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Rules for Anchorites

Letters from Proxima Thule

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Cluck, Cluck
The time has come. This far, no farther. I have to take a stand.

I have finished with boneless, skinless chicken breasts forever.

They are tasteless, dry, shapeless chunks of futuristic vat-grown protein, and someone talked me into them in college as cheap meat that would help me lose weight (as opposed to the whole roasting chickens I was two-fisting down my gullet before) and then they were the frugal housewife's friend, I guess, and possibly the single reason I don't really like vague "stir fry" as a dinner choice, because I might then have to eat a boneless, skinless breast that didn't fully experience the soy sauce tsunami, and therefore tastes a lot like a kindergarten eraser.

Chicken is delicious. Chopping up a roaster or buying the bone-in whole pieces is not only often (not always) cheaper, because the chains have caught on and BSCBs are actually quite pricey now, but retains Actual Poultry Flavor, even if you remove the skin before eating. Chicken should taste like chicken, not so bland that everything tastes like it. (And yes, that is the fault of the 1950s perfect chicken movements, steadily breeding out any flavor from chicken or eggs. Retro-futurism for the blech.) And then I can use the bones for stock, and have fantastic soup the next day. Real food, with rich taste and parts that can be rendered into other meals. BSCBs could be Ionian cyborg lava-penguin meat for all it has any sensory resemblance to the animal it came from.

I made curry with them the other night, and I was picking the pieces out. Some of you may be vegetarian, but I love meat and my brain needs protein and something has gone wrong if I am trying to eat around it.

One day I will have to eat protein grown from mold on the side of an industrial food plant. I accept this as my destiny--but I don't need to hasten the day by eating these nearly triangular bits of alleged chicken.


maybe I've been brainwashed by the chicken industry, but I think boneless, skinless chicken breasts are like tofu: they taste like whatever you cook them with. We marinate them in various ways and grill them, and they taste great. If you're eating them plain, yeah, not worth eating.

But when you eat other kinds/cuts of chicken, they of course also taste like strong flavors you cook them with, but are also tender and have their own flavor. That wins for me every time.

I work at the Kosher COunter at the local grocery store for two days of the week (I call it my Get out of the HOuse so I don't dress up my cats and make them dance on youtube job) and he sells the highly fattening chicken cutlets which are cooked in the skin and shmaltz (shnitzel) and the healthier skinless grilled ones.

I find that even though the cutlets are tastier than the grilled ones on the first day, the second day after they've been cooked, the grilled ones retain their largely bland flavor but the shnitzels taste like wax.

Don't know why that is. I try to stay away from meat for the most part.

Dad calls them "boneless, skinlees, tasteless chicken breasts." Still uses them (and seasons them well), though.

"I get all my nutrition/ From eating protein biscuits/ Recommended by The System," that Oingo Boingo line ("Perfect System" in case you want to know), just popped into my head. At least that future hasn't happened yet. (I remember being glad after I'd seen the film version of 2010 and realizing the line "It's got a lot of stuff in it that's bad for you" meant that we'd still have real food -- even bad-for-you food! -- in the future.)

Here's to feeling happier about breasts.

Please. There is a way to save them. This is not a way you will hear about often. I can't eat chicken if it is even remotely dry - but I can when I cook it this way.

- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Take the boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put them into a bowl.
- Slather the chicken breasts with olive oil. Rub them all over. Think sensuality into them. Love on them.
- Then, pour on whatever spices you want. I put on S&P, parsley, thyme and marjoram. You could coat them with curry powder. Five-spice powder. Whatever.
- Slather the spices with your hands all over the chicken in its oil. Love on them some more. Tell them they are succulent, moist, juicy.
- You can pour the olive oil and spices in at the same time, if you want, and do it all together.
- Put the chicken onto a cookie sheet and put the cookie sheet into the oven.
- Cook for about fifteen minutes. Doesn't take long. Check after ten.

There. Tender, moist, juicy, tasty boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cannot be done on the stove.

It works!

You can then take it out, chop it up and put it into a chicken salad, into a soup or stirfry at the very last minute - Whatever you do, just don't cook it any longer. [Cooking it longer turns it into chicken jerky.]

That might be the best recipe I have read in a very long time...

Alleged Chicken is my new Meatloaf tribute band.

I would do anything for love, but I won't eat that?

Mmm, yes. My go-to lazy dinner since it got cool enough to have the oven on has been

1) sear bone-in skin-on chicken breasts in a cast iron pan
2) add some cloves of garlic and some tomatoes or some vegetable cut up into small bits
3) put in the oven at 350 until done.

One dish and totally delicious, and the chicken tastes actual. It's great to bite into a roasted tomato that tastes faintly of the chicken it was cooked with. It's like the anti-BSCB.

I've found a low-effort alternative is to buy a whole rotisserie chicken and then dismantle it-- remove the skin (boil with bones to make stock if you must, but I LOATHE the skin and would prefer it got far away from what I will eat) and tear the meat off the bones in tiny pieces. It makes a good quick and easy-ish meat base for soups, which only needs to be stirred in and heated at the end. It's tender and generally not very bad for you (though obviously it depends what you end up mixing it with.) A note: ONLY for soups. I don't know why, but rotisserie chicken doesn't translate as well to any other type of meal. But chicken soups and chilis become very hearty with a whole rotisserie chicken or two in them. My mum and I make one every time I'm home from school and then I take some back with me and freeze it.

This is certainly a good move--though it's a bit tough to get them back to the island without the oil at the base soaking everything in the bag. That's obviously a specifically us problem. But I still find from scratch is a million times yummier.

I don't eat skin, either, but while cooking it helps seal in juices.

I find the really, really cheap boneless skinless breasts taste way better than the name-brand ones. Like, the Tyson ones have zero flavor, but the Meijer ones I will simply boil and chomp away on. I don't know why it works out that way.

Welll... If you get the big bag of Frozen boneless chicken "Tenders" for the love of baby kittens don't defrost them before you put them in your pan of whatever sauce! Set everything to a simmer, drop the frozen bits in there and keep it on low heat until everything is cooked through. The result: Moist chicken bits that retain some semblance of chickeny flavor.

I'm inherently rather lazy and I almost never remember to defrost, but the few times I did remember to put frozen Skinless Chicken pectorals in the fridge with a marinade, The chicken was always not as good as when I bypassed the defrost.

That being said, I love whole roast birdies. More correctly I love playing with the leftovers from whole roast birdies (Awesome enchilada fillings! :D)

You know what works really well? If you buy the Jumbo Family Pack of boneless, skinless, tasteless breasts because they're on sale, you put 'em in Ziploc baggies AND THEN ADD MARINADE. Squeeze the air out and freeze 'em, labeled. When it's time to cook, defrost in the fridge and toss the whole thing in your cooking vessel of choice. The marinade really penetrates in the freezer.

Thighs. They taste like something, can be found boneless pretty readily, have just enough fat to remain juicy, no matter most of the things you do to them, and are about half the price.

OMIGOD the best soups use thighs! So awesome!

I prefer to trim those well because I HATE finding tendons though.

I am the biggest fan ever of chicken leg quarters - if you buy them IQF in bulk, they cost something like a buck a pound, or less, and you can braise them or roast them or pan-fry them or...yeah. And they taste so good!

We're cooking with boneless breasts tonight because Das Boy likes doing green curry with them, but I really like chicken thighs.

And a whole roasted chicken? Cheap, and you get roast chicken, and then you get to eat for a week or more, depending on what you do, AND you get stock afterwards! I love it.

I need protein, too. I could go vegetarian - have before - but it actually takes me much more work and time to make sure I get enough protein then. And I need more protein than the average bear, apparently. I have to work on this and plan better. There should be more tofu and roasting chickens in my life.

Wow, I have to admit I'm a little astonished. I don't know if it's a regional thing (internationally speaking) but I've rarely come across a bad chicken breast in Australia. Chicken breasts are kind of expensive here but they tend to taste just as good as other cuts. We opt for the thighs because they're cheaper, and require a little more trimming, but for the most part they're great. And why all the hate for the skin? *drooool* I lurve chicken skin, can't get enough of it. The only thing I don't really like about chicken breasts is the actual muscle fibre. Thighs have a lot of little sections of muscle all fused together, and work really well in soups and curries and such because they fall apart easily, but the breast tends to be a little drier, I think, because of the lump of muscle that it largely consists of.

Aaaaaand I never thought I could write quite so much on chicken. But there you go. ^^

I like chicken skin when it's roasted up or fried, even though it's SUPER BAD for me, but not when it's just limp and yellow.

I dunno, I've been eating them for years and have always found them incredibly dry. But then we HEART our over processed foods in America.

Yeah, turkey and chicken I generally refer to as walking tofu. I really hate tofu (despite being vegetarian off and on for pretty much my entire adult life).

My grandfather was a hunter. He got a wild turkey one Thanksgiving, and his girlfriend cooked it up for us. She wasn't a good cook, but the turkey was still a revelation. I had no idea that turkey had a flavor before that. I always thought of it as "something pretty to cook the stuffing in."

Even with the bone in, commercial chicken is still not my favorite, but better bone-in than bone-out.

Yeah, there's no comparison, even with the fresh turkeys available during the holidays and the frozen ones you get at other times.

No need to apologize to me for not being a vegetarian, I'm an omnivore myself (just look at my dentition, that says it all).

I've always hated B,S,CB's myself, but I ate them exclusively for years because my dear hubby wanted us to eat healthy. Now that he's no longer with me, I've reverted to my faves: bone-in, skin-on, thighs and legs.

B,S,CB's (to me) are like eating cardboard. It baffles me how anybody can like them, but I'm glad they do, since it would be a shame to waste half the bird.

Roast chicken is good, though. I wish my dinner would bake faster here...

Word to all this! Fat and bones are flavor.