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Yesterday I wanted to cook chicken for dinner; so I went back to The Prettiest Little Cookbook in California(TM), aka Purple Citrus & Sweet Perfume, and found a recipe that I was happy not so much to follow as to stroll along beside, as I do (in a sort of "well, I don't have any of that, so I'll do this instead; and put these things in the salad, rather than those; and do the potatoes my way, of course, not yours, Silvena..." and like that). But the recipe called for chicken breasts, and I have no truck with that, I bought a whole chicken; and detached what a retailer would call the crown, viz the breasts still on the ribcage, which left the legs-and-wings-and-back-and-parson's-nose all of another piece. Which I laid skin-side-up on a baking tray and put on a lower shelf of the oven with nothing but a grind of salt and pepper over it while I baked the crown above in mustard and sugar and orange juice, as per recipe, more or less.

And dinner was really nice, but what I am most pleased by is the trayful beneath, which came out looking flat and golden and crispy and delicious, and reminded me of something - which I have now tracked down, and it is the flattened dried salted ducks that Chinese groceries sell as discs, as per this photo (which I ganked from this website, which promotes a place called Cabramatta, which is in New South Wales, very close to a town called Chipping Norton, which is almost certainly entirely unlike the town called Chipping Norton very close to which I was educated, in so far as etc etc):


Which ducks I used to see in Newcastle, and somehow never quite bought, shame on me; but thinking about them did lead me to write a story long ago in the waybackwhen, "One For Every Year He's Away, She Said," which was published in a magazine that rose and died quite promptly, so that I never can actually remember what it was called; but I do have a copy, and I do mean to scan or rekey the story (of course I no longer have an electronic text, no: it was, what, fifteen years ago? Whatever format I wrote it in, under whatever system; whatever medium I stored it on: long gone or inaccessible. People, learn from me. Archive. Archive and organise and keep track. And make sure that you will still be able to read your archives. I have thoroughly labelled disks in accessible formats and I still can't read them, because they're WordStar or early WordPerfect and my current systems don't even remember hearing about those) and republish it. Along with everything else that I mean to do. That I thought I would be doing, now that I have no current contract and nothing more obvious to be getting on with. Hey-ho. I am myself something of a flat chicken, apparently.


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November 2017

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