Every time I roast a chicken, I think of my mom. Every time single time.
Friday night, I cooked dinner. Roasted chicken with rosemary and thyme, green beans, and a salad. It was just me, and Fern.
We are at the lake for the weekend, and it was just the two of us. I cut open the package and pulled the chicken out of the plastic wrapping, placing it in the sink and removing the neck and the giblets from inside the bird. I rinsed the bird and carefully patted it dry. My mom taught me that a crispy skin is because it’s skin is dry and light coated with olive oil. I placed the neck and giblets in a small saucepan, covered them with water, and placed them on the stove. Exactly like my mom taught me. I turned the burner to low and allowed the pan to slowly cook the contents – this part of the bird was for Fern.
I patted the chicken’s skin dry a final time before I placed it in a cast iron skillet lightly coating it with olive oil and then sprinkling it with black pepper and dried thyme and rosemary on the back, the breast, and legs of the bird pressing spices onto the skin. Then I placed it in the oven at 425˚F and waited.
Within a few minutes the aroma of a roasting chicken filled the cottage.
While it cooked, I fed Fern sprinkling some of the broth from her part of the bird and its some meat gleaned from the neck. Mom taught me that a whole chicken could feed a family and a dog. Every time I cook a whole chicken, I feed the dogs, too.
It took almost an hour in the oven and while it roasted, I busied myself with other chores and then prepared the salad and the green beans. I pulled the roasted bird out of the oven, checked the temperature, and then let it rest a few moments before carving off a thigh and a drumstick and plating it with green beans and a generous portion of the salad.
While I ate, I thought of mom and all she taught me to do and to be.
She never met Fern, though I suspect she knows all about Fern by now. They share a common thread – yellow, it was my mom’s favorite color.
Today, Sunday, 4/25 would be her 83rd birthday and I miss her, we all miss her. My brothers I talked yesterday via Facetime and while it’s been a while since we have been together, we talk to each other often. Despite the physical distance between me and my two brothers we remain very close – it’s one of mom’s legacies to the three of us and our families.
It’s been a little more than two years since her death and a day doesn’t go past when I don’t think about her, have a question for her, or think about some thing she taught me to do.
She taught me more than how to cook a chicken or make giblets and broth for the dogs. She taught me about life and persistence and resilience and love and so much more.
It’s getting close to noon and I have a long drive ahead of me, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day – and do a little bit of cleaning before I leave. It’s gonna be a great day. Making the days COUNT, celebrating my mom’s birthday remembering all that she taught me to do and who to be.
What is one thing your mother taught you to do that when you are doing it always makes you think of her?