Tuesday, 14 July 2015

*Chicken Tonight?*

'WE'RE having chicken for dinner AGAIN?' The husband staggers in, after another day in the big bad world. 

I, on the other hand, have been doing nothing. Just housework. Worrying about offspring. Slaving over a hot laptop. Slaving over an even hotter stove.
I give him The Look.
The one that says, Don't push me. I'm not in the mood.
     'So what are we having for dinner, then?' he asks a minute later. He obviously hasn't picked up on The Look.
     'Rabbit,' I say. I turn to the stove, to check on the roast. There it is, roasting away. I add some vegetables.
     'Rabbit? Really?' He looks astonished. 'Long time since we had that.'
I have cooked it, on occasion.
     'Just don't tell The Boy,' I add. 'He won't eat rabbit. Tell him it's chicken.'
     'Oh sure, yeah.'
Chicken was the first meal I mastered. As a single girl, I had no interest in cooking. By the time I married, I'd had enough experience of my future husband's 'experimental' dinners to know that I should learn.
Not a problem, I thought. A good friend confidently reminded me that if I could read, I could cook. I think she meant recipes.
I started with jars.
Chicken Tonight became a firm favourite in our house. Far as I was concerned, it had a lot going for it. Chopping and frying chicken breasts was easy. Throw in some green beans, and empty the jar of Chicken Tonight sauce over the whole thing. A few minutes later, the big gloopy mess would be served on a bed of rice.
So successful did I become at making this meal, that I actually invited said friend and her husband to dinner one evening. Both are wonderful cooks.
Halfway through the meal, her husband complimented me on the food. How did I make the sauce? he asked.
Delighted at the compliment, I triumphantly produced the jar of Chicken Tonight. The fork froze halfway to his mouth. Then, ever the gentleman, he made some polite comment and swiftly changed the subject.
I set the table and lift the roast out of the oven.
     'Dinner,' I call. It's one of those rare evenings that we all sit down at the same time.
The husband cuts into the meat, pops a forkful into his mouth and chews.
     'Crikey, definitely doesn't taste like rabbit.'
The Boy glares at him.
     'That's because it's chicken!'
I raise an eyebrow.
     'Well, of course it's chicken,' he says, hastily. He gives me a puzzled glance.
I smile and start to eat.

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