Simple, Perfect Roast Chicken

by Laura on March 3, 2012

Cheesemaker Jodi Ohlsen Reed asked me about myself when I first met her.  I was nervous, writing about a local gem in Minnesota, my first such piece, and I didn’t expect to talk about myself.  I think I said something about it all being a blur, which is not what I meant to say, or at least not how I meant to say it.  It was a brief response, a move-along-and-this-is-not-about-me response.  But from the look on her face, I gathered something of what she inferred.  It has been a blur in some ways, a happy blur of yeast doughs and storybooks and bike rides for kakigori, walks to parks, and steam-filled kitchens and tables full of good food.  The details over time are a blur, but I think that’s largely because I was so intent on paying attention in every moment. I remember moments and patterns, how my Honey Girl used to say, “Mama, Yisten” when she wanted to tell me something, or how she thought that you whispered into someone’s nose and would cup her little hands around mine to tell me a secret, how she waited for the sound of my Dear Husband’s footsteps on the staircase every night with sweet excitement.  Or how my Sweet Boy would eat a bowl of oatmeal at his little table and say, “Thank you, Mama” when he finished every morning in a still-sleepy voice, how he never ordered the same flavor of gelato twice when we lived in Tokyo —sakura, matcha, anko, ichigo—, and how he danced, freely and without inhibition, whenever and wherever he heard music when he was little.  I remember the feeling of holding them in footy pajamas, limp and heavy and ready for sleep, the way our Sweet Boy always patted our backs with his small hands.  And the way they both looked so intently at a storybook being read aloud.  They were tired years, many of them, years of interrupted sleep and happy-drowsy hours reading and baking and playing.  Don’t let them slip by without drinking up every moment.

My Sweet Boy and Honey Girl and Dear Husband have been missing that since I started a business two and a half years ago, and then started this blog.  And their recent comments and requests, that I be present in the way I used to be when I wasn’t working, sweet expressions of missing our time together, brought to mind a food writer and cookbook author I met twenty-some years ago.  She was fiercely successful, but not present in her life in all the ways that seemed to matter most to me.  She seemed so distracted, about everything besides her work, and her children seemed virtually invisible to her, when they weren’t a frustrating interruption.  It was a disturbing sight, all of the yelling and hubbub and unnecessary chaos.  She seemed so totally consumed by her paid work, something which, in my mind, wasn’t the most important work of her life.  So I post less frequently now.   The project of the blog can wait.  Life is happening, the everyday, the most important bits, what will be, in retrospect, my happy blur.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 kris jacobson March 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm

What a lovely post, Laura.

2 Laura March 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Thank you, Kris. You are always so kind.

3 Kaitlin March 6, 2012 at 11:20 pm

I’m glad you recognize that life is happening around you :) It’s so good to spend time with the family and yours sounds super sweet!

Thanks for all the wonderful tips about roasting. I learned a bunch! I felt so bad the last time I did it because I had no idea what I was doing. Now I’ve got something to refer to. Hooray!

4 Mrs Ergül March 7, 2012 at 1:59 am

My roast chicken pretty much consists of the same ingredients as yours with the addition of lemon zest mixed with the salt & pepper and stuffing half a lemon into the cavity when roasting for moist chicken breasts. I’m going to be making them this weekend for my family and hope to get some photos of it for the blog.

5 Laura March 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

Kaitlin, Thank you!

6 Laura March 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

Lim Pei Lin, I occasionally do that, too, and my sister always does. Now you have me craving a lemon-scented roast chicken. Your yogurt-roast chicken looks delicious.

7 Judy Budreau March 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

I love the image of the chicken taking a little nap on her side! Your writing and your recipes, Laura, make cooking and eating into very human activities. Fills my spirit. Thank you.

8 Laura March 7, 2012 at 11:18 am

Judy, I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Thank you. xx

9 Sandra August 16, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Hi Laura:

I have to tell you I made the mistake of buying one of those already roasted chickens because I just didn’t feel like cooking. Well, you get what you pay for because it was so salty I could hardly eat it. Never again! I’m going to try your recipe this weekend. I’ll use potatoes, carrots and onions for the bed and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. This way, I can have my sides and protein cook at the same time and it’s like a one pot meal:) Thanks again for the recipe.

10 Laura August 17, 2012 at 9:18 am

Sandra, Happy chicken roasting. I hope you’ll love it.

11 Sandra August 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Yep Laura, best roasted chicken I ever made and ate:) I turned it as your recipe instructed.. During the last bit of cooking, I sauteed some bok choy (to go with my other veggies) and it was perfection. I will never buy one of those store cooked roasted chickens again. Thanks again for the recipe.

12 Laura August 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Sandra, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. I’m so glad the recipe produced delicious results for you. Thank you for letting me know.

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