I know that buying an already roasted chicken at your grocery or big box store is a convenience, and many times, it is a very inexpensive convenience to boot, but beware! Cheap convenience is not all it is cracked up to be. In my opinion, you are not getting your money’s worth, especially since, with very little effort, you can roast the chicken yourself and, if you follow my advice, recoup any extra money you spend doing it. Over the next few blogs I am going to try my darndest to get you, the world at large, to roast a chicken- I want you to see, to smell, to taste & savor what you have been missing by letting the grocery store roast it for you.
The first reason to roast your own chicken is that you can and most definitely, you should buy a better quality chicken than the grocery store uses for roasting. Here’s a sobering thought –have you noticed that the body shape of our young female population is changing? Speculation is that this is due, in no small part, to the hormones in the chicken, beef and dairy our children are eating. A friend who works for a major Bra manufacturer says that when a young girl comes in to be fitted for a "D" cup bra at the age of 12, the saying among her co-workers is "She eats a lot of chicken!" The hormones used in these animals in order to make them mature faster, produce more eggs or milk, etc… seem to be having a similar effect on the developing young people eating them, girls especially. (One 1998 study entitled Survey of hormonal levels in meat and poultry sold in Alexandria, Egypt appearing in Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal concluded "Data on residue levels obtained from these results clearly indicate that anabolic agents in beef and chicken entail a special risk to public health" and suggested that cooking chicken by "boiling without skin is recommended to reduce the consumer’s intake of hormonal residues". Read the study for yourself http://www.emro.who.int/Publications/Emhj/0402/06.htm). It is not necessary to take the study’s advice if you purchase organic chicken. The already roasted chickens you have been buying at the market are not organic, they are not even free-range, and they are certainly not antibiotic or hormone free & they are cheap for this reason.
Second, many of the seasonings used in the grocery store bird are less than healthy. The birds are brined, injected with flavor enhancers, massive amounts salt, m.s.g. (monosodium glutamate), and who knows what else, trying to make a tasteless, over processed, overcooked product palatable. The flavor of a high quality organic, free-range chicken needs no enhancement! You are in control of the amount of salt and eliminate all the nasty chemicals,
Third, you get to smell the chicken as it roasts! Please, do not discount this reason. The fragrance is comfort itself. The aroma of a whole chicken as it roasts in your home is an important part of appetite and the meal. Food prepared outside the home removes this important part of the whole experience. Homes should smell of good wholesome food, eliciting healthy appetites & enveloping home comforts. I cannot stress to you enough how fast food and eating-out has diminished this very important part of home life.
Have I convinced you? I look forward to your comments.
In the next blog, I will give you the shopping list and basic recipe with variations. Then in the blogs following I will be giving recipes and strategies for using up every bit of the goodness a roast chicken has to offer – things like homemade chicken stock from the bones and dishes from the leftover meat and stock -soups, enchiladas, pizza, chicken salad sandwiches, and more. I hope that this will change your kitchen life…