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The Problem with Mary's Chicken

You have to rinse it, it's a dead animal carcass. That makes no sense (but a lot of our received wisdom doesn't). But remember Julia Child; dry the meat! Use paper towels. Apply salt for a few hours (like Zuni Cafe). Or look for the recipe for Peking Duck. There's all sorts of ways to get crisp skins.

And I've cooked plenty of chickens without rinsing them. I'm not a worry wort (although the latest Consumer Reports article about bacteria on chickens was an eye opener!)

The Problem with Mary's Chicken

Some of Marys (and I think Fulton Farms, also) are pre-wrapped, it depends on where you buy them. I can't remember with any certainty, so I won't give names, but I seem to remember finding pre-wrapped birds from both at decent stores and no problems with either.

The Problem with Mary's Chicken

I've bought fresh chicken, killed that morning, at the Ferry Building farmers market and was told by the farmer not to eat it for at least a day or it would be too tough. I bought two and cooked one that day, any way, and he was right.

I've also bought other chickens (Whole Foods) organic and air chilled, and not shrink wrapped and they have had an odor about them when I took off the butcher paper after a few hours. I rinsed them, which you're supposed to do anyway, and the smell pretty much went away. I would note that the skin was not slimey, a give away when the meat is truly going bad.

I used to walk to work through Chinatown, at around 5:45a and they'd be unloading crates of live chickens. All the birds looked perfectly healthy with none of the defects seen in photos of caged birds. As the birds were brought in through the front door, one could hear a band saw out the back, so they weren't long in San Francisco as live birds...

Roast Goose

I agree with the oft repeated remarks about the fat---there's lots of it, and it is delicious. However, I've cooked 10-12 pound birds and what there isn't is a lot of meat. Just as you will be shocked at how much fat a goose produces, you will be shocked at how little meat you get. I just cooked a 12 pounder and barely fed 5 polite eaters. A 9 pound bird isn't going to feed six, somebody isn't doing their math.

If you're fixing goose for the first time, I would heartily suggest either you plan another meat (like ham or turkey, or lamb) or invite only one other couple, just to get the idea of what you'll be dealing with in terms of meat. The breasts are nearly as long as that of a medium turkey, but only half as thick, if that, and the legs and thighs---given the size of the bird---aren't nearly as meaty as a chicken leg would be, given its small size.

Turkey meat is delicious, it's not gamey, does not have an "odd" flavor, and is as substantial--for what there is--as beef. It's a very meaty bird, but there isn't a lot of meat on it. There is a lot of fat, four to six cups.

Dec 27, 2011
gryphonsroost in Recipes

Drinks from San Francisco's Sleazy Past

San Francisco's past is colorful, entertaining, and odd, but hardly sleazy. The Barbary Coast, on the other hand, is said to have been colorful but even Sleazy is an understatement. Kidnappings ("Shanghai-ing") were common place and at one point there was a murder a day. Diseased women from the lower dives were left in vermin infested chambers off an alley near Chinatown to die. Yes, the shameful, cruel, greed centered debauchery of the Barbary Coast is a sleazy aspect of our history, and it's rather colorful the way folks chose not to do anything about it until the Feds finally shut it down, but I wouldn't say that equate San Francisco history with sleaze, even Las Vegas doesn't deserve that reputation.

Dec 27, 2011
gryphonsroost in Features