Writing 101 – Day #12 No Bones About It

‘When you have finished boning, you’ll be faced with what looks like a hopelessly confused and floppy mass that in no way resembles a chicken. Don’t panic.’

That’s easy for her to say!

Tomorrow evening I will be having some work friends over to celebrate the completion of my house renovations. It should be no surprise to regular readers of this blog that I will be cooking a selection of recipes from Marcella Hazan’s ‘The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.’

You would think I would feel somewhat invincible after the recent efforts of painting walls, doors and ceilings and hemming curtains. But I feel more than a little intimidated as I anticipate boning (or deboning – a google search did not help here) a whole chicken.

Marcella’s instructions begin with a detailed diagram of the skeleton of a chicken. She then assures me that ‘It’s great fun to bring to the table – its chicken shape less angular, more voluptuous, but intact…’

Sounds like fun! Right?

But then she tells me that patience is involved. A knife is involved. Not tearing the skin is involved (she mentions this at least four times). The snapping of hip joints and severing of tendons is involved.

The ‘floppy mass’ remaining is then to be stuffed with a beef and parmesan stuffing, sewn up the backbone and then pan-roasted.

I read, too late in the day, that ‘The entire boning operation may be completed a day before stuffing the chicken.’

I did make the dessert today to refrigerate overnight as instructed. She assured me that it would take 30 seconds to make. And it did. So perhaps I can believe her when she says that I ‘will find nothing baffling about boning a chicken.’

Tomorrow I shall buy two chickens. One that I will attempt to bone/debone. One as a ‘backup chicken’ should I throw the whole project (though not the chicken) to the wind.

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