Chicken Erotica and the Venus Transit: Who Loses?


No one. But that awaits demonstration.

It’s five-o-five, June 5, 2012, and I’m looking directly at the sun. Why? Because I also run with scissors?

No, although I do that too (though no fate has yet tempted me to lick an aluminum fence post in January).

I’m looking directly at the sun—through my son’s “Eclipse Glasses” (“safe for direct solar viewing,” says the label)—because today Venus is making a pass between us and Old Sol and won’t do so again until I and my children have given ourselves to the family mould. The next time this happens—December 11, 2117—a new kind of FPR reader will be scrolling through the archive, doing research for her thesis on “Jeremiahs of the Apocalypse: An Analysis of the Bar Jester’s Diagnostic Essays.”

(Actually, she won’t. There won’t be an internet in 2117. She’ll be piecing together scattered printed versions of these prophetic posts, collected from Moline to the nether reaches of East Moline, and her readers will marvel at her archival savvy—if not at the erudition of what she unearths.)

“What?” protests the incensed reader. “I thought this piece was going to be about chicken and eros.”

It is. It is. Peace, peace. First the macrocosm, then the microcosm.

We witnessed a Venus transit in 2004. The Venus transit occurs in pairs, each pair consisting of occurrences separated by eight years and each paired occurrence separated by 105 five years. The next pair of transits will occur in 2117 and 2125, so unless I live to be 154, I’ll not witness another. And at the rate I do the Triple B (wash down Butter and Bacon with Bourbon), it’s fairly certain I’ve seen my last Venus transit.

Which is why today, June 5, 2012, I’m looking directly at the sun. This planetary event is about to take its 105-year hiatus.

And smoke ariseth from the coals yonder, because between solar observations I’m also preparing Chicken Erotica.

You readers in Henderson, NV, might wish to pour yourselves a snifter of Joseph James Hop Box IPA. For some reason a can of this imperial Foxbrew has appeared before me here in Rock Island, and, because I honor all things local, I honor those of you in Henderson.

(You keepers of the Foxbrews may wish to return the honor by sending me a case of your Imperial IPA. I’m not above being treated well for the free advertising I provide, though I wish to make plain to my six readers that, whatever remuneration or neglect I elicit, Hop Box is A-1 prime stuff. Well done, my friends in Henderson. This is good beer.)

Damn it! (Sorry, Mom: darn it!) I should be singing along to something, but the house is silent as a tomb. How about a little Alison Krauss?

Excellent choice.

(Last summer my daughter called from Michigan. She said, “you’re grilling chicken, aren’t you?” I said, “How did you know?” She said, “I hear Alison Krauss in the background. You always play Alison Krauss when you’re grilling chicken.” God bless the girl! And God bless Alison Krauss & Union Station too!)

“Now that I’ve found you … I wrap my world around you …”

Now this here culinary plagiarist you’re reading and tiring of is pretty sure that the marinade of which he writes descends from an issue of Gourmet some twenty-five years ago. A buddy from grad school had—and still has—a wife who served this under the title (if the plagiarist remembers correctly) “Chicken Lipscomb.” The present thief has tinkered with it over the years and renamed it “Chicken Erotica” (guaranteed to get you … well, just try it).

What you do is pretty simple: you combine dry sherry, olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red peppers, oregano, rosemary, chopped onion and garlic, and then you plop a few pieces of chicken into the marinade. Wisdom of the general sort would have you drop chicken breasts into the marinade. I’m here to tell you that thighs work well as well (for I’m also a leg man.) Let whatever cut you choose soak twenty-four hours and then grill it over low heat slowly. Serve with whatever you fancy. I usually fancy pasta and a cream sauce with nutmeg and maybe a little lemon juice, freshly squeezed from local lemons.

Tonight we’re also having a mixed green salad. I’ve patronized two local growers in the making of this fine mix, not to mention a cheesemaker (and blessed are the cheesemakers) who, together with his goats, produces a very fine ricotta.

O that the little missus were here tonight! But, alas, she’s in the cardiac unit, treating people who eat like I do and, in doing so, keeping me in gambling money. What a girl!

Out to the grill and another look at the sun. Look at that goddess of love! See how she moves across the all-seeing eye of heaven. Is it, or is it not, a night for Eros?

It is. I turn the chicken and spoon residual marinade across it. O, my darling! If only you weren’t feeding catheters into the urethras of other men tonight!

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