Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Roast Chicken and Comfort

Sometimes I really need to make chocolate chip cookies. During our adoption process, I made chocolate chip cookies about once a week. Towards the end, the dough only occasionally ended up being baked. (Most adopting mamas either lose 20 pounds or gain 20 pounds. Guess which kind I was?!)

A batch of chocolate chip cookies is sitting, 1/2 eaten, in my kitchen right now. Because it's September, and because it's finally not hot anymore, but mostly because it's September, and I pretty much feel like a popped balloon every night.  School starting will do that to a person.

Lately though, I've also been needing to make roast chicken. I need roast chicken when I feel like the world is spinning too fast. When my newsfeed makes me cry or want to scream. When I need to feel grounded and safe and warm. Then I make this roast chicken, and wait for my kitchen and then my house to fill up the warm smell of roasting onions and melting mushrooms and crisping chicken. And the world starts to slow down just a little. Just enough to sit and eat a plate of warm, delicious, home made food.

Since we are 1/2 Ethiopian around here, I usually end up using berbere instead of the sage, and since I don't have 2 hours to make dinner most any night, I usually speed up the process by roasting chicken breasts or spatchcocking the chicken. And I usually throw in some sweet potatoes or squash to the stuffing because then it's a whole meal (one pot!). And I usually double the stuffing recipe because ohmygod it is soooooo good. My husband and I fight over doing the dishes on roast chicken nights because the one who washes also gets to scrape up and eat the burned, crispy extra-delicious bits of stuffing from the pan, even though said person has already had 2 helpings of stuffing. I have been known to "accidentally" leave a loaf of bread out so that it goes stale and "has" to be used for stuffing. I also usually have an "emergency" ziploc back of pre-cut bread cubes in my freezer. (What? Doesn't everyone?)

Last week my cell phone was stolen, right out of my hand, in broad daylight, right outside where I teach. Sigh. Just a crazy, out of the blue, what the ?@$% thing. A replacement phone is on it's way (soon), and after the shock and anger wore off I realized how lucky I was. I still had my eyes, I still had my purse, my kids are fine, and I wasn't hurt. It was very strange to be on the "other side" after a summer of witnessing police brutality and violence. It was very, very strange to be the one giving the description that would lead to another round of young black men being stopped for questioning. It was extraordinarily strange to find myself in a police cruiser, canvassing the neighborhood for the suspect (pointlessly). Again, I was reminded of my relative privileges, and of my fears for my son, and of the fears for the son of some mother whose life offers so little that he is compelled to steal phones.

And then the world started to spin a bit too fast. And I went home and made some roast chicken to try and slow it down.

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