Because when life gives you lemons, stuff it under chicken skin (with some butter and thyme) and you'll have the last laugh!
Lemon Thyme Chicken, Ben Franklin, Our Nation’s 1st Celebrity, Copland, Eilish, Rosalía & Sinatra
Like many parents, this past year has been fraught with silliness, exasperation, frustration, and hilarity. Our bedtime routine is extensive, filled with boring details, but since our daughter is basically a mini version of us, she’s extremely detail oriented and calls us out when we miss something or try to vary it. Like most dads, her father rough houses with her and since she’s a tough, thrill seeker (kind of scary for me), a few nights ago, they got carried away. One minute, we were sweetly talking about unicorns, the next, she tackled her dad and accidentally elbowed me in my right eye. I’m pretty adapt at dealing with pain (physical and psychological) but I have to say, this one took the cookie. Seeing stars, the area around my right eye socket feeling tender, I thought I would throw up. My husband started yelling at my daughter, she held her own then started to freak out, trying to comprehend what was happening while giving me her toys to “make me feel better.” I finally had to separate the two. I immediately banished my husband to his studio (while trying to figure out how to console him later), pacified my daughter in my soothing mom voice (we all know how that sounds), while simultaneously fielding dings on my watch, trying to keep her on her bedtime schedule. I switched things up, gratefully (and miraculously) got them both to apologize to each other and finally got her to bed, happy, calm, and content.
Like many of us, I am still processing what happened these last few weeks. I kind of feel like we’re all feeling like I did… with the headache and nausea from an elbow jab in the eye. The evening after the elbow - eye incident, instead of screaming at the two of them, (which I really wanted to do but knew would only escalate the situation), I’m still amazed I had the inner strength to deescalate and resolve the situation into something resembling reconciliatory happiness. That evening, after my daughter went to bed, I truly wanted to yell at my husband for his lack of control, but instead, calmly started preparing breakfast for the next day, trying to unwind. (I think if I was drunk I might have started WWIII.) I’m just grateful I didn’t end up with a black eye…
This is a longwinded way of saying, I optimistically think our innate courage and self restraint can be controlled. Unfortunately, for those who believe it cannot, I also equally understand why outside pressures can cause it to crumble. It’s interesting to see how people react when relationships fracture. Do you cause more harm to make the divide even larger? Do you force people to pick a side? Do you try to promote some sort of truce? (Just because I’m level headed doesn’t mean I don’t feel hurt.) I don’t expect our leaders to be perfect (because no one is), but I’d prefer to see our leadership on both sides realize that their actions can shepherd followers with a certain tendency to fall unto either side of a knife’s edge. For that reason alone, I hold political leaders to higher standards.
If a person leans towards hate speech towards a certain group, if they see a leader voicing hate, that temporary, societal restraint they once had, becomes untethered, emboldening hateful rhetoric and persecution. I also believe it works the other way. If leadership does not tolerate it, social norms will discourage it and keep it in check. Populism, to me, looks attractive at first, until you realize it’s the social outcrop of the average mean- ignoring and dismissing areas that may actually produce more creative results to a problem… and like gossip, easily manipulated by people who just want power or to feel righteous. Just because everyone likes or thinks something doesn’t mean it’s “good”, “right” or more importantly, that it’ll even work. Isn't that the basis of organized religion? The spread of good, of countercultural ideals and behavior for a better world? Are you sure what you’re being told is true or is it skewed by someone’s perspective? I don’t think mental, measured restraint is a weakness, but a sign of moral strength and courage (and I’m a fiscal conservative!)
So, in the spirit of laughing at the absurdity around us (no matter where on the spectrum you lay) here’s more fun facts about Benjamin Franklin, our nation’s first celebrity and lovable (somewhat perverted, but brilliant) Founding Father. Because, sometimes, when you don’t know how to react, laughter truly is the best medicine.
19 Bizarre Facts About Benjamin Franklin, A Genius, A Founding Father, And A Delightful Weirdo
And because, let’s face it, when we need a good laugh, what people do in order to get some love is pretty hilarious, no matter what your political affiliation. Thank you, Benjamin Franklin! I am truly speechless…
And yes, he was a musician. Benjamin Franklin invented the glass armonica in 1761. Too bad musicians were getting headaches playing it (possibly lead poisoning) and a little boy died after hearing it at a concert (omg!). Of all his inventions and discoveries, he was most proud and took pleasure in playing the glass armonica.
Franklin's Glass Armonica
Thanks for reading! I hope this made you laugh, maybe take a deep breath, and realize you’re not the only one scratching their head at the headaches around us. There’s only so much we can control and when you need a good laugh, just remember the ridiculous lengths people act in order to get some lovin’…including our own, amazing, Benjamin Franklin. Drop me a line if you want to discuss food, music, or "culture." I hope you have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa
Is this our nation’s anthem right now?
Billie Eilish, ROSALÍA - Lo Vas A Olvidar (Official Music Video)
Because Europe and most especially Germany, has been light years ahead of us on how hate cannot be eradicated, but controlled - like an infection and how we can inoculate ourselves from getting it in the first place.
Here is Alondra de la Parra, (yes, young female conductor) conducting the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in Copland’s quintessential American, “Appalachian Spring”.
Stage@Seven: Copland: Appalachian Spring – Alondra de la Parra
Here’s a demo of Benjamin Franklin’s glass armonica. Remember the wine glass scene with Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality?” Sounds like that!
Demo of Franklin's Glass Armonica.
Because buttery lemons under a crispy chicken is definitely the way to go…no matter what ails you.
Frank Sinatra- I've Got You Under My Skin
I've added a glass armonica track of Mozart and Pärt. Lol!
(from Lemon-Thyme Capon. I didn’t use a capon… just a normal chicken. I feel like it’s anachronistic to a Victorian novel.)
from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Roasting: Recipes and Techniques for Delicious Oven- Cooked Meals
1 chicken, 7-8 lbs. (3.5-4 kg), giblets and neck removed from cavity.
7 or 8 thin lemon slices
4-6 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (The original recipe called for 2 Tablespoons.)
7 large red potatoes (I added this because we don’t do gravy and potatoes make it a meal.)
1 small bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed (I added this too, since my daughter loves roasted asparagus.)
About 30 minutes before roasting, remove the capon from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F or (230 degree C). Oil a V-shaped roasting rack and place it in a roasting pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Remove and discard any pockets of fat from the cavity. Pat dry the chicken with paper towels.
With the chicken breast side up, and starting at the neck cavity, slip your fingers under the skin and gently separate the skin from the breast meat on both sides, being careful not to tear the skin.
(I changed the recipe here….) Carefully cut the room temperature butter into small pieces. Slide butter under the skin you just separated. Alternate adding the lemon slices and the thyme springs and butter.
Carefully slide 4 or 5 lemon slices and half of the thyme springs under the skin, spacing them evenly. Season chicken and the cavity with salt and pepper, and place the remaining lemon slices and thyme in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the back. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Quarter potatoes in roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken, breast side up on the rack.
Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Continue to roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh away from the bone registers 170-175 degrees F or (77-80 degrees C, 1-1 1/2 hours longer. About 30 minutes away from being done, separate and put in the asparagus spears with the roasting potatoes and slowly coat with the rendered chicken drippings.
Remove from the oven. Transfer chicken, potatoes, and asparagus to serving platter. Tent with aluminum foil for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading! I hope this made you laugh, think, and possibly decide to make something special for yourself. Have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa