Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Tale of Shake and Bake

Morning Readers,

     I've long felt that a grocery store is as good a place as any to explore one's own inadequacies. For instance, you may occasionally find yourself  staring a gorgeous, yellow skyscraper of of bananas, thinking, "Those sure look like some delicious bananas...I wish I knew what I could use them for." Or, "Yeesh, this potato sure looks top notch. If only I knew a few good ways to prepare it..I'd buy it right now." But you're scared, and the eyes of savvier shoppers convince you to drop the produce and walk away.'s not just what you slip into shoes, everyday....

     "How bout some chicken?"

     "Chicken? Chicken sounds delightful. I know just where we can find some." Swinging the cart around, I headed in the direction of the coolers, pride flowing through me like liquid in a cocktail shaker. The supermarket was my territory. Knew it like the back of my hand. "Here it is." My index finger wiggled at the stacks of dead bird.

     Husband gave me a nod of approval, reached down and plopped a decent-sized package into a plastic bag. "Ok, so what do you want to do with it?"    

     What did I want to do with it?    

     "Umm....what do you mean? for it?" I bit my lip and tried not to look too confused.

     "No..more along the lines of we can't eat it raw, so how would you like to cook it? Any recipe ideas?"

     My brain went into overdrive, trying to retrieve the meaning of "recipe", finally clamping onto a vague picture of index cards, lists of ingredients and my mother saying, "How did you ruin the rolls? All you had to do was follow the directions. There goes Easter."

    Fighting a queasy feeling threatening to show everyone what I'd had for lunch, I said, "I don't know any recipes. I'm really not sure how to cook chicken."

...There. I'd said it.

     Husband looked doubtful. "What do you mean you don't know how? You must know some way to cook it. It's chicken."

     "Err.." I'd read an article somewhere, detailing the process of summoning Julia Child's ghost in desperate times of need. If I could just get to some twine, a turkey baster and a copy of "Dark Arts For Beginners", the current situation wouldn't be so bad.

     "Are you telling me you don't have any ideas?"

     I shook my head. "None, but remember when we saw that box of Shake and Cook back on aisle two?"

     "Shake and Bake"

     "Right, Shake and Bake...well, let's go pick one of those up."

     Having company on my shopping trip had seemed like a great idea: two people to watch the babies, two people to load the cart, and someone to make it look like I wasn't talking to myself while I held different coffee brands side by side.  But now Husband knew my secret; I had no arsenal of mental recipes, no plethora of poultry preparations.
     So we rolled back to aisle two, grabbed a packet of Ranch Shake and Bake and headed home. With a great sense of relief, I found that the product was as simple as it promised. I jiggled the chicken under the faucet and dropped it into a waiting bag of seasoning provided by Husband. He shaked.
I baked. And dinner was pretty good.

     "This is how chicken should be. It's so easy, right? I think this is how I'll always make chicken...." At that, I heard a soft choking sound. "What is it?", I said.

"Do you want some more?...."

Until Next Time, Readers!