I’ve been sick — bronchitis, asthma (asthmatic bronchitis?) and the attendant fatigue, plus a bad cold, just really sick and for a long time. I’m finally starting to feel better. But not well enough to be caught up. The beginning-of-semester time is brutal enough anyway (I always think of the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan) but it’s been killing me this time around. Not whining, just saying. It’s why I haven’t been around much.
1 1/2 oz. dark rum
1 1/2 oz. applejack (apple brandy)
1 oz. pale dry sherry (something decent, not bottom-shelf wino bait)
1/2 oz. amaretto
1/4 oz or so (a splash, easy does it) light overproof rum
a twist of lemon (all the way round a lemon with a peeler, taking off the rind but not the pith)
Serve over ice.
Tonight, I cook chicken. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Chicken, the most boring meat ever. What do you say when something tastes like a meaty nothing-in-particular? You say it tastes like chicken. Oh, but only chicken tastes like chicken if you’re doing it right. A truly chickeny chicken, roasted . . . a treat for the gods. And if you live in Bloomington you are lucky enough to buy chickens from Schacht farms. The Corry family, which runs Schacht farms, raises chickens in the old-fashioned running-around-and-eating-bugs way, which makes the meat taste . . . indescribable. You know how Viktor Shklovsky said that the purpose of art is to make the stone story? That means that art is supposed to make the everyday things, the stone at the side of the road that you drive every day to go to work, for example, suddenly seem unfamiliar, strange, radiating a mysterious energy that cannot be assimilated to perceptual habit. The drivetime stone is never stony; you never even see it. The drivetime chicken is never chickeny. But the purpose of art — or ethical, thoughtful animal husbandry — it to make you see it, taste it, feel it. And just art, real art, defamiliarizes what we see every day and makes it available to our senses again, so too does good cooking make us feel the basic elemental reality, the there-ness, of food. And there is no good cooking without good ingredients.