King James' Chicken
This day’s righteous recipe is King James’s Chicken
Verily verily I saith unto thee, this meat is to be cooked by chaste girls of marriageable age – twelve through nineteen years — or by wives who are married. Woe unto unmarried wenches over the age of nineteen whom should make themselves odious by touching the meat; rather it behoves them to occupy themselves with the King James Magazine of Medical Tonics for Olde Hags.
Ladies: taketh not thy neighbor’s free-range fowl, even if thou wouldst fain have it, for if thou taketh it, what will thy neighbor eat? Nor shall thy milketh thy neighbor’s cow, unless he beseech thee too, but if he doth so ask, being so inclined, maketh sure you do not go into his barn alone with him, especially if his wife has a shrewish temper. Rather, raiseth thy own free-range fowl or purchase a free-range fowl in a market which doth specialize in free-range fowl and other wholesome foods that will not clog the digestion or the arteries, thereby fouling the soul with fowlness.
Once you have acquired a fully-grown yet not infirm fowl, be it pullet or chicken, capon or rooster, or other such creatures known as fowl in His kingdom, ready the fowl for cooking forthwith by wringing its neck. If wringing the neck is not possible, thou mayst cleave the head in sunder from the fowl with a hatchet, for in God’s kingdom fowl are amongst the lowest of His creatures, and thus cleaving is permitted. Regardless of which method thou chooseth, thou must render the head of the fowl hewn from its corpse. Pluck off its feathers, and removeth its feet, and loathsome inner bowels, and washeth the fowl until it is cleansed. Of course, thou mayst skip these steppes if thou hast purchased a fowl already prepared for cooking, but maketh sure these steppes are not performed by a churl, but rather by a butcher or husbandman who is thorough and trustworthy, so that any ill humours concealed within the fowl are rightly purged. If thou hast not so purified the carcasse, thou mayst suffer unto thy guests the flux or some such noisome pestilence, which mayst cause thy guests to be flatulent or perhaps dead.
In any wise, once the carcass has been cleansed, mollify it with a good pounding with a pessel or with the flat of an axe. Tosseth it, while reciting the Creed, into a caldron of boiling water. Add a measure of carrots, lentils, some cockles, and a stalk of celery, and boil until the sun reacheth its zenith. Serve unto those of your kinsmen who art hungred, with bread only, for thou shouldest not eat with overmuch surfeit or luxuriousness; only a heretic or infidel or a bishop wouldst so do.
As the Lord hath taught us, whatsoever thing from without entereth the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the toilet, purging all meats. Unless, under God’s mysterious design, there is a bacterium concealed within the meat, which bacterium doth latcheth itself unto its host, in which case the host must then purge himself into the toilet from the front end, and possibly also with abundance from the nether end, as is God’s will.
Thus endeth our recipe for today. Praise be to God.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”