I didn’t mean for this to happen.
I remember when I was a kid, and people used to joke about how “Monday was meatloaf night, and anything was better than meatloaf night…” Or how some families had “Taco Tuesdays”.
No, I thought–anything is better than to be that predictable.
Of course, that was before soccer and dance and choir recitals and indoor soccer games and snack Thursdays came along–so apparently certain food on certain nights is an inescapable part of parenthood. I mean, Chipotle Wednesdays have been a staple for ten years.
But the last couple of years I’ve been trying to cook more often (don’t laugh!) and although I wouldn’t call myself a great cook, I do have a few things I do well.
Apparently, chicken is one of them.
It all started about fifteen years ago, when I asked the family what they wanted for Christmas. Big T said, “Fried chicken!”
I destroyed the kitchen and fried me some chicken! I’d seen my mom do it–how hard could it be?
Well, apparently it was a success, because the kids asked for fried chicken every Christmas after that. The little kids now think that fried chicken with potatoes is what you eat for Christmas–doesn’t every family eat fried chicken and garlic potatoes?
And a couple of years ago, ZoomBoy asked me to cook chicken some day NOT Christmas.
At first I was reluctant. Real fried chicken, with the breading and the eggs is a messy, artery clogging mishegas–good for special occasions but I was not ready to just pull it out on the fly. Then it occurred to me that I could, possibly, pan fry the chicken without the breading, just using the seasoning that made it so good. (Plus curry. Curry makes everything better. So my pan-fried chicken has curry, chili powder, garlic salt, and lemon pepper. And it’s delicious.) And then, when pan frying felt too heavy, I pulled out the simmer sauces. Well, not the simmer sauces the grocery store makes, because those are bland–I do a bottle of ultra cheap barbecue sauce and a bottle of ultra cheap Italian dressing, and simmer the chicken until tender.
And I simmer or pan fry a LOT of chicken.
Like four big bags of frozen chicken if I’m simmering. Or two big trays of boneless skinless thighs if I’m pan-frying. The idea was that we would have chicken for the next couple of days after chicken night. Cold lunches, in salads, for snacks– chicken GOOOOOOD, right? Also if I used the simmer sauces, I’d cook noodles in them afterwards and have noodles. Yum. Food for a WEEK, right?
Once we have had chicken for days and noodles too. It was last week, after Big T moved out. I was like, “Holy God, how did we manage to keep this extra chicken for three days! This is amazing! This is incredible! This is exactly what chicken night was founded for–at last, we have discovered the true meaning of chicken night I am a grown up, I am adulting, I am SO PROUD!”
Tonight, I made the mistake of telling Chicken that it was, well, chicken night.
She stopped by after a day of granola bars and coffee and had some chicken. Then she made a carry out package for Big T, so he wouldn’t feel left out.
I went into the kitchen to put away leftovers and was confronted with one lunch helping of chicken and noodles.
And the knowledge that chicken night was a thing–a real thing. I’d offered Mate and the kids a choice tonight–either I could go watch their last practice of the season, or I could stay home and cook chicken and hot chocolate.
They picked chicken night.
Chicken stopped by on purpose for chicken night.
She brought some to her brother to make him happy and not feel left out.
Chicken night is a THING.
Even if leftovers are, sadly, NOT.