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Surviving Without a Stove

March 13, 2017

Thank you all for the suggestions of what I might do in order to eat while the Fussy family awaited the delivery of our new stove. The call from Sears came yesterday, and I fully expect to be back to cooking tonight.

The ideas were all fantastic. And it’s really kind of amazing that I never thought of using the slow cooker on its own. Typically, I use it in conjunction with the stove. But often it’s just a tool to bring hot food to potlucks and have it stay warm and toasty.

Ultimately, none of the ideas really panned out.

There’s a good reason for that, which probably deserves further scrutiny.  Habit and routine are very strong forces. And when you have to approach new tasks, as simple as it may be, these forces can work against you in strange and unexpected ways.

Let’s take Friday night for an example.

Friday, as you know by now is the beginning of shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. And almost every Friday night, my family eats pretty much the same meal. It’s roast chicken, a loaf of challah with butter, and some green vegetable. The adults drink wine. The kids get juice. We light candles. It’s nice.**

So, like most Fridays I went to a local grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken and a loaf of challah. Except because we weren’t going to have an oven in which to reheat the chicken, I saved this errand for the 11th hour. By then, the only challah available was frozen, and none of the chickens looked all that appealing.

Which meant I had to go to Plan B. Fried chicken and biscuits. Oh lordy. There goes the diet.

Anyhow, I had to decide between KFC or Popeye’s. Plan B needed to be fast, so fast food was the answer. And I pinned my hopes on Popeye’s largely based on some of the reviews my Yelp friends had left about the two local franchises.

If you haven’t been in a Popeye’s in over ten years, it’s hard to make heads or tails of the menu. Especially since now the menus are on TV screens and they keep on flipping from one thing to another.

I had a family to feed. They had meal deals. So I got one.

What I really should have done was calculate exactly how many pieces of chicken we would eat, and just bought those. Mrs. Fussy typically eats a quarter dark, I’ve been eating a breasts with the skin removed, and the fussy little kids typically split one breast with the skin removed between them.

That’s four pieces of chicken. Maybe rounding up, I could have gotten six. But instead I ordered ten.

Of course the rest of the family ended up eating exactly the same quantity of chicken as always. Me, I abhor waste, and understand that fried chicken isn’t going to be nearly as good on the second day. That meant I ended up eating far too many pieces of this delicious, hot, salty, greasy bounty. But I did skip out on my biscuit. You know, for the sake of my diet. Those carbs can be a killer.

I regret nothing. It turns out fried chicken goes great with Côtes du Rhône.

Saturday, Young Master Fussy had a bar mitzvah to attend in Clifton Park, and I got to try a couple of slices from a place that had been recommended as remarkable for mall pizza. And that’s a good way to describe Villa Pizza, but after trying the place, it’s not going to make my slice rotation. To be fair, the bar is quite high to get into the rotation.

Saturday night, I was lucky enough to be invited over for home cooked pho by Chopsticks Optional, which was by far the best meal of the weekend.

And Sunday I slept in super duper late. It’s amazing how you don’t feel the time change at all when you let the kids zone out on YouTube videos in their room while you sleep into the afternoon. It felt great to catch up on some much needed rest.

Mrs. Fussy made the little ones some microwaved bean and cheese burritos for dinner. I heated up some leftover tomato sauce, spread it on Heidelberg toast, and showered it in freshly grated parm-reg. It’s like an open faced nothing-parm sandwich.

Sure, to some that might be a depressing thing to eat. I actually found it comforting. It’s nothing I would make or serve to guests. And maybe I shouldn’t be admitting to eating such a thing. But, so it goes.

I’m glad I didn’t have to go out and try to grill in the freezing temperatures. I’m glad I didn’t make a giant slow cooker’s worth of some experiment only to be left with a large quantity of leftovers nobody liked. I’m glad that now I’ve gained some knowledge about how to navigate the fast food fried chicken menu for future emergencies. I’m glad we got through this spell without acquiring more stuff.

Mostly, I’m glad that the new stove is coming later today. Please join me in crossing some fingers, in the hopes that nothing gets delayed. I hear there’s going to be some snow on Tuesday, and I can only imagine that would further complicate appliance delivery.

Try not to fret about the impending snow. Tomorrow I’ll be back with some things to put on your calendar that may restore your will to live.


**What’s not so nice was that this weekend, there were further bomb threats called into JCCs. It’s not relevant to today’s post, and these days the issue is getting a bit more media attention than in weeks past, but I still feel responsible to call out these cowardly threats and acts of intimidation against my community.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2017 10:02 am

    Cold next-day fried chicken is probably my favorite kind of fried chicken…

  2. March 13, 2017 10:06 am

    Second on the cold fried chicken. Particularly if you douse it in Crystal or Texas-style pepper sauce (pickled peppers in vinegar).

  3. March 13, 2017 12:09 pm

    I read to the end just so I could comment that cold fried chicken is the absolutely the best way to eat fried chicken. Preferably for breakfast while still standing in front of the fridge. While I was living in Albany, Chicken Joes was my friend chicken of choice.

  4. KingOfBeacon permalink
    March 13, 2017 12:56 pm

    All these comments are correct. Leftover cold fried chicken is probably the 2nd greatest cold leftover to eat after pizza.

    Also of note: I had no idea Sears was still around.

  5. March 13, 2017 3:43 pm

    Who finds tomato sauce on toast depressing to eat? I want to straighten these fools out. Thick cut toasted Italian bread dipped into a bowl of homemade sauce is one of life’s little pleasures.

    What’s depressing is that you don’t find it worthy of serving to company.

    • enough already! permalink
      March 15, 2017 5:52 pm

      I’ve forgotten how delicious some fresh Italian bread dipped and eaten, one layer at a time, until just the crust remains is, cheese not necessary. Thanks for the memory!

  6. Cara permalink
    March 14, 2017 11:49 am

    http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/refried-popeyes-chicken-extra-crispy-fried-chicken.html

    I realize this would not have been helpful without a stove, but next time don’t fear the leftovers. Double-fried Popeyes is the best Popeyes.

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