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On Giving Things Another Try March 17, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food.
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Did you ever see a child (or an adult, for that matter) who would just refuse to eat an entire class of foods – like milk or vegetables – for no other reason than . . . well, I don’t know why, actually?

Oh, I can’t get little Johnny to even try a vegetable.  He just won’t touch anything green.  Why, I even have to hide carrots in his spaghettios.

PhotobucketI’ve been fortunate with Surly Boy in a lot of ways.  Not so fortunate in others, maybe, but that’s the nature of boys in particular, and kids in general, I think.  But, other than the occasional heinousness attitude problem, he was always a good kid – he was weaned early, walked on time, learned to read before he started school . . . and he learned early on to eat pretty much anything he was served.

And I don’t think he ever met a vegetable he didn’t like.  Given that he literally cut his teeth on fresh broccoli and carrots, I guess maybe that’s to be expected.

PhotobucketWell, what would you do if you were working in the garden, and your little guy crawled over and started gnawing on a rock?  The same thing I did, I’ll bet – pull up a carrot, or break off a stem of broccoli, or pick a green bean or two, rinse it off, and give it to him to chew on!

However, boys being boys and all, there was one thing that he would not eat.

He suddenly decided, when he was maybe 10, that he would not touch chicken and biscuits.  He absolutely hated it.

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Even if I tried to disguise it as chicken and DUMPLINGS – a TOTALLY different thing – it was a no-go.

I don’t know why he disliked it so – I mean, there was nothing obnoxious or weird in it – and he was just fine with all the component parts – chicken, sauce, veggies, biscuits – but he loathed the dish in any form.

So I didn’t make it.  I haven’t made chicken & biscuits in, literally, years – now if he’d been the kind of kid who didn’t like something, say, because it had onions in it, or eeeww celery, well, that would be a different story.  But I have things I dislike for no good reason, and I certainly wouldn’t like it if someone tried to force me to eat them, would I?

PhotobucketThe Boy has been away from home for, well, a couple of years now, and we’ve finally gotten around to making a pot of the stuff.  I will admit – in the past 10+ years, I’ve learned a bit about knife skills, food science, technique – this time, I did not make the canned chicken broth, poached chicken breasts, thickened with corn starch sauce that, while not at all bad, was admittedly not wonderful, either.

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This – THIS – was possibly the BEST chicken & biscuits I have ever made.

Seriously.

And it was so simple too – too simple for an actual written recipe.  We started with a couple of carrots and a couple of ribs of celery.  Those get sliced – on the bias if you want to be fancy – and dumped in a small-ish saucepan.  Add a pint of chicken stock (or a can of chicken broth – it’s up to you) and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the veggies are softened.

PhotobucketMeanwhile (there’s always a meanwhile, isn’t there?), in a larger pan, saute a couple of diced onions in about 3/4 stick of butter – figure one Tablespoon of butter for each cup of chicken stock you’re going to use.  I used 3 pints, which is 6 cups.

Once the onions are softened, add 6 (kind of heaping) Tablespoons of flour, and create a roux.

Remember how I told you that I’ve learned some technique?

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Once your onion-butter-flour mixture is lightly browned (they call it “blonde” in real kitchens), gradually start whisking in the rest of your chicken stock – one pint at a time, along with the seasoning of your choice (black pepper and fresh thyme, sage and rosemary make a nice touch).

Then add the celery-carrots-other pint of stock.

And let it all simmer until it thickens slightly – to the consistency of gravy, I guess.  Add a couple of cups of cooked chicken (maybe from a roasted bird, maybe a rotisserie chicken – whatever you have on hand, I guess) and you are good to go.

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We like the biscuit recipe in Joy of Cooking – your basic biscuits, handled lightly, are a thing of beauty.

But I’ll let you in on a secret.  Back in the old days, when I was trying to get the kid to eat chicken and biscuits, I’ve been known to buy a tube of Pillsbury.

That works too.

You know, the Boy actually might not hate this. . . 

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Comments

1. sjbraun - March 17, 2010

I love that Surly Boy (I feel bad calling him that!) took to veggies at a young age! What an awesome gift (although I’m sure you did have a lot to do with it). And yes – I think he surely would like those chicken and biscuits … yummm ….!

Aw, don’t worry about calling him that – he knows that’s his nickname here, and truly, he does still have his surly moments!

And I honestly don’t know if I just got lucky with the whole veggie thing, or what. It was funny, though, to see itty-bitty Surly Boy (around 3 or 4, I guess) at the farmers’ markets in upstate NY asking the farmers if they had any artichokes. . . 😆

2. anne - March 17, 2010

Oh, this is one of my major pet peeves with a friend of ours. Now, like you, I understand if you just don’t like something. I, personally, will not eat a sweet potato. Nope, nuh-uh. But our friend won’t eat Chinese food or anything that she labels Chinese. She hates anything with any heat at all, and apparently many years ago she had a run in with a hot pepper in some Chinese food. Therefore, to this day, she doesn’t like Chinese. Even if it isn’t Chinese. That is Chinese, therefore I don’t like it. Once at a restaurant her daughter ordered some stir fried veggies as a side dish. Her reaction was one of disgust, “eww, you’re eating stir fry??” I asked her if she would eat them if they called them sauteed, and sure she would. But stir fry is Chinese!!

OMG, eeeeyyyyyyeeee rrrroooollllllllllll. This woman is 66 years old. Oh, wait, that might be one too many 6’s.

Exactly! One time, we brought a couple of bottles of raspberry lambic to my parents’ house, and, although he had liked it just fine, once he found out that lambic is, technically, beer, he wouldn’t touch it again. You see, my father dislikes “beer,” so, whether he actually likes it or not, he hates it. 🙄


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