Sunday, March 23, 2008


There was a whole chicken sitting in our Meat Locker, waiting for us to do something with it. And it was getting to be time to (you should excuse the expression) shit or get out the pot.

“Hey, bub, ya gonna cook me, or what? ’Cause otherwise, I’m gonna just lay here until I stink to high heaven.”

I’ve cooked Chicken in a Pot several times over the last month or two. It’s a fine dish, but it results in a very chicken-y tasting chicken. Not that that’s a bad thing, but there aren’t a whole lot of other flavor notes. And She Who Must Be Obeyed wanted something with a little more oomph. So I suggested Coq au Vin, that venerable old standby consisting of chicken braised in red wine. It’s got onions, carrots, shallots, and mushrooms to help create a whole symphony of Good Tastes...just what the Missus ordered.

The larder was short by one key ingredient, though: We lacked mushrooms. So we took a spin over to the local Kroger, the Publix where we normally shop being closed for the Easter holiday.

I guess the Kroger folks aren’t “shomer Easter.”

Anyone who does most of his or her food shopping in one particular store will always feel a little disoriented when in a different one. And adding to my sense of disorientation was the Kroger penchant for Trying to Make Shopping Entertaining and/or Educational.

In the dairy section, for example, there was a device that simulated the sound of cows mooing. And over by the eggs, you could hear the clucking of chickens. Was this Kroger’s attempt to tell us how wholesome their dairy products were? That the eggs were “Really Clucking Fresh,” straight from the chicken’s ass? Or were they trying to tell the less intellectually capable of their customers that “the milk comes from the animal that sounds like this, and the eggs come from the animal that sounds like that” – as opposed to the huge factory complex that produces Rice Krispies?

I began to get worried. When we got to the meat department, were we going to be treated to the sounds of cattle being whacked on the head with sledgehammers? Squealing pigs, bleeding out while hanging upside-down from a hook on a conveyor belt?

Naw. It was actually a little disappointing.

But, having scored our mushrooms (and a bunch of other comestibles), we headed home, where, at this very moment, the Coq au Vin is simmering merrily upon Darth Stover’s largest burner.

And it’ll be Clucking Fresh. I’ll even provide the sound effects.

Update: Here’s the finished product.

Coq au Vin

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