Skip to content

A Burned Bittman Chicken

February 10, 2011

Many people love Mark Bittman recipes; I do not stand in solidarity.

What if I said that How to Cook Everything were the Walmart of cookbooks—seemingly utilitarian, and you can always find a version of what you need, but that the goods do not stand up?

Mark Bittman, lest my name be as much of a household commodity in your borough as yours is in mine,  I’d be reluctant to know what you think of my hodgepodge of enthusiastic yet sloppy recipes. While you are composing your thoughts, this is what I think of your Chinese-style roast chicken that I made the other day.

The recipe says to heat the oven to 500 and put a chicken into it. The SUBSEQUENT step is to combine soy sauce with oil, honey, garlic, ginger, and scallion.

I reluctantly put an unseasoned, unoiled chicken into a 500 degree oven, breast-side down, as instructed. 20 minutes later I took it out to turn it, and brush with the aforementioned combo of flavorants and lubricants. Of course, the entire skin of the breast—ONE OF THE BEST PARTS, not to mention a protector of the breast meat—tore right off, right before I applied the honey and garlic, which, predictably, turned black and bitter in the 500 degrees. Eventually I turned down to 325 as instructed, marveled at the bubbling and burning mass in my oven, basted basted basted, and then served my husband and myself a sticky, blackened, bitter, and yet underdone bird.

(An apparently amended online version suggests a 450 degree oven; putting the oil on the bird BEFORE putting it into the oven; and taking it out to put on the honey soy etc.)

I heartily enjoy your recent pontificating in your Opinionater blogs on eating less meat and the idiocy of government funding the creation of certain unwholesome “foods” while all the while trying to move away from them, especially this one. In fact, I had been meaning to simply post that one as a great thing to read.

The chicken is small, small potatoes in comparison to a rousing call for better policy, I admit. But in my opinionater, this recipe needed an editor before it was published, rather than after.

Next time the Keller for sure.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. frankly manny permalink
    February 10, 2011 3:06 pm

    What’s interesting is that I’m reading a series of books by Lawrence Block right now about a man named Keller who is a hit man. The book is called Hit Man. Not that I am worried that you are subtly designing some kind of “hit” on Mark Bittman, only that I will be sending him a warning email later today, just in case…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: