Returning to the fold…I joined French Fridays with Dorie back in October 2010, right at the beginning. I cooked and baked along with everyone consistently for several months…and then I tapered off…and, eventually, stopped. Not on purpose, not for any reason that I can remember. I just had lots of other demands on my brain, I think, and something had to go.
But I missed it, I missed the fun of cooking “together” with a whole bunch of other people…and I missed the food. So not too long ago I decided I needed to get back into the routine. I may only participate once a month, but that’s okay. As long as I participate. Besides, it’s nice to have someone else decide what’s for dinner now and then!
And to kick off my return, I made this week’s selection, M. Jacques Armagnac Chicken.
Way back in May, as a combination Mother’s Day, Birthday, Christmas, and any other gift-receiving holiday you can think of, I got a pressure canner. And I’ve been waiting to use it. I knew that the first thing I wanted to can was homemade stock. I make a lot of stock, chicken especially, and I’d wanted the pressure canner especially so I could put the stock in jars and give us more room in the freezer.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago, the pressure canner made its canning debut….
Ohhhh, I totally forgot what day of the week it was. The snow days we’ve had over the last couple of weeks keep throwing me off track, at least mentally, and yesterday I kept thinking it was Sunday, because everyone was home, and so this morning I had no idea WHAT day it was, and plus I was up at 4:29 am to play with fire and pig meat and then make cheese, and then at some point today it suddenly hit me:
The smell of a roasting chicken says “home” to me. The aroma is cozy and comforting and evocative of childhood…Sunday afternoons…cool Autumn days…dark, early evenings…cribbage games in the living room, and – a real treat – glasses of ginger ale mixed with orange juice for my sister and me.
We didn’t move – ever – when I was a child. Our house was also my father’s place of business, so we were pretty well tied to that spot. But once I was in college and then on my own, I lived in a variety of places in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, and again in Rhode Island.
And whenever I’ve moved, I’ve had to roast a chicken soon after moving in. I need to. It’s my way, I think, of blessing the place. Of saying “this is my home.” Instead of burning sage or incense, or popping open a bottle of champagne, I roast a chicken.