Trashy Bar Food OR Why Garlic Powder is a Necessity

It was the day after Thanksgiving.  I was sick, out of my mind on decongestants and at work anyway.  I was also severely lacking in leftovers.

This year, my Thanksgiving repast was surprisingly austere.  We only had one guest, and I was under the weather, so my meal barely required two hands.  I made pumpkin soup, toasted pumpkin seeds, a big salad, cranberry-chocolate ice cream, and some last-minute biscuits.  We also bought a smoked turkey breast from our favorite butcher (who is a genius). 

It was all delicious (well, the soup wasn’t quite what I’d hoped), but I’d planned it to be a single meal, not a Lucullan feast that would produce fridge-busting overflow.  The salad was gone.  The soup was gone.  The pumpkin seeds and biscuits were gone.  There were a few slices of turkey left, but barely enough for a sandwich.  Ordinarily, this would make me happy–I become nigh-upon panicked at the idea of food, not ear-marked for any meal, just SITTING in the fridge.  That way lies Rot, Mold and Waste.  (Trust me, I know my household). 

This time was different, though.  I was so sick that while cooking was not beyond my abilities, I just didn’t want to do it.  I wasn’t prostrate, but on cold medicine my brain was muffled in cotton batting, and off cold medicine (to drive, etc), I was coughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe.  I needed something brain-dead simple for dinner–and something comforting wouldn’t hurt either. 

Thank heavens for Teacherman. 

When I got home I discovered that he had been shopping and was ready to do everything for me.  There was a package of jointed chicken wings and a huge bag of parsnips on the counter, and he was hard at work at the mandoline and deep-frier.

While he sliced and fried the parsnips to shattering crispness, I bestirred myself, determined to help in some way.   I tossed the chicken wings in an easy spice rub–equal amounts of a random grab of things from the spice cabinet.  Cumin, (one of my ur-spices), marjoram (Teacherman’s favorite herb), smoked paprika (which is one of the best things ever invented), salt (of course), and garlic powder. 

I almost never use garlic powder.  I admit that I use jarred minced garlic on a daily basis (I hear you draw back in horror), but I am lazy and hate peeling the cloves.  When I’m making something garlic-heavy, I do use “real” from-the-head garlic.  Garlic powder, though, lives in the back of my spice cupboard and only comes out for one purpose–dry spice rubs.  Real garlic is wonderful in a marinade, but in a rub, when everything else is in tiny, dried particles, powder is the way to go.  (Garlic SALT, though, is anathema.  Do not mention it again).

In any case, I rubbed the wings with the spices, then arranged them on an olive-oiled baking sheet.  I roasted them at 425 for 20 minutes, then flipped them over and left them in for another 20.  Even my addled brain could handle it. 

Dinner–the sweet and salty parsnip chips and the smokey, spicy, blisteringly hot chicken wings–was perfect.  The fat on the wings had melted away in the oven, leaving behind tender meat that pulled away from the bone at the slightlest pressure.  The skin was crispy, but not greasy, almost like the parsnip chips.  The parsnips emerged from the frier as caramelized shards of the essence of parsnip, so well-fried that they left no residue of oil on our fingers.

(Moreover, all of the flavors were assertive enough to register well even on my cold-suppressed taste-buds, while not being too strong for Teacherman). 

Wings and chips?  For dinner?  Yes, those are things that most people buy in bars, or ready-made at the grocery store.  I make no claims that our meal was cuisine.  It was, however, satisfying; the next day, I started to get better.

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Published in: on November 26, 2007 at 12:28 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I hope you’re feeling better.

  2. I felt a great deal better yesterday, but I seem to be regressing.


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