Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I just read another recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. Like so many others, part of the recipe said: "Simmer for blah blah minutes, or until chicken is tender. Take out chicken and shred. (Well, besides the fact that it sounds like you are supposed to shred yourself...) Return shredded chicken to soup."

What is it with people shredding meat, either for soup or for barbecued meat type sandwiches or to put in a Cafe Rio type salad? Chopped meat has such a better texture and presentation too.

Several years ago my Dad was visiting. We were eating at a restaurant that will remain nameless--because I can't remember which one it was--and the chicken was shredded in some kind of sauce. I asked him how he liked his meal.

"I've never liked stringy chicken," he said.

Give it to Daddy, he called it.

Restaurants advertise, "shredded chicken tacos," "shredded beef burritos," "shredded pork sandwiches," etc. I Googled it and there they all were. When I Googled "stringy pork" and found a negative restaurant review..."the pulled pork sandwiches are now dried out stringy pork sandwiches." I have news for that reviewer. They were always stringy, they were just saucy before, and now they are dried out. Same thing, but without the sauce.

Daddy didn't like stringy meat. He could see through the hoopla.

Once, when women's fashion went through a bizarre wrinkled faze, Daddy said to one of his daughters, "Your blouse needs to be ironed."

"Dad," she said, "this is in fashion." She then turned the collar of her wrinkled blouse way up into her hair where it didn't know if it was supposed to stand at attention or flop again in wrinkles.

Daddy and I looked at each other and both of us shrugged our shoulders just a tiny bit.

I will never be as savvy as Daddy, who knew life at its worse--on a torpedoed, sinking ship in the English Channel--and its best--living with a remarkable woman--my mom--for so many years. And then again, life at its worst--being alone for seventeen years after she died.

I know he is living life at its best again. And some day I will too. One of the first things I will tell him is how darn smart he was about so many of the things. He said had a profound influence on my life. Even more so, the way he lived his life has had a profound influence on me. I've been so very lucky.

PS And isn't it funny how a post starts out as one thing and ends up as another? I had to change the title which started out simply as "Stringy Chicken."


hillary said...

Is "living you best life" start the monday after next when you come to my house and take care of my new Daisy baby and Me? It sounded like your best life starts when you keel over, and I am not a fan of that life for you.

Michael Rawluk said...

I guess the moral is that it is better to live a saucy life than a stringy life.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

i dont like stringy either when i have a recipe that calls for it i do the other just cause i can...
I have modified my mac and cheese recipe and if anything it is better... subtract half the eggs you used... add a box of velveta do the rest pretty much the same...