It is 1983. Mom has us 3 kids plus a job and Dad is out of the house. She's the one who puts breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table amidst chaos and deadlines and responsibilities.
It is a Tuesday in this story. In the morning, she pulls a whole chicken out of the freezer and sticks it in the sink. Mom needs that bird defrosted and in the oven and done by the time everyone gets home.
Afternoon rolls around and Mom's back from a few after-work errands. That bird's thawed and has gotta get in the oven. But, a woman's voice is hollering through the screen door, "You in there?" It's Suzanne, Mom's pal, stopping by, just like that.
Suzanne wants Mom to come with her..."and c'mon, you have two hours until the other kids come home. Bring Anne (that's me again) in the back." Mom had responsibilities, but she wasn't going to miss out on life because of them. But what about dinner?
True story, she picked up the defrosted chicken by the leg with one hand and stuck that bird in the pot with neither spice nor ceremony. It went in the oven and she walked out of the kitchen.
"Done," Mom said, grabbing the keys.
Suzanne said, "That looked like something Carol Burnett would do."
In my herbal practice, I think of this story all the time. In every initial appointment comes the dreaded question: will you describe your diet?
Seriously. Most people would rather describe the color and texture of our poop than come clean about the crap we eat. Don't even get me started about the answers I get to the question of how often people eat out.
The bottom line is this: too many people are not eating real food, or they are paying someone else to make it. And 90% of the time they have an excuse. It's either, "I don't know how to cook!" or "I'm too busy!" or "I don't have time!"
This is bunk. Everyone can cook.
Right? So, I took myself to task and made Carol Burnett chicken the way mom did. I wanted to prove that cooking can be easy, fast and delicious. After all, mom reminded me of this story over the phone when I was in my first apartment in college and I was still learning how to feed myself properly. I think she added that you can tell a chicken is cooked by wiggling the leg and seeing if it is loose and looks like it wants to fall off and get eaten up right then and there.
The final product was juicy, flavorful and tender. It was better than good and that mattered because when I started this experiment, I had forgotten I were hosting dinner guests! I spruced it up a bit for the table by opening a jar of my homemade (also easy) preserved meyer lemons. I served a nice crusty bread, a simple salad and some braised greens from the garden, a bottle of wine. Finger-lickin' and I spent less than 20 minutes in the kitchen.
This proves it. I am no longer accepting the "I don't have time" or the "I don't know how" excuse. Clients be forewarned that you will be referred to this post. Cooking CAN be easy. Take it from Carol Burnett.