“Strangest damn things! They’re man-made…”

April 23, 2008 at 12:35 pm (The Easy Chair)

A show of hands please: How many of you have seen the movie Eraserhead? David Lynch’s first movie release, it is best described as a bad dream caught on film. I saw it during its first run in Portland, back in 1978 or so. Being a champion of all things weird, I had to drag my friends to see it at the midnight movies. The ex-wife and I watched it, tripping on acid, shortly after the birth of our daughter. (Perhaps not the best choice for a new mother…) While it may not be the favorite of my friends, it is often referenced. It’s the kind of movie that sticks with you.

Last night, I had one of the cast members for dinner…

Which one, you ask? It wasn’t Henry, because he’s dead. The Lady in the Radiator? Nope, too religious. I know there’s been a lot of baby talk around here, but no, it wasn’t the baby.

It was the chickens.

“Strangest damn things. They’re man-made!” Mr. X exclaims before he asks Henry to carve the little birds. Then they flip out, have a dancing number, etc… I found the scenes with the little plucked chickens hilarious. (What I was smoking may have contributed to this effect.) One day at the market, shopping with my sis, I saw Cornish game hens on sale. The little chickens really exist? Ooh! OOH! I had to try one.

What started off as an inside joke between my sister and I became a family tradition. Mom loved them. We’d make stuffing, cramming maybe three tablespoons up their little avian asses. After mom passed on, the tradition sort of drifted to the wayside.

The other day, as I was prowling Freddy’s, seeking something different for an after-work dinner that wasn’t too much hassle, I saw them again. Two for $5. I chose two fist-sized rocks and tossed them in a plastic bag.

After three days of thawing, last night was the night. I popped the first one open, smartly holding it over the trash can. I was expecting tiny giblets; instead I was met with a gush of watery chicken blood. Thank god it hit the trash. (I’ve got a thing about raw chicken juices.) The instructions say truss them, but I’ve never done that. (What would I use? A paper clip?) I kind of like them all spread out, like they’re saying “Eat me!”

While I could have tossed them in the oven and returned an hour later, the trick to game hens is the basting. Every fifteen minutes I’d wander out and give them another butter coating. The last ten minutes at 400 degrees imparted a nice browning, leaving the skin crispy-crackly. It was the best part.

The verdict? It was fun to revisit, but it’s so much easier to buy an eight-pack of fried chicken. Costs the same, and no basting. (Although I do consider myself a master baster…)

This bird has been annointed the next big thing in dancing fowl, and he/she doesn’t do a damn thing for my appetite.

Unless maybe Freddy’s comes out with a new Tropical-flavored chicken…

1 Comment

  1. chantel said,

    Soak them in red wine before you cook ’em then baste them with honey and mustard, you almost get Coque Au Vin that way.

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