Thursday, February 10, 2011

"It's a process": Making peace with raw meat

I still struggle with preparing raw meat.

It's slippery. It's cold. It has this inability to spring back when touched that reminds me I am handling part of a dead body.

But sometimes I bite the bullet and buy it. And because I'm not in the habit of feeding edible food to the worms in the council composting programme, that means resolving to cook it.

I learnt how little protein we can survive on when I began to cook meat.

Yesterday was the appointed day of courage. I cut boneless chicken thigh fillets into strips and worked into them a mixture of softened butter, lime juice and coarsely chopped garlic.

Left the chicken and coating to get acquainted while I pulsed the ends of my current loaf of bread (rye, no seeds) in my blender until they were coarse crumbs, adding 1.5 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan towards the end.

Tossed the chicken in the crumbs softly, so that the garlic wouldn't fall off.

Baked at 175 degrees for half an hour.

Newly whisked from the oven, it was garlicky fragrant, with the homely smell of toasted rye bread. I popped one, marvelled yet again that I can cook, and wondered why people eat popcorn chicken purchased from chicken fast food megachains.

(I know why. It's because they don't like handling dead bodies, either. Or trimming raw fat, or any of the other things I don't enjoy about the whole process. But without the process, you don't get these. These.)

The next day, today, I had them straight from the fridge, slivered, in a big bowl of rocket leaves and diced egg tomato. The cashews were a last-minute extravagance, but they brought their own side of fun to the party.

There are other things at present that need to be faced, with courage or not at all. I'm hoping the chicken has fortified me, at least a little.

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