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for December 3, 2003

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Captain's Cheese Log
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Now listen, December holidays are coming, and if there's anything you're definitely going to do it's cooking. Forget about protesting, get in your car. You're shopping for ingredients, so get over it. Why are you shopping for ingredients? Because you're going to parties and hosts love you less when you show up emptyhanded.
Why are you going to parties when you'd rather stay home and watch holiday specials you've seen a thousand times? For some reason, people like you. Shut up.
You are awkward in the kitchen. When you think about cooking, you're imagining how you can combine your love of Skittles with your adoration of Famke Janssen. Let's ... put that mental picture away for a while, shall we? (And scrub ourselves with wire brushes while we're at it.)
Now that you're in a grocery store, go to the poultry section and find the skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Stop laughing. Pick up any combination of packages that add up to six pieces of the chicken. Resist the urge to fondle the chicken. You are on camera and underpaid rent-a-cops are waiting for a pervert like you.
Next, head toward the aisle where soy sauce sits in bottles. Collect such a bottle. Now, find wooden skewers. These are sharpened pieces of wood about ten or eleven inches in length. Pay the cashier and leave the store as if nothing unusual has happened.
In your kitchen, which if we go back in time half a day you've cleaned with bleach and that's enough of that time travel thing because it gives everyone a headache, you take out a casserole dish or a Tupperware container long enough that the wooden skewers can lie flat in it. Empty the soy sauce into the dish.
Next, and this cannot be overstated, it is very important that you wash your hands. Nobody wants to go to the emergency room because of your poor grasp of personal hygiene.
Remove the chicken breasts from the packages and lay the chicken on a clean cutting board or a plate. With a clean sharp knife you have never used to pick at your toenails, cut the chicken into long strips about an inch wide.
Your fingers are very nimble from playing video games so you should have complete confidence in your ability to carry out this next step. In one hand, hold a skewer; in the other, grasp a strip of raw chicken. About an inch from the end, pierce the chicken with the skewer. Maybe an inch and a half further down the strip, stick the stick through the chicken again. Repeat until you have one straight sharp thing threaded through a ribbon of chicken, then repeat with a second ribbon of raw chicken. That looks like a nice portion of something that'll be meat-like later, doesn't it? Of course it does.
Lay this raw chicken and wooden thing into the soy sauce. Repeat this process until you've run out of either chicken or skewers. Cover the container or casserole dish and refrigerate. Turn the skewers over after a while to make sure all the chicken gets to sit in the soy sauce. It sounds complicated but it's so simple even you can do it.
Before you go to your lavish destination, find out from your host if the broiler will be available. If not, you have permission to once again travel back in time and make a salad, but please crack a window this time.
Anyway, arrive at your lavish destination with your covered container and ask the nice person who invited you over to heat the broiler. This means 550 degrees. Wait a few minutes. How long is long enough? When you open the broiler and a wave of heat threatens to singe off your eyebrows, the broiler's hot.
Place the chicken on a broiler tray, put the tray under the broiler and close the door. Whistle London Bridge is Falling Down twice and pull out the broiler tray. Turn the chicken sticks over. This time, close the door and think of England: boiled food, double decker buses, peculiar Royal family, drunken sailors and citrus fruit. Both sides of the chicken should now have some nice color.
Pull out the tray. Stop laughing. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees and put the tray on the top rack. If the chicken is very thinly sliced, the meaty parts should be almost finished cooking. When you have a look and everything looks like something you'd eat and not something you'd find on the bottom of your shoe, cut about an inch of chicken off the end of a skewer. Is it delicious? Good. It's done. Place the skewers on a bed of some leafy vegetable you wouldn't eat on a dare on a serving tray and - ta-da! - you're a hero.
See? People like you! Shut up.

©2003 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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