My apologies to Alton Brown

My apologies to Alton Brown . . .

We’ve been using Alton Brown’s book I’m Just Here for the Food for science this year. It’s been fun. We’ve all learned a lot. Today we finished up “braising” and started our unit on brining/marinating. Dan and Tim decided to prepare chicken piccata for the braising side of things and Ian opted to make a vegetable marinade. Both recipes seemed straight-forward enough. Ian made his stuff last night. He chopped vegetables according to the recipe. Although he had to take out the carrots and green beans as he’s allergic to those, he followed the recipe exactly. As substitutes he opted for baby corn and rutabaga. He made the marinade and everything soaked over night.

At lunch time, Dan and Tim started cooking. After our first two recipes, I’ve let the boys do everything on their own. They have done really well so far. The recipes in the book are very specific and leave little room for error, unless you pull an All Recipe on Alton’s original recipe.

Well, there’s always room for mistakes in this house. I was at the table, helping Andy make biscuits. Ian was tossing his vegetables. Dan and Tim were hammering chicken and actually measuring it to make sure it was 1/4″ thick. I was fighting that urge I have all the time to go over and just do it for them. But, things seemed to be going smoothly. The only time I had to step in was to open a bottle of wine for them to use for deglazing (we’re so fancy) the pan.

Andy set a nice table. We all sat down for a delicious lunch. I have to admit I was starving. Biscuits? Buttery and delcious if a bit squashed and crumbly from overhandling the dough. Vegetables? I could have lived without the rutabaga, but they were tasty. And, then I took a bite of chicken.

Oh. My. I could feel all the water in my body being sucked into that piece of chicken. It was salty. Not just a little salty. Salty like a salt-lick salty. I noticed Dan, Tim and Andy were eating and being awfully quiet. I wanted to be nice, they’d worked hard to make this meal. I took another bite and chased it down with a quart of water. Really. Really. Salty.I glance, trying to be casual, at Dan. “Honey, how much salt did the recipe call for?” Dan, trying to be equally casual, “A liberal amount.” Oooookaaayyy. Tim suggested we save it and use it for jerky next year. Dan started chewing the chicken like Chevy Chase eating turkey in Christmas Vacation. It went downhill from there. Seriously, it was the worst chicken I’ve ever had. The dog wouldn’t even touch it after a bite.

So, we’re putting off Latin for a little bit while we try to get rehydrated. Alton, if you’re reading this, can you please be more specific than “liberal” with the salt instructions in the next edition of this book? Think of your middle school audience! When I was putting stuff away, the box of kosher salt, which was new when the boys started cooking, is now half-full. Thanks. Posted on Thursday, Apr 5, 2007, 02:32 PM (UTC -4)

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