I’m not sure how this could have happened, but I became a 33-year-old woman without ever having cut apart a whole chicken.
This astounds me given the regularity with which my mother would divvy up a chicken and oven fry it, including chickens she and my dad used to raise on the farm.
But since establishing my own presence in the kitchen, I’ve been a frozen-boneless-skinless-chicken-breast kind-of girl.
Until last night.
I had a fresh buttercup squash from my in-laws’ garden I wanted to bake, and decided it would be delish served with fried chicken.
I made a special trip to the grocery store to buy a box of Oven Fry (I won’t tell you how long I stood there debating between that and Shake N Bake) and the chicken. As I compared the package of cut-apart chicken pieces and the whole chicken, my frugal side won out.
I got out my butcher knife and a cutting board, unwrapped the chicken, and panicked.
I had no clue what I was doing.
I grabbed my Betty Crocker cookbook, the one my mother gave me when I was first starting out on my own. The poultry section includes a six-step, photo illustrated guide on “How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken.”
Unfortunately for me, I got lost on step one — to place chicken breast down on a cutting board — as I wasn’t really sure which side was the breast.
Once that was determined, I managed to cut off each wing. I ungracefully hacked off the legs, accidentally de-boning one of them. I became confused again at which side was the neck. I pleaded to no one in particular for help as I sawed the back from the breast (pretty sure I did not do that correctly) and became really confused at what the “keel bone” was. But in the end, I managed to dissect my chicken and bread it.
My husband declared it delicious and well-cooked. The kids ate the the small shreds put on their plates (I was too worried about bone fragments to give them whole pieces). Owen also loved the squash (He called it “cheese”).
I’m sure this all sounds ridiculous to any accomplished (or even not so accomplished) home chef, but I’m feeling pretty proud of my poultry escapades.
Here’s hoping practice makes perfect.