But first, a story.
The other weekend we were out drinking and somehow got to talking about Time-Out in Chapel Hill, this strange all-night country-style cafeteria eatery, one that had all manner of fried chicken, pulled pork, overcooked vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course, macaroni and cheese. My fellow tarheels should know it well.
Around 2am when the bars closed people would literally stream in from all directions (and it wasn’t that big a place) to find something to sop up all that alcohol. It always struck me that they had a police officer as doorman, keeping the peace, and regulating capacity. I wonder if that was something they paid for, or if that was a specific rotating position at the police department? I wonder if it was like a choice assignment, or just something the new guy got stuck with? I digress.
Prior to this conversation, we’d had some wine at Amelie. Not a lot mind you, but enough to make it feel like it was a lot. On the way home (walking, yay city) we stopped at our 24hr grocery store, I think to get some bread, and I decided to check out the state of their chicken selection at 1 in the morning.
They had nothing fried, but they did have several roasted chickens that looked really good. I want to believe it cost like no money. Like less than $10 I think. Which reminds me of something else. We got groceries at Trader Joes recently and right at the entrance they had this lush display of potted basil plants for $2.99! Meanwhile our basil (planted from the seed, thank you very much) doesn’t look very different from a month ago. Clearly the economics of growing (or even cooking) our own food are not in our favor.
Where was I? Oh yes, we brought the chicken home, and munched on the drumsticks and wings and some of the tasty little parts on the underside. After that I picked all the meat off to save for pâtes au poulet, essentially leftover chicken and its juices, mixed with pasta. French comfort food. “Peasant food,” said Stephanie.
The other night I warmed up the chicken, pulling apart everything except the breasts, and adding the now congealed juices to the pan. Along with a healthy quantity of olive oil, my contribution to the dish were peas and corn. Mix with pasta, sprinkle with sea salt, and serve.