Those of my readers who live in the Stuttgart area may already know that the weather was horrible yesterday. It rained all day. It was cold and nasty and neither Bill nor I were in the mood to go out. Bill resolved to stop by the “baby” Real (a German store kind of like Walmart) in Jettingen for some supplies. Since they didn’t have any whole chickens at the commissary, he looked for one at Real. He found one, brought it home, and cooked it…
I was really looking forward to last night’s dinner. I love roasted chicken. I especially love it when it’s moist, tender, and juicy. That’s the vision I had in my head last night as Bill roasted the chicken he found at the Real.
Finally, at about 7:30pm, he called me downstairs to dinner. I was hungry and definitely ready for a nice meal on such a miserable night. Bill had prepared wilted spinach and mashed potatoes and opened a nice bottle of locally produced red wine that we picked up in Tuebingen last week.
He goes to cut the bird and had surprising difficulty, even with our trusty Wusthof knives at the ready. At one point, he broke out the kitchen scissors to separate one of the legs the rest of the carcass, noting that the bird was pretty scrawny and tough. I started wondering what kind of chicken this was. I mean, I know Germans don’t use a lot of antibiotics and crap in their chickens like Americans do, but this was a most unusual specimen of fowl. It was like the bird had been in training for marathons her whole life.
We struggled to eat the rubbery chicken. I swear, in all my years, I don’t think I’ve ever run across such a tough bird, even when I lived in Armenia. Bill ended up throwing the rest of it away.
This morning, Bill looked at the label on the packaging and noticed that it said “Suppen Hänchen”, which I take to mean that it was supposed to be used to make a nice stew after having been boiled for hours. Now we know. I’m writing this post for others who might be similarly fooled. Soup chickens are for soup. Got it?
The weather is supposed to suck again today. I wish our house had a fireplace or a masonry heater. Last time we lived here, we lived in a house that had an awesome masonry heater that was perfect for days like today. The house we’re in now is relatively inexpensive, but has no romantic heating methods. I guess we’ll have to depend on oil and each other… and our two spoiled dogs who both begged for that chicken last night.
Part of the awesome masonry heater in our first German house. This house also had heated floors and a cistern that used rain water to flush the toilet. You could sit on the bench and toast your buns…
I don’t know if we’ll get out today or not. When the weather gets bad, I tend to want to stay in and hibernate. But if we have another gourmet meal cooked at our house today, it’ll for sure be something other than chicken.