May 23, 2011

Squirrel Madness

Internet, I have terrible news. Shortly after my last blog post, I decided I should actually look at the outside of my house, to ensure that the hull had not been breached by Team Squirrel. (I live on a houseboat.*) Turns out, my worst suspicions were confirmed, and those little shit-weasels had torn the gutter off the side of my house and gleefully flung handfuls (pawfuls?) of insulation to the ground, where it sat in a great yellow-grey glop. It looked kind of like hardboiled egg yolks. Just a little imagery for those of you in the crowd.

The conversation:

Me: Should we be able to see inside the house from here? Since there isn’t a window?
P: not even dignifying that with a response

So now the exterminators are coming this week. The home association wanted the gutters fixed! As soon as possible! Willy nilly without thought about the animals who would be TRAPPED IN MY WALLS! We had to put a stop to that right quick because I don’t want to listen to any creature starve to death three inches from my head. The exterminator needs to take the squirrel away and dispose of it where I can’t be responsible. That also describes how I feel about turkey farms.

Of course, that means that every noise in my walls over the last seventy-two hours has sent me into a rage that I really don’t think I can contain much longer. I woke up at 6.15 on a Saturday when Mister Squirrel decided it was time to shimmy around and scrape wires. The last time I woke up at 6.15 never happened. I am just saying.

This is like the time my dorm room was ransacked, except with less robbery and more rodentry. I couldn’t sleep for days.

P has gone more squirrel mad than I have, though. He reports that he went outside and checked the gutter, just to see what he could see. And what did his little eye spy except two (TWO) squirrels disappearing into the wall? So he did what any self respecting homeowner would do and screamed for those little fuckers to get out of his house. Good thing I don’t care what my neighbors think! P reports that one squirrel stuck his stupid bushy head back out of the wall and did a little mocking dance.

Is it Tuesday yet?

*Not really.

May 16, 2011

Nemesis list: updated

You might think it’s all fun and games and rogue beavers living in The Fairy Effing Wonderland, but you’d be wrong.

Well, okay, there were the deer. That was kind of awesome.

photo(21)
Five! Five whole deer! Ah ah ah.

As we sat in the car, quiet, watching the deer wander around, my neighbor stomped up. I gestured out the window at her, like, “Can you believe this?”

She shouted, “I guess that’s why there are no flowers in my yard!”

I remembered why I don’t talk to my neighbors.

But not counting her, I have a new nemesis.

surveillance
Surveillance photo.

It’s not that I have an existential problem with squirrels, no matter how many times they eat my jack-o-lanterns. (All the times.) I live in a leafy, tree-lined neighborhood. It stands to reason that there would be squirrels. I try to ignore their infernal chirping, which maybe sounds like a bird enjoying the sunshine until you listen closely and hear the sinister edge to it. And I drive really slowly, so that when they run out in front of my car to practice their latest interpretive dance routine in the middle of the street, I don’t turn them to mush.

But this squirrel? Has gone too far.

We’ve lived in our house for almost six years and never once had a problem with squirrels on the roof. This year I heard the pitter patter of little feet above my bedroom. All the time. All the hours of the day and night. At first I was convinced that something had moved into my attic, until my mom came over and pointed out that I really didn’t even have an attic beyond room for insulation. Touche, Mom.

And then this happened.


Not my squirrel.

At first I thought maybe it was a pair of squirrels, making grown-up friends, but then there came a commotion so loud that it sounded like an owl attack. I got really excited, because, hey, badass owl. But the squirrel remained and I never saw an owl and it was daytime anyway so, you know, wishful thinking. Just a squirrel fight, ho hum. It’s not really worth wondering how they can pummel each other all the way down the side of a three-story house.

Squirrels: Original Parkour. (NBC, call me — this would be perfect for your next pilot season.)

And it’s not like the squirrel even cares that I know he’s there. I sat in the driveway in my mom’s car when he decided it was time to shimmy up the birch tree and swing, all Tarzan-ass, from one of the spindly branches to the gutter. Like a boss.

It was at this point I knew I was defeated. I could pound on the wall all I wanted when he was screwing around in the gutter — what DOES he do up there? Best guesses include storing acorns or riding the downspout like a damn waterslide — but he doesn’t care. There’s not much room in a squirrel brain, I guess, and he hasn’t yet learned that humans equal shouting and fist-waving.

It’s scarier when you see it in person.

May 9, 2011

Softball and Other Disasters

When I was in the seventh grade, I played softball. I am not precisely an athletic person – witness my failed attempts at playing basketball, in which I spent most of my time on the wrong side of the court, and only one time made a three-point shot, and that one time it was only because I had a fever and thus super aiming ability, or the sad six weeks I threw shot-put on the school track team, trying and failing to launch the ball much over my head. My sister played softball for several years before I started and was even on a traveling team that went to tournaments all over New Mexico and West Texas. This means that she was really good. I thought maybe I could play by osmosis.

Turns out that I? Was not so good. I’m crazy dominant left-handed, left-footed, even, which makes my decision to throw right-handed a mystery. I have a Vague Idea that I decided it was easier to find a right-handed glove (which makes no sense now) but I threw my lot in with the righties.

This decision proved incorrect the day I was playing catch in the front yard with my dad. I threw the ball and instead of going straight to him, it went perpendicular to the right, flying not at his open glove but straight toward the plate-glass window that dominated most of the front of our house. No one was more surprised than I when it missed the window than the stray cat, sunning on the porch, who got hit in the head. It was a million to one shot and I’d never be able to replicate it. And yes, I felt absolutely terrible. The cat made a noise I can only describe as otherworldly.

Batting practice was better. For whatever reason, my terrible depth perception and inability to think spatially didn’t harm me. Maybe this is because I swung wildly at every ball that went by, but really, the world may never know. Still, I had another Vague Idea that the guys in the pros didn’t wear their batting helmets as they jogged toward first, so every time I headed that way I used the back of my forearm to scrape off the hateful batting helmet, leaving it to thud on the ground behind me with a sound related to a goose’s honk.

At any rate, every kids’ sports league has a team of misfits, somehow, so it was no surprise I ended up on that one. The pitcher was the coach’s daughter, chosen for the coveted spot by her incredible ability to be related to the man making the decisions. I spent many games at my post in right field – because of course I was in right field – watching her roll every pitch over the plate, not possessing the upper arm strength to actually keep the ball airborne.

I became infinitely familiar with the seven run rule, which stated that if seven runs were scored, that half of the inning is over. This is to keep pitchers who only pitch because their fathers are coaches from rolling the ball to the other team’s entire lineup for hours at a time.

Also, maybe I should point out here that I’m practically blind. I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the third grade. They were these snazzy pink plastic oblongs that took up half of my face. I made them even better by getting gold initial stickers to go in the bottom of one of the lenses. That little EB made me look at least forty-five years old, and surely added to my playground popularity. Still, I didn’t have them long because my eyes have gotten steadily worse sense then.

Let’s face it, I wasn’t likely to stick with this sports hobby anyway. I’d always been a more bookish kid, preferring to stay inside underneath the air conditioner reading rather than go outside and risk burning the delicate soles of my feet on white-hot concrete, so my parents bet on me quitting soon and wisely decided not to buy me any sports goggles or other protective eyewear.

Picture me, then, in right field. I wore grey polyester pants that cinched at the ankles and pink shirt with red letters that said GARNER PUMP, that, of course, being the local business tricked into giving enough money to buy our shirts. Every week, as I watched the ball roll over the base, I hoped that no one from the company came out to see what kind of investment they had made.

One particular day, I probably wasn’t paying much attention. I was waiting for the seventh run so I could go back to the dugout to sit down and drink some Kool-Aid. More than likely, I was playing with my hair. In what was not the first but certainly not the last of my many bad choices when it came to my hair, I had somehow been convinced that cutting my hair into a super-short bob, excepting, of course, a six-inch rat-tail, would surely be my ticket to seventh grade fashionability. Instead, I’d been mocked mercilessly by my classmates and therefore refused to cut it the entire school year.

So imagine me, in daydream land, braiding my rat-tail. Then, hark, an unfamiliar sound: the ping of a regulation softball on a lightweight aluminum bat.

I searched the ground and then, uneasily, the sky, where I found that the ball was headed, for once, right at me. I stared up into that dark blue sky as the ball got larger and larger in my field of vision. I must have taken a step forward, and somehow put my glove back on. I stuck my arm up and held the glove in front of my face, certain that I’d timed it just right. Time slowed down as that ball reached the apex of its flight and started its slow, surly trip back to earth.

And then it hit me square in the face, just at the corner of my left eye where my glasses rested. I immediately fell to the ground in a manner befitting a crash test dummy and pawed at my face, trying to get the glasses off to see if I could still see. There was very little blood, only a teeny round spot where the screw that held the arm of the glasses to the lens dug into my face. Someone came out on the field and helped me into the dugout to meager applause from the gathered audience. The other girls in the outfield shifted to fill my space and I watched the rest of the inning from behind a chain-link fence with an icepack perched on my cheekbone, waiting, like the rest of them, for that magical seventh run.

May 2, 2011

Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo Report – Snacks!

I wasn’t going to go. I’d seen people talking about the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo in Chicago (actually, Lisle, but who’s counting?) last weekend, but I was resolute. I did not need to go and find out about new shiny things to eat.

So of course I bought tickets.

I decided only to go to the Vendor Fair on Saturday. There were presentations by big names in the gluten free cooking world — Stephanie O’Dea only one of them — but in the end I decided not to attend the cooking classes. Next year, I probably will, but the Vendor Fair was enough excitement for me.

One really awesome thing was that — after walking into the building through a parking lot that was full, almost, less than an hour after opening — was that I could eat everything! There were something like seventy vendors and I didn’t have to think twice about sampling anything that was offered. It was a really nice feeling, actually.

One kind of tough thing about eating gluten free is that there are so many great products that aren’t available near me, and I live in a well-populated area with several Whole Foods, health food stores, Trader Joe’s and other specialty markets within driving distance. And I HATE paying shipping, so trying something that no one near me stocks is usually out of the question. I have to rely on word of mouth on Twitter or other places online. That worked out when I bought Better Batter for the first time, or when I tried Canyon Bakehouse bread (nb: delicious) but it could so easily go wrong. Still, there were LOTS of companies that I’d never even heard of before.

My favorites:

Woodchuck Cider. Super delicious, especially since it wasn’t even noon yet. (Guy behind display, replying to my objection: “It’s noon somewhere!” Touche, sir.) And turns out, after the incident that I can drink hard cider after all. Note to self, it takes thirteen years to be able to smell cider again. Don’t repeat the incident.

Snacks from El’s Kitchen. The snack mix (called Medleys) reminded me a lot of that Gardetto’s snack mix. They also have bagel chips that would be lovely with hummus.

Kitchen Table Bakers cheese crisps. I’d actually purchased their aged Parmesan crisps before, in the cheese section at Whole Foods, but it turns out they have a whole bunch of different flavors. I liked Rosemary Parmesan the best, so that’s what I picked up, but I’m definitely going to ask my Whole Foods to stock more of their line.

I tried so many other things — frozen pizzas, bits of cake and granola bars. I even got to meet THE Pamela from Pamela’s Products which was maybe my tiny freakout moment. Her baking mix is available in so many stores, and is accessible to lots of people, which I think is amazing. It was the first gluten free product I bought after my Celiac diagnosis.

I was surprised that many of the companies didn’t have stuff to sell. I mean, I get that the cider companies didn’t have a liquor license, and the guy from San-J, which makes amazing Tamari sauce, couldn’t ship all his glass bottles. But there were also lots of places that just had samples, and I was sad. Most especially about the Blue Diamond folks, who had a new Nut Chip (not even in stores yet!) that was really, really good. Or the booth next to them, with these out of this world Cheez-It type cracker, except that I don’t even remember the company name!

There were lots of the big companies there, like Udi’s and Rudi’s bread (do y’all think they get mad at each other?) and Glutino and such — those, I skipped. I know what they taste like and I can get them in most places.

It wasn’t until I left the expo that I realized almost everything I purchased or sampled was savory. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I can bake all day long (macaron experiment tk) but crackers escape me. I met Carol Kicinski and bought a copy of her lovely book, Simply… Gluten-free Desserts. That was my sweet contribution for the day, I think.

Overall, I’m super glad I went to the expo, even if it was an hour’s drive on a Saturday morning, when usually the most I can contribute is dirty looks at the cats when they wake me up early. (Talk to me about why I was actually awake for the Royal Wedding.) And then I got to go to Penzeys! And then I brought home takeout from PF Chang’s and got glutened. So, you know, I’m glad for all the new things I’ll be able to eat at home, since Chang’s is off the menu now.

April 25, 2011

Lazy enchiladas

When my sister and I were small, one day our family sat around the dinner table. The details of that meal have been lost to time, but the conversation hasn’t. My sister looked up from her plate and right at my father and said, “Daddy, you’re lazy!”

This, of course, was the furthest thing from the truth and we all sat stunned for a moment. Finally, my dad asked tentatively, “What do you mean?”

“You’re lazy, because you do everything right the first time!”

It is in this spirit that I make enchiladas.

Green Chile Enchiladas, with gluten-free option
1 pound cooked protein. I often use ground beef, but you can use chicken, steak or whatever else you have on hand. Leave it out altogether for cheese enchiladas.
12 corn tortillas.
14-ounce can enchilada sauce. I prefer green enchilada sauce, but red works fine in this recipe. Hatch Green Chile Enchilada sauce is the best, but I can’t eat it anymore because it has gluten. The only reliably gluten-free brand I can buy in Chicago is La Victoria, which I can only get in a 28 ounce can. Or, as I like to call it, an opportunity to make two pans of enchiladas.
1 pound shredded sharp cheddar. You can shred it yourself, but I have been that little match girl, and I buy the pre-shredded stuff.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If your protein isn’t cooked, do that now. I like to add a smallish diced onion to my pan of ground beef, or a can of green chiles. I season the beef with garlic salt and pepper, but whatever you usually do will work.

Here’s my jealously guarded enchilada secret, Internet, and maybe why I call them lazy at all, because in doing so I cut my prep time way down. Put the slightest bit of enchilada sauce a 9×13 pan, just enough to cover the bottom. By doing this, you don’t have to fry or steam the corn tortillas.

Layer six corn tortillas in the bottom of the pan, like so:

Corny.
Yes, my Pyrex pan is pink.

Cover the bottom of the pan as best you can. Overlapping is totally okay.

Spread half of your cooked protein, if using, on top of the tortillas.

Sprinkle half the cheese on top of that.

Then pour half the enchilada sauce (see what we’re doing here?) over the whole lot. When you’re done, it will look like this:

Halfway done.
I was going for the Dark Mark.

Don’t drown the pan in sauce, or else everything will be wet and mushy. Not inedible or anything, but not optimal.

Then repeat with the rest of the ingredients — tortillas, protein, cheese, sauce.

Cover pan with foil and bake for twenty minutes; remove foil for ten more minutes of baking time. You’re looking for bubbly at the end.

Then you’ll have to wait for the pan to cool down. If you’re cooking for more than two people, refried beans and Mexican rice are a great accompaniment here.

Voila, enchiladas that aren’t out of the realm of possibility on a weeknight.

April 20, 2011

The thing with feathers

This week I got some bad news — I did not, in fact, get into grad school. I’m still reeling a little, from sadness to anger and back again. I started thinking, how could I have better prepared my application? What will I change next time?

No perfume sprayed on my transcripts. Or at least perfume that EVERYONE likes. Which is all of them, so I’m still confused.
No more pictures of my cats. Even if I did make them wear tutus.
No calls to the dean offering to watch Doctor Who with him. I guess that comes off a little inappropriate, but I was being sincere. I’ll watch Doctor Who with everyone! (And you, and you, and you!)
Personal statement written about something other the value of a good nap. I was tired that day and the deadline was upon me.
Expand the job section of my CV beyond “Being awesome, 1980-present.”

Other than that, I just don’t get it.

So now I have to figure out another way to fill up my time. I guess I could blog. Or work on my new manuscript. Or figure out a way to enter the Pillsbury Bake-Off with gluten-free food. (I’m actually kind of serious about that one.) (And the others.) (Work with me here.) I got a couple of good wallowing days in there but now I have to figure out what’s next. While eating tasty baked goods, which really makes the day go by just that much more quickly. (Also parentheses.) (I’m actually really sad, so cheery things will help.)

April 18, 2011

Because the last thing I need is another TV show to freak out about

I called up and added HBO to our cable package this week — Me: “Ten channels for ten dollars a month? That’s like magic!” Cable lady: incoherent cackling — because P is a huge fan of George R. R. Martin’s books and wanted to watch Game of Thrones. Me, I’m not so into epic fantasy. Not because my feeble ladybrain can’t handle it unless I see the boobies (NY Times link) but I just generally don’t like huge stories that span multiple times and spaces. I prefer the synecdoche of more intimate stories, which is why I write women’s fiction.

Anyway, I was procrastinating interested in spending time with my nice husband and decided to sit down and watch the show with him. Incidentally, I’m really awful to watch television or a movie with. I don’t think my problem extends to the level of face blindness or anything, but I just cannot remember faces anymore. (So if I’ve ever met you, and then we meet again, and I don’t remember you, don’t take it personally. I might be a jerk, but it’s not on purpose. At least in this case.) Put three teenage-ish boys with dark hair on the screen and I’m lost. Put a cast of thousands and I’m pausing the Tivo every ten seconds. “Okay, who’s that lady? And that’s her brother? Will that be important later?” (Yes. Yes it was.) But he promised me that there would be no spoilers and so we watched the first episode.

Turns out I loved it.

Not so much that I’m ready to read the books, mind you. Not until the story’s complete, anyway. But enough to keep watching.

So now my weekend nights are set: Doctor Who on Saturdays, Game of Thrones on Sundays. I will have to save my Sister Wives and Extreme Couponing binges for the middle of the week, when attempting to eat a pint of ice cream while lying in bed just isn’t enough to get me through those long afternoons.

April 14, 2011

Short attention span theater

I am waiting. I am waiting, impatiently, to find out whether or not I got into grad school. This is very important, for many reasons, not the least of which is that if I don’t get into grad school, I will have to find a job.

This means that I am checking my email every 6.2 seconds, approximately, which has destroyed whatever attention span I’d managed to hold on to after more than fifteen years of internet addiction.

Here are some things that I have been looking at lately.

Memmabelle. My sister started a tumblr for pictures of her French Bulldog, Emma. She is blind and hilarious and I like to go on Skype and tease her. The dog, not my sister.


Oh, Maru the cat. Is there any hairstyle you won’t try?

One of Erica O’Rourke’s children found the best iPad game ever: Game for Cats. There’s a little mousey, that runs around on the screen! And when the cat swats at it, she gets points. Also the mouse squeaks. I am happy to report that The World’s Most Expensive Cat is very good at this game, racking up a thousand points on her first try. Then she started trying to dig underneath the iPad because that’s where the mouse disappeared to. I know, I’m scared too. I thought she had a cotton candy machine and six lentils in her skull. Next thing I know, she’ll be trying to open the garage door again.


Remember: big dogs are adorable. Big cats are just trying to figure out if it will take one bite or two to eat your entire head.

Also speaking of Erica, do you want to win an ARC of her forthcoming debut novel Torn? (Answer: yes, yes you do. I already got to read it, because I’m awesome, and I can tell you the book is also awesome.) Just check out her cover on her blog here and leave a comment telling her what you think. You’ll be entered to win an ARC — advance reading copy — way before June 28, when the book hits the shelves.

I have a problem with the Royal Wedding. That problem is that I am so excited about it I can hardly sit still. This is because I read far too many historical romance novels, what with the dukes and the viscounts and the earls and the misses with their dresses for The Season. (Protip: present-day dukes never look like those in romance novels. I research so you don’t have to.) Even more ironic is that my ass would have totally been a chambermaid back in the Regency, and I would have been bad at it. It is for these reasons and more that I am completely charmed by Mad Hattery, a blog dedicated to hats worn by various royals throughout the world.

So, I’ve managed to entertain myself. I only checked my email half a dozen times while writing this.

Do you have any ways to distract me?

April 11, 2011

Doppelganger

When I lived in Albuquerque, I had a doppelganger. Actually, I suppose I still do, but as far as I know she didn’t follow me to Chicago.

I saw her one time. I’d traveled to Albuquerque to visit UNM. This was a mere formality, because I knew that’s where I wanted to go to school. The only other place I’d applied was to New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and even as I put the application in the mail I knew I was making a mistake. Geometry class had been a mystery to me. Making my way at a college known for turning out engineers just wasn’t going to happen. So, Albuquerque it was.

My little group was on a tour of the student union building when I saw her. I jumped a little at first, because I thought I’d stumbled on a mirror before I realized that I was looking at someone who looked just like me. We had the same short bobbed haircut with uneven bangs, the same slightly round face and green eyes. Only our clothing was different.

Our eyes met just for a moment and I could tell she was just as weirded out as I was. The tour leader led my group away and I couldn’t resist looking back behind me. Whoever that girl was looked incredibly sad. I swore to myself right then that when I got away from my small hometown, when I escaped, that I would never let myself get that sad. I saw her as a cautionary tale.

I forgot about her when I went back home and got on with finishing my senior year of high school. I spent my last summer at home working at Baskin Robbins, driving around town in my enormous gold 1977 Buick LeSabre, and idly fighting with my boyfriend. If I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t sad either.

Once I went away, though, things changed. I got rid of the boyfriend and started to party. I adjusted well, I thought, but staying drunk all the time wasn’t exactly good for the old GPA.

Still, I didn’t think of the girl again until one day as I was walking through the mall on the way to the bookstore. A woman chased me down in the building’s vestibule.

“Didn’t you hear me?” she asked, trying to be cheerful but looking annoyed. “I was calling you all the way down the hall! I wanted to know how that lipstick I sold you is working out.”

If I occasionally wear makeup now, I never, ever did then. “I think you have me mistaken for someone else,” I said, smiling politely.

She grabbed my chin and peered at my skin. “Are you sure? Do you have a twin sister?”

I stepped back and she let go. “No,” I said firmly.

“I’m really sorry about that.” She looked embarrassed and disappeared into the crowd in the mall.

I chalked the incident up to a pushy salesperson, even though I figured if she really was trying to be tricky she might have told me her makeup line or given me a card or something.

A couple of months later, I stopped into the Diamond Shamrock gas station across the street from campus to buy a pack of cigarettes. They often had smokes on sale for $1.99 a pack, which was the best deal in town unless one wanted to buy a carton, which I did not because that meant I would smoke for at least ten more packs. Willful denial. The clerk behind the counter did a double take.

“Aren’t you Jeff’s sister?” he asked.

“No,” I said lightly. “I don’t have any brothers.”

He looked suspicious. “Are you sure? I know he’s mad at me but –“

I cut him off. “No, I just have one of those faces. Can I get a hard pack of Marlboro lights?”

He didn’t believe me, I know. “Tell Jeff to call me,” he said, when I stepped through the ringing door.

After that, I became obsessed with the idea that there was another me out there, having all of the fun I wasn’t. For every dude I didn’t get with, my doppelganger was out there having an orgy. Every Saturday night my friends and I couldn’t find any good parties to go to it was because my doppelganger had gotten there first. In my defense, I lived in Albuquerque, which may not be the hippie capital of the world but probably comes close. Crazy-ass beliefs are in the water up there.

I knew I’d probably crossed a line right into crazy when I decided the reason I couldn’t get into a class required for my major was because my doppelganger had gotten there first. That day, I walked by the mirror in the bathroom of my shared student apartment and recognized the look on my face. My sad expression matched that of my doppelganger’s. She had my life, I thought, and I had no idea how to get it back.

April 4, 2011

Gluten free Chick-Fil-A style nuggets

One thing I’ve learned, after six months of eating gluten free, largely avoiding restaurants and eating absolutely nothing deep fried? I WANT TO EAT SOMETHING DEEP FRIED.

A play:
Me: Vegetables again!
My face: looks sad, chews listlessly.
– Fin –

Chick-Fil-A was my very, very favorite thing to eat before I went gluten free. I may or may not have made the drive to the mall in Racine, Wisconsin, more than once, because that was the closest location to my house. I may or may not have eaten there more than three times when I was in Orlando last summer. I may or may not have had an order of chicken nuggets with waffle fries and their delicious lemonade as my last gluteny meal. I’m just saying, I have an unholy love for Chick-Fil-A. A love that cannot be sated.

Except now it can!

Gluten free Chick-Fil-A-style chicken nuggets.

I adapted this recipe from one I found here.

1 egg
1 cup of milk
1 cup of gluten free all purpose flour (I used Better Batter.)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar (Make sure this is gluten free. Most are, but double check to be safe.)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cooking oil. Peanut is most authentic.

Dice the chicken into roughly one-inch pieces. They don’t have to be identical. This will make your food have character. Mix the cup of milk and the egg in a large-ish bowl, then marinate the chicken in the mixture for an hour or so in the fridge. You can go longer, no big deal. Just don’t go, like, a day. If you eat some sort of mutant chicken-milk-Mothra hybrid, that’s not on me.

When you’re ready to cook, heat up your oil. I do not have a deep fryer and in fact am a total chicken when it comes to frying things. I think it goes back to the time I was at my sister’s apartment and there was a grease fire and I just kept yelling, “Grease fire! Grease fire!” Therefore we just used a large stainless-steel skillet filled about an inch and a half deep with peanut oil. Heat the oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the oil is heating, mix flour, powdered sugar, garlic salt and pepper. Dredge the marinated chicken in the flour mixture, then repeat — flour, egg, flour. Once the oil is at the proper temperature, fry chicken in small-ish batches — I was able to handle maybe ten pieces without the oil really losing its heat. Cook until chicken is deep golden brown on each side.

Remove from oil and allow to drain on paper towels. I got a skimmer from Amazon for maybe $8 for this step and I’m really glad that I did.

Be aware — this makes a LOT of food. We used three chicken breasts because that’s what was in the package. It took forever. Bonus leftovers, though. This is also kind of a two-person job, if you can swing it.

I was really, really happy when we were able to finally eat! This might not be identical to the Chick-Fil-A recipe — I hear tell that they use pressure cookers for their deep frying, which sounds like some sort of sorcery or madness to me. I’m terrified enough of my pressure cooker. Adding gallons of boiling hot oil sounds like it would end up like that Canadian kitchen safety PSA that you can totally look up on your own because I am not going to do that to myself. Not again. The promise of vegetables all week is bad enough.