Surprise, but I decided to apply for a few scholarships – I’ve applied in the past without much success, but thought I’d give it a few more tries.

The scholarship asked to write a short essay about a poultry experience. I thought of this story right away – some of it is slightly embellished 🙂

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When I was a sophomore in high school, my twin sister and I decided to have our best friend and her boyfriend over for dinner. The two of us have been cooking for quite a while, first as sous chefs in our mom’s kitchen and then as lead cooks for family holiday and birthday celebrations. It was spring, and we wanted to serve a light meal of roasted chicken with potatoes and a green salad. The dinner should have been a breeze; instead it turned into a long-standing joke amongst the four of us.

What could be so funny about a roasted chicken? After all, my sister and I followed all the necessary steps – we rinsed the chicken under cold water, slightly wincing from the contact with the raw, slimy flesh; we patted the chicken dry with paper towels and seasoned the bird with salt and pepper. For more flavor, we stuffed the bird cavity with halved lemons, garlic cloves, and chopped onions, which would deliver aroma and necessary moisture during the roasting process.

The kitchen smelled divine and wholesome as the aromas of garlic and lemon melted into the white meat. Every time we opened the oven to baste the chicken, the smell tantalized us and made our stomachs sing. Out of the oven, the chicken came out a classic golden-brown color, glistening from the regular basting. We were ready to eat. With a knife and a fork, we assigned the honor of carving the chicken to our friend’s boyfriend. And that’s when it happened. As the knife slid through the chicken, our faces fell from horror – the chicken was still raw inside, and thin, but unmistakable streams of pink juice formed a puddle on the plate.

Since then, I always use a thermometer to determine the internal temperature of the chicken whether I roast a whole bird, or bake a few chicken breasts. I am now a student at the Culinary Institute of America and have cooked plenty of successful meals for my friend and her boyfriend, but the memories of that bloody chicken dinner resurface every time we get together.

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