Most fast food chains volumize their meat with chicken nipples, and why not—they’re inexpensive, abundant, and packed with complex layers of flavor. This spongy, cloud-like tissue creates a receptive environment within the meat for a sauce or marinade to fully penetrate its inner fibers. The road to flavor country is paved with chicken nipples.
Which brings us to a long-neglected aspect of this blog: tips for rich, savory, home-style cooking (the art of which I have learned from producing industrial volumes of soup as a peon in a corporate kitchen). I thought I’d make something featuring the chicken nipple as the star of the dish, as it has been hidden in dark, meaty folds for far too long.
And now, without further ado, the recipe reveal:
Minnesota Wild Rice Chicken Nipple Soup
-Chicken nipples (A note on the nipples: fresh is obviously best. As for acquisition, the chicken from whom you are gathering the nipples should be dead. Some countries (cough, Bolivia, cough) still adhere to nipple harvest traditions which are antiquated and, quite frankly, barbarian. We won’t go into that. In my home kitchen, I use humane methods. So, the most simple way is the lop the chicken’s head off (I like to use a machete and pretend I’m a roided-out Barry Bonds). Once its got no head, that pinche pollo is gonna wanna take off runnin’, and you’re gonna wanna stop that from happenin’. Grab it, and hold it close. Now grasp the headless chicken with one hand, and use the other to drive your knife downwards over the fowl’s anterior pectoralis. Do this quickly, before all the blood spurts out of the giant hole on top of the bird, for you want a little, but not too much engorgement.)
-Stock (After the harvest, you’re going to have an entire chicken (sans nipples) left over. Don’t throw it out. Stick it in a large pot with some carrots and onions, a few herbs, cover with water, and simmer for a few hours.)
It doesn’t really matter what else you put in the soup. You’ve already got chicken nipples, which will enhance anything they come in contact with. And the best thing about teats is their versatility—they’re uniquely delicious whether baked, boiled, grilled, or sautéed.
This soup is perfect for an early spring evening such as this.
And also, you’re welcome.
Sometimes, when you haven’t bought groceries for a long period of time, you are forced to make do with what you have on hand in your pantry. I’ve created many exotic dishes this way—there was one time I only had four pounds of fresh mangoes, a cup of brown sugar, two sticks of celery, a pile of cranberries, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, two yellow onions, a few ounces of apple cider vinegar, a half cup of minced ginger, three garlic cloves, a pinch of salt, and some love. From this, I was somehow able to craft a batch of what I named Third World Cranberry Mango Chutney, for that is how I imagine suffering people cook. They make what they can, and then create folk music on garbage can lids. After that I pan-seared a twelve ounce steak in some butter and poured the chutney over it. I took one bite and threw everything away, because I realized that I do not like chutney, and the taste had ruined the steak.
So, the other day, I found myself with literally nothing but some very old grape jelly, and half a can of black beans. I put those beans in a pan, then added the jelly and let it simmer for five minutes.
I named the dish Jelly Beans. They did not taste good.
The pages of culinary history are stained with the lipid-laden blood of creators, the greasy footprints of thieves, and the spatterings of rich, creamy sauces. The recipes that leap out of the past from those pages, especially the early ones, were made with food prepared by unwashed hands, saturated in sweat, earwax, and bedazzled with odd meat choices like squirrel, marmot, bear genitalia, to be consumed by whoever would take it. And people were gross enough to take anything back then.
As food evolved over time, every new generation of innovators stood on the shoulders of the one preceding it. This is where we get our ‘regional’ favorites, which then breed and morph into sundry ‘fusion’ dishes, and so on. Then along comes a guy who would throw the rulebook out the window, if he had ever bothered to pick it up, a culinary ronin roaming the robust, zesty landscape, a guy who ingested a large amount of caffeine after donating plasma who feels like too manythoughts arehittinghisbrain and can’t getthem outfastenough so he’s startingtoramble and forgetwhat wherethiswholethingwasheaded.
The original recipe escapes me now. I feel sweaty. I’ll try next week, go buy a Hamburger Helper and follow the instructions on the box for the time being. I need a nap.
Here’s something I concocted. It’s got honey. It’s got oats. It’s got peanut butter. You can call it honey peanut butter oat food meal, oats with honey and peanut butter snack, or H.O.P.B. (pronounced ‘hop’—the ‘B’ is silent, like in womb, or plumber).
Now, the ingredient list goes like this: oats, honey, and peanut butter. Also, love, care, friendship. And last, but not least, dead skin cells. This last is easiest, as it’s nearly impossible not to get them in there.
Grab a bowl. Insert the oats, honey, and peanut butter into it. The dead skin cells won’t be far behind. As to the love, care, and friendship, you go about getting those into the mix however you see fit.
Microwave for around 20 seconds. The chemical reaction betwixt the peanut butter and friendship and heat will form a sort of soft, paste-like substance that will make everything else mix together.
It’s ready to eat now. You earned it, champ.
“Short of examining the entire history of each individual participating, short of anatomizing each soul, what hope has anyone of understanding a Situation?” —Thomas Pynchon, from the novel V.
So, what is the situation here? We have chicken. We have waffles. From what I’ve heard, the combination is wildly popular in the deep American South. Then we have a potato chip company, trying to fuse the two into a flat, crunchy, wafer-like substance.
We’ll start at the beginning—what do we know about chickens? They taste good, especially when cooked and slathered in any variety of sauces—teriyaki, barbecue, sweet & sour, the list goes on—but what business do they have canoodling with potato chips?
And the waffle—a doughy member of the cake family, commonly stamped with a gridded pattern of craters that house syrup, butter, and any other condiment desired by the diner.
Then comes Lay’s, a potato chip manufacturer with origins in the American state of Ohio. Of what interest is a soul food classic to a corporate giant? All signs point to something vile, sinister, and altogether dastardly that will probably in one way or another screw over immigrants or the lower class.
Prelude to the taste test: I properly cleansed my palate—three saltines, washed down with a glass of water. Room temperature, lingering between 69 and 70 degrees, Farenheit. Optimal for ingestion, and its successor, digestion. Comfortable seat. Napkins. Hands washed. Heart at resting rate. Other vital signs—appeared to be normal.
Presentation: The chips had a very light tannish-orange color to them. They didn’t differ in basic appearance from any other potato-based crisp product I have ever consumed. I briefly thought, in a flight of whimsy, that it would be pleasantly delightful if Lay’s had invested in the research and development necessary to produce a waffle-like grid pattern on each individual chip. Then my mind came back to earth, and I chuckled at the notion of how ridiculous that would be.
Initial impression: First chip, of an ovoid shape, equal in area to four quarters, American. There was a noticeable transfer of oil onto my fingers. The crunch, nothing special. If Lay’s thinks they’re gonna come into my house with a groovy new product, believing that I’m not hip to chip culture, and then drop a lackluster crack-a-lack on me, well, then, they’ve got another thing coming. I’m not saying it was a bad crunch. It could have been better. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder, was this a sly allusion to the delicate, yet noticeable crust of an expertly-crafted waffle, or the first bite of a fried-chicken drumstick, where there is a palpable crunch, but not in an overpowering manner? If so, well-played. If not, then I give them a hearty “eh.”
Taste: I suppose I could have just said this at the beginning—the chips just taste like syrup.
This recipe can be eaten solo. It can be drizzled on an apple, significant other, or animal. It adds robust flavor to vegetables. Here’s how you make peanut butter sauce:
Drop a spoonful of peanut butter into a hot pan. It will melt and become peanut butter sauce.
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”
– Carl Jung
Ah yes, the meaning of life. Who knows what it is, but I can tell you this with near certainty — a hefty portion of the equation involves food, for without it we would perish. And if there is food to be ingested, it may as well taste good. So, make a dash to the store and pick up:
-Beans (buyer’s choice, I use black or pinto)
-Cheese (buyer’s choice)
Soften the sweet potatoes by boil. Put them in a bowl and add in beans and garlic powder. Mash it all together. Spread it over a plate and cover with cheese. Microwave until the cheese melts. Eat it. I used generic Triscuits to dip with. I also doused it with chicken wing sauce that I got at the Dollar Tree.
Here’s the Blong (Blog Song) of the day. Widespread Panic with Ain’t Life Grand.