Monday, February 21, 2011

Chicken Giblets

Why is chicken packaged with the giblets stuffed inside the cavity? Is it some cruel Colonel Sander’s joke or a great marketing strategy for KFC?  Inevitably, I bring home the chicken from the grocery store and proceed to place it in the freezer without having first removed the innards.  When it comes time to cook the chicken, I remove it from the freezer and place it in the microwave for defrosting.  This is followed by a discovery of the still frozen giblets stubbornly lodged inside the bird – a phenomenon that is most assuredly faced by homemakers on a daily basis.  
What do cooks do when faced with the task of dislodging the giblets?  The possibilities are endless.  Some of us run the bird under water indefinitely – hoping beyond hope that the gizzards will eventually float out.  Unfortunately, running water only seems to add to the problem by causing the paper covering the giblets to disintegrate.  Now, when one pulls on the paper, it just pulls apart leaving the giblets firmly ensconced in the bird.  Perhaps it is the disintegrating paper that pushes us over the edge; one can only guess at the true reason that causes seemingly rational people to resort to desperate measures.  Whatever the reason, knives, forks, spoons, and claw hammers are often weapons of choice for dislodging the frozen giblets.  It becomes a battle of wills:  will the chicken win or will the cook win.  I have wondered, from time to time, if this is the chicken’s way of having the last laugh.  Anyway, I have been known to bend at least three forks and several knives during the battle of the giblets – usually to no avail.   
The scenario goes something like this:  
  1. After running the chicken under water for at least 5 minutes, I pull on the paper wrapper housing the giblets.
  2. I rip the paper wrapping from the giblets.
  3. I grab the nearest utensil i.e.: carving knife, fork, wooden spoon, et al and insert the utensil into the cavity of the chicken.
  4. I grasp the chicken firmly and pull on the inserted utensil using a downward thrust.
  5. I retrieve the chicken from the floor.
  6. I wash the chicken.
  7. I straighten out the utensil; if this is not possible, I grab another utensil and/or tool such as claw hammer or screw driver.
  8. I repeat steps three through seven until either the giblets are released or the chicken falls apart.
  9. I usually have a child on hand to call 911 if I have inadvertently stabbed myself during steps one through seven.  If I do not require immediate medical attention I skip step 10.
  10. Before leaving for the emergency room, I instruct said child to call dad and tell him to pick up some KFC.
  11. If no emergency room treatment is necessary, I choose one of the following three options:
    1. Put remaining chicken parts in the oven and proceed to making giblet gravy - which is mandatory for all family members to use since you slaved over making it! (Ignore protests from children about the “stuff” floating in the gravy.)
    2. If chicken is not salvageable, go to KFC and/or the nearest grocery store that sells fried chicken, place the chicken on a pan, put it in the oven and pretend you cooked it.  
    3. Call Dominos.