I am superstitious. My whole family is.
I’m very careful to never open an umbrella in the house or to put shoes on the table.
I toss spilled salt over my shoulder and I have changed direction when a black cat walked in front of me.
I make sure to never even scratch a mirror, never mind break one.
I will never, ever walk under a ladder.
I don’t kill lady bugs and I knock on wood for luck.
I believe in signs and omens.
Sometimes I try to tell myself that it’s nuts. What is really going to happen if I spill salt and don’t throw it over my shoulder? Probably nothing. And am I really going to get bad luck if I put my shoes on the table? Most likely not. But I still can’t bring myself to do these things…because what if?
I’m telling you all of this so you can fully appreciate what happened at my house last night.
I’ve been reading Glamour magazine for years and years and I’ve seen them talk endlessly about “Engagement Chicken“. For those of you who don’t know about this, the story is that if you cook this chicken recipe for your boyfriend, he will propose in short order. They swear that it works and they’ve published numerous stories over the years touting the success of this recipe. Apparently…it’s magic. Despite having read about it for years, I never tried it. I’m not much of a cook and the thought of roasting a whole chicken was a little overwhelming, but I’ve always liked reading the stories.
I’ve been trying for a while to get started on#96 on my 101 list…cook my way through a cookbook…but I was having trouble finding the right cookbook. J is an impossibly picky eater and I knew that if I got a book with fancy or complicated recipes or any kind of exotic food, he wouldn’t eat any of it. Then I finally found a book that included only 100 recipes…all for food that was simple and that J would like. I was sold.
As I went through the book to decide what to cook first, I saw that Engagement Chicken was one of the recipes. I decided it was a sign and that I should make that first. And just maybe the chicken would work its magic for me. I bought all the ingredients and last night when I got home, I pulled everything out and started cooking. I almost gave up when I reached inside the chicken to clean it and pulled out a heart…but I managed to control my gag reflex and soldier on. I prepped the chicken, put it in the oven, waited the appropriate amount of time and took it out.
The chicken was beautiful. The skin was crispy and brown. It smelled amazing. I was very happy.
I started carving the chicken to put it on a platter…and that’s when I realized that the chicken was not fully cooked! The inside of the breasts was still raw. I had already removed the skin and cut into the meat. The juices were running onto the plate. I was afraid if I put the chicken back into the oven, the meat would completely dry out. But I obviously couldn’t serve it half-cooked! It was ruined…totally ruined.
Then it hit me that this was ENGAGEMENT chicken. This was supposed to be the magical meal that was going to get the sparkles on my finger and I took it out of the oven before it was ready. It was a sign…a sign that J wasn’t ready yet either…that he wasn’t going to propose…that I was going to die single and alone…that I was never going to have children. And also…we didn’t have anything else to eat for dinner.
I was overwhelmed by it all and I sat on the kitchen floor in a blubbering puddle of tears, typing out an email of doom and disaster on my Blackberry. Luckily, I chose the right people to email. Allyson and Robyn emailed me back the most wonderful pep talks. They went something like this…”Get your ass up off the floor and put that damn chicken back into the oven and it will be perfect and everything will be fine.” They convinced me that this was not a sign of impending doom and spinsterhood…but a symbol of overcoming obstacles and that instead of tears, I needed to put good thoughts and positive energy into the chicken. (There were also quite a few jokes about perfect breasts…)
I did what they suggested and when the chicken came out of the oven the second time, it was perfectly cooked…and quite delicious. I served it up with some corn and roasted potatoes and J had two plates full.
Everything worked out in the end…and I am so grateful to Ally and Robyn for talking my crazy ass off the ledge. Now we just have to wait and see if the chicken worked its magic. I’ll keep you posted.