The first time I boiled a whole chicken about 10 years ago, I was overwhelmed by how much it made my apartment smell like my mom’s kitchen. I wasn’t trying to recreate his Samgyetang, but I accidentally did.
Fortified with ginseng and plum, this Korean chicken soup is a garlic lover’s dream. I remember how the sound of cloves, immersed in the pot, echoed the syllables of the dish’s name: Sam. Gee. Sore.
But it was the smell of my golden broth that moved me. When I breathed in its aroma, the past passed through me like an electric current, and I burst into tears. Suffering from nostalgia (and freezing cold), I suddenly found myself in two places at once: my kitchenette in New York City and Atlanta, where I was born and raised in a brick house with a peach tree in the front yard. and my childhood bedroom decorated with Michelle Branch posters.
There are many definitions of the sensation that touched my body that day, but perhaps the most famous is what French novelist Marcel Proust called an involuntary memory, and what we now sometimes refer to as “Proustian memory.” This is a reference to a particular scene in his seven-volume novel “In Search of Lost Time”, in which the narrator is suddenly seized with childhood memories after being bitten by a tea-soaked lemon Madeleine.
“As soon as the hot liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate, a tremor passed through me and I stopped what was happening to me,” writes Proust. “Where could this come from me, this almighty bliss?”
When those untold memories happen in my life, I try to live in that feeling.
What excites me in the kitchen, and what provides me the most pleasure, is when I accidentally tap into an old, involuntary memory that I had forgotten in the depths of my mind. , like the simple smell of chicken boiling in water.
This type of cooking I would like to do more in the new year. If I resolve to find those little moments of “all-powerful joy” in and out of the kitchen, at my desk, and in life, perhaps they are more likely to reveal themselves to me. Maybe I’ll taste more Proustian Madeleine, and maybe I’ll cry more. (After all, crying has many health benefits.)
Fortunately, there are many places to find a good Madeleine steeped in tea, figuratively speaking. And when you need warmth and support the most, chicken soup is never a bad place to start.
Amber Spree, assistant professor of African and African American studies and politics at Brandeis University, remembers her grandmother’s guessing at tinola, a Filipino soup often cooked with chicken pieces, fresh ginger, and greens.
When she was growing up, 32-year-old Spree called this dish “ginger chicken soup,” and it came to mind when she first moved to New York City. He called his parents to ask how the soup was made, picked up the ingredients in a corner and bubbled a pot of it in their small apartment on Amsterdam Avenue.
“It was almost an instinct to make this thing that felt familiar,” she said, and now, “when I crave comfort and that feeling of home, I know I can make it through this soup.” I can get it.”
Nearly a decade later, cherishing a pot of tinola still haunts Spree’s past in its present. “This recipe was from my dad and my grandmother and probably her mom before that,” she said.
Recently, her father cooked up his own version of the soup, and this time, it was her new husband, David Labugain, who trembled after eating it. “It was emotional for him because it tasted like his parents’ soup,” Spree said. Simple ingredients like chicken and ginger hold great power when they come together to form a bridge between people who love each other. ,
Food is one of the best ways to take our families with us wherever we go. Save for a flight home, is there anything more transportation than an inheritance?
It’s never lost on me how fortunate it is to cook for a living. But there are also days when I linger in the kitchen, getting completely sick of cooking. (It’s cleanliness that destroys me the most.) And especially this past year, when it seemed like the world was falling apart again, I sometimes have a hard time finding joy in any of it. .
Comfort cooking can be tricky if you have to.
In Brooklyn, when Chef Kia Damon comes home hungry and tired from a long day of work, she keeps things simple in the kitchen. Tapping into memories of his childhood meals prepared by his mother, who cooked a lot of pasta, 28-year-old Damon now turns to his own comfort foods like carbonara.
“I feel like when I’m super-drenched and when nothing’s really churning my mind, I can still pull out the pasta and feel like I’m really gone, ” He said.
As with any craft—and I consider cooking a craft, especially home cooking—it’s important to recharge while you can. Thankfully, for those of us who cook for work, there are a few key recipes to help us remember the unbridled joy of cooking.
For Damon, this duck is flavored with orange peel, star anise, and juniper berries in two to three days. If she could only cook one more thing she would cook that.
“I’ll eat that, and then wait for the spirit to take me away,” she said.
My last meal-cooking on earth is roasting chicken. I love getting myself a little bird on the weekends, because that’s all the time I have in the world. In this case, the process provides pleasure. I can salt and sugar the chicken on Saturday, leaving it to dry in the fridge overnight; On Sunday, my food is ready for the oven.
Cooking is also long: Roasting chicken has many stages in life – I can cook it once and eat it for several days. Because as much as I love cooking, I love food.
First, it’s dinner, often gorgeous chicken breast, with absolutely juicy, crispy skin. Better yet, if you’re like my mom and me, your favorite parts of chicken are a mystery: The two “oysters” on the bottom of the bird, tucked behind the thighs, are tender and slick with schmaltz. One for each of us.
After this first meal, I like to separate the rest of the meat from the bones to fashion in all sorts of ripasts throughout the week. Then—and this may be my favorite part—I turn the carcass into stock I have left in the pantry: bay leaves, peppercorns, an onion with its peel still on (which my mom taught me to borrow. Gives color and flavor to soups and stews).
Instant Pot makes quick work of this. In just over an hour, it will compress my past, present, and future into a golden stock that I can drink the morning before my coffee. I use the same Ravenclaw mug for both coffee and stock, washing it between uses.
Roast chicken may be my therapy, but chicken soup is my panacea, my Madeleine steeped in tea.
roasted chicken stock
by Eric Kim
Yield: 1 1/2 to 2 quarts
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- 1 leftover carcass from a roast chicken, meat picked up and saved for another use
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 head of garlic
- 8 small or 4 large dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 tbsp whole black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
To make this stock in the Instant Pot: Put the chicken carcass in a 3- or 6-quart Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Cut onion into eighths, and cut garlic head in half crosswise to expose cloves; Dump the allium into the pot over the chicken. Crush bay leaves and add them with salt, pepper and turmeric. Add enough cold water to reach maximum line in 3-quart or to cover bones in 6-quart (5 to 6 cups). Shake gently and cover with a lid. Pressure cook on high temperature for 1 hour and let the pressure release naturally.
To make this stock on the stove: Follow Step 1, but place all ingredients, including water, in a large heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven or stock pot, and stir gently. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook until the stock is deep golden, the chicken bones are falling apart at the joints when you try to pick them up and the vegetables are wilted, about 3 hours.
After cooking with either method, drain the contents of the pot with a colander placed over a large bowl; Squeeze the bones to get all the liquid out. Taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt as desired. Pour the stock into large mugs for dipping, or use as an ingredient in your cooking. Alternatively, you can allow the strained stock to cool slightly before transferring it to a quart container and storing it in the refrigerator.
This chicken stock will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Serve the individual portion warm in a coffee mug for breakfast in the morning, or use as a base for soups, stews and oatmeal throughout the week.
Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Cabbage
by Eric Kim
Yield: 4 servings
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour, 20 minutes, plus 1 hour of brining
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp fennel
- 1 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
- 1 whole (3- to 4-pound) chicken
- 2 1/2 pounds green cabbage (about 1 large head), cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
In a small dish, whisk together 1 1/2 Tbsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1 Tbsp Morton’s coarse kosher salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp fennel, and brown sugar.
Place the chicken on a large plate or sheet pan and pat the surface of the chicken as dry as possible with paper towels. Remove any giblets from the cavity and reserve for a second time. Sprinkle one-third of the spice mixture into the cavity of the chicken, focusing especially on the underside of the breasts. Use your hands to really rub the spices into the cavity. Now, sprinkle the rest of the spice mixture over the surface of the chicken, including the bottom, but especially the top, where the breasts are, and again, really rub it into the skin. If roasting immediately, let the chicken sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Alternatively, you can leave the chicken uncovered, in dry brine in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours; Just be sure to let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before roasting.
While the chicken is coming to room temperature, place a rack on the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss cabbage, onion, 4 Tbsp olive oil and remaining 1 tsp fennel in a large sheet pan. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and toss until evenly combined. Press the cabbage and onion to the sides of the pan to make room for the chicken, and place the chicken in the middle of the pan, breast side up; The chicken should have direct contact with the skillet and should not sit on top of any vegetables. Massage the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over the chicken and give it a final generous sprinkling of salt and pepper (the longer the chicken has been marinated, the lighter on the spice is going).
Roast the chicken, rotating the pan halfway, until the skin is golden brown and crisp, and the thigh meat reaches 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (it will continue to cook while it rests), 40 to 55 minutes. Or 13 minutes per pound. Do not cut it to check if the juice is coming out clean. Cabbage and onions should be soft and slightly burnt in spots.
Let the chicken rest on the griddle for at least 15 minutes before transferring to a cutting board and carving into portions. Don’t forget to turn the carcass over and eat two “oysters” on the bottom of the chicken where the back of the thighs meets the backbone. This is arguably the best part of the roast chicken experience and the chef’s treat.
Add vinegar to cabbage and onion, toss until evenly distributed and taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt and pepper. Serve with chicken.