Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Do You Think Thursdays: Raw Chicken

Happy Thursday, everyone! I am going to be starting a new weekly post called What Do You Think Thursdays. This was inspired by all the wonderful advice from the BlogHer session, The Write Brain: Essential Blog Content Development Workshop. After you are done reading (and leaving a comment, if you so desire), be sure to click on the survey. It will bring you to the Skinny Scoop site so you can participate.

This week’s What Do You Think Thursday is all about one of my personal, deep rooted fears: handling raw chicken. *shudders*

I have not cooked real chicken breasts in a long, long time. Instead I use those little packets of precooked grilled chicken strips. Pasta with chicken? Just open up the bag, flavor with some olive oil and garlic powder, and dump over pasta. Chicken tacos? Repeat previous steps but flavor with chili powder and cumin. *Hangs head in shame*

The fear started out when I would open up prepackaged chicken that had been thawing out. I would struggle with opening the bag, and before I knew it, I was assaulted with raw chicken juice. Disgusting!

The fear escalated when I had The Babes. When Marie was born, I felt consumed with protecting her from things that felt like they were in my control. Being doused in raw chicken juice seemed to be direct conflict of interest from this new-found mama bear protection mode. So I got everything ready for dinner and disinfected the kitchen before she woke up from her nap.

When Thomas was born, things got a little tricky. I could not find the time or the energy to cook chicken, yet, my family still needed to eat. A friend introduced me to these bags of precooked grilled chicken, and I was saved. I kept on telling myself that these convenient little lifesavers were only a temporary fix until Thomas’s nap schedule wasn’t so close to dinner. But somehow, they have become a permanent fixture in my cooking (or non-cooking) repertoire

I started a goal early his year to cook a whole chicken by the December of 2011. I started to make progress with flash frozen chicken breasts, but that is as far as I got. Next thing I knew, I found myself right back where I started with sacks of convenient precooked chicken.

I didn’t think much about it until I looked at a calendar and realized December is only four months away! I am not one to give up on a goal, so I went to the store and bought ten pounds of fresh chicken breasts.

I touched them.

I rinsed them.

I patted them dry.

I did not trim them since they butcher offered. Or did I ask him with a desperate look in my eye? I don’t remember since my heart was racing with fear and anticipation. Did I mention I shopped for these salmonella carriers with the Babes? I think that I should get some extra points for that one, right?

I cooked them *while The Babes were up and active*, and to my surprise and delight, the chicken did not end up like cardboard.

And I only disinfected the sink two times, instead of a gagillion in a daze of fear.

I think this is progress, don’t you?

I think I may be ready for skin-on, bone-in chicken!

I imagine some of you are shaking your heads because you just can’t see what the big deal is about touching raw chicken. I did some deep thinking about this because it does seem to be bigger than raw chicken. I think it comes from any OCD ritual: control. I feel like there is so much out there that can harm my kids, that I have a tendency to hold on tight to things that I feel are in my control. And keeping a salmonella-free kitchen is one thing I can control. But like any fear-based behavior, it really was controlling me. And I don’t like that feeling at all.

I remember how liberating it was to overcome my fear of driving into a big city (which I could not find the link). I can only imagine how incredible it will be when I finally roast the perfect whole chicken.

What do you think about raw chicken? What fears do you feel that are controlling you?


Elizabeth-Flourish in Progress said...

I don't care if we go hungry (okay, I do care, but not enough apparently), I will NOT touch raw chicken. I don't even like to see it in the fridge. If my husband wants to get it, I will clear out a little space on the shelf, put two or three layers of paper towels down, then wipe down the shelf with a clorox wipe after he cooks the chicken.

Yeah, I'm crazy. I know.

Sparkling said...

I used to always wash the chicken before I cooked it. And then one day, I was like, why? I don't eat it raw. I cook it quite thoroughly. No water is going to wash off anything more than 350 degrees will cook off, so why go through that extra step. Plus, that requires touching the faucet with chicken juice hands and I try not to do that. But, I am not worried about a little raw meat in my day, as long as I can clean up after it. Plus, if we only knew what really went on in the processing and shipping of the foods we eat, we'd never bother washing anything again because it's all so very cross contaminated. I am sure it is much healthier to cook your own chicken because those chicken strips that are already cooked sure haven't been prepared all healthy like, no matter what they tell you!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of raw chicken, but I will cook it. I will even cut it up — raw — and trim fat if necessary. But I have to be in control of the handling of it, or I will freak out. I am extremely attentive to what has touched what, sometimes following the chain two or three steps away from the syrupy chicken juice, and I wash everything afterward. Not ten times, but once really, really well. This includes the faucets and the outside of the bottle of soap which I had to touch to wash my hands. If I am at my dad's house and he's cooking chicken, it can sometimes almost give me panic attacks. He just rinses his hands quickly with water, and if the chicken juice has gotten on the countertop, he just wipes it up... sometimes with a dry napkin. Eek!