Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicken vs. Duck (spoiler alert: chicken wins!)

     Since I've started learning to cook for real, I have been learning how to roast things.  Well, birds mainly.  Okay, just chicken and duck but for me this is a big deal.  Until recently, I have only ever had pre-roasted "lazy chickens" which I bought at the grocery store.  About a month ago, I roasted my first chicken ever, following Julia Child's recipe to the letter.  Chicken that you roast yourself is so much better than the ones you buy!  It's like the difference between canned biscuits and real homemade ones.   Also, there is something very satisfying about making real, slow food from scratch.  You enjoy it way more because of the effort and suspense involved. 

     Last week, I tried roasting a duck.  I've never eaten duck except for the crispy Peking duck in Chinese restaurants.  Anyway, Julia's "Duck a l'Orange" looked good so I thought I'd go for it.  Disappointing!  (Not the recipe's fault.)  I thought duck would be tastier and more exotic and exciting than just plain 'ol chicken.  Nope.  It was tough and grissely, with a lot of cartilage.  My husband and I had to work to get it off the bone and we really did feel like we were gnawing on a bit of animal.  (Apologies to my vegetarian friends!)  The sauce, however, was good.  My advice:  Eat chicken and don't bother eating duck unless it's the crispy duck in a Chinese restaurant.  They've figured it out.  ---or maybe I just had a tough duck?

     Since the roast chicken had come out so good before, I decided to roast one again tonight for supper.  I know roasting chicken seems like such a frumpy, house-wifey thing to do, but I find it an extremely relaxing and satisfying process.  First of all, you get to chop up some veggies.  I love chopping veggies since I got my 8" Henkel chef's knife.  (I must have a thing about knives or something.  First, reed knives, now this.)  There's something really fun about chopping veggies with an ergonomically designed, extremely sharp knife while listening to music.  It's very therapeutic!  Second of all, you have to hover around the chicken as it roasts because you have to baste it every 10 minutes.  During these intervals, I get various little tasks done that I normally tell myself I'm too busy to do.  (empty the dishwasher, organize the junk drawer, scrub the sink, balance checkbook, etc.)  How useful!  You can get your house organized without even thinking about it, and in the end, you're rewarded with pure deliciousness.     


  1. Thanks! This time, I put a half of a lemon and a half of an onion in the...er...where the sun don't shine, and it tasted even better than the first one. Next time I see you, I'll make this for you. :-)