel fate. You are merely a tragic bag of hormone-laced seawater being systematically wrung out like the sweaty gym towel of some uncaring god. You are both metaphorically being squeezed in the iron grip of and also punched in the gonads by that stupid giant steel fist statue they have in Detroit.

Yeah. Sucks to be you.

Cheer up, they tell you. It’s not so bad, they say. After all, what could possibly compare to the beautiful, mystical, earthy dignity of having your viscera vigorously pumped like a straining accordion in the meaty hands of a busker who thinks people tip by volume. It only happens every month!

But you did not come here to read about the cosmic injustice that is menstruation. This is, ostensibly, a food blog. “Gross”, you may be thinking to yourself. “Yuck. This is, as recipe preambles go, decidedly unappetizing.” And you would not be wrong.

But, as my insides are performing an orderly evacuation via their nearest emergency exit, I am here to extol to you the virtue of patience and to remind you that this blog is free. During the course of my current agonies, only two things adequately soothe: watching people die crunchily on various supernatural television soap operas, and meat sauce.

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Chocolate Babka

Well. Are we having fun yet? This week I feel, more than usual, like a bug smashed on the windshield of world events.

Usually the cure for stress is to take a bath or read a book on the couch. But sometimes all you want to do is whip your phone at the wall like a dodgeball, which is when you have to get up and take a walk.

Kierkegaard says there’s no bad mood a long walk can’t cure, and I also say this. Some weeks, though, you can’t go anywhere. Some weeks you get bee-booped by the government on your COVID app and you have to self-isolate for 14 days (I’m fine, we’re fine, everything’s fine.)

So you find yourself wearing an apron over a nightgown over a hoodie over a different nightgown and thinking, “Yeah! This is what people wear! Let’s make some brioche.”

the top nightgown is technically an oversized sweater-dress – I call her the slanket and she is precious to me

Welcome to Babka Club.

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Coffee and Walnut Cake

Sometimes you freak yourself out, and you don’t even know you’re doing it. You’re going along, doing all the right things, going for walks and doing yoga and eating vegetables and it’s all fine, and then you go into a crowded corner store (that WASN’T crowded when you went in but then like 8 people showed up out of nowhere and the owner guy isn’t wearing a mask and oh God) and your whole equilibrium is fucked.

Other times, there’s a violent insurrection/coup attempt in the city where your sister lives and works and which is also the seat of your government. Cool.

There is a particular cake I turn to when everything is fucked, when your plans aren’t going according to plan. When you need both a pick-me-up and a sit-me-down. Meet coffee walnut cake.

Fun fact: we ate almost this whole cake between the Monday when this post was first drafted and the Thursday it went up, so all the glamour shots are of The Final Slice. It’s been a week, okay?
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