Lost in Starvation: Ruuude Chicken

August 6, 2010

I take it a little personally when webcomics aren’t updating regularly.  I took the time to turn this creaky old computer on, and go to your website, and in some cases, I’ve even got you stored deep within my bookmarks.  And when I get there and see the same comic as three days ago, I obviously have to get real upset and complain about the internet and

Today we’re here to focus on my cooking skills, skills that had me singeing my fingernails off and straight up plagiarizing.  I mention the webcomics because Chris Onstad, while brilliant, refuses to follow a consistent schedule when updating Achewood.  This leaves those of us who stalk it intently wanting, and my fandom extends further than mere cyber-stalking.  The proof being that a few years ago I got his cook book for Christmas, having never previously tried any kitchen endeavors riskier than accidentally turning the stove on while leaning on it.

But the Achewood cookbook is meant for people with an even lower degree of culinary skills than even the normal level of kitchen-dumbness.

This is off topic, but for a dude, I dream A LOT that I am a house wife from the '40s.

“But what about these people who eat Frito dip out of the jar with their index finger?  That is my core demographic.”  –Chris Onstad

It was a startling revelation, then, to discover that my normal problem of ingredient-not-having was still applicable here, where the recipes were watered down for my benefit.  I tried one anyway, a Mexican Pizza I think, burned the christ out of it, flipped out, and then misplaced the book for a few months until yesterday .

My point is, Chris Onstad, if you ever read this, please don’t be like me and take what I am about to do to your recipe personally.

After three minutes of flipping through the pages, I settled on “Ruuude Chicken” because I actually had some chicken and that’s pretty much the only reason.

Having been out of town most of the weekend, I felt like I hadn’t been in the kitchen for a long time.  The place looked roughed up.  I was a foreigner to these parts again, and for a guy trying to cook something from a book with a cartoon cat on the cover, that was a bad sign.


  • 4 lb. chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Black Pepper

Oh… my god.  I have, like… most of those things.

Last week’s adventure in “making things with more than three steps, not counting ‘bring water to a boil’” really took it out of me.  A nice, simple, three-step process was the perfect vacation from insanity I needed to possibly wrangle me up some edibilities for the evening.

Ruuude Chicken, written by Achewood’s Ray Smuckles, is pretty much just a recipe that tells you to soak a chicken in brine over night, cook it the next day, and then “Maybe the best part is that the leftovers will be extra juicy (due to brining).  Keep the extra carcass for days in your fridge.”

So I did that.  Good thing I looked at the instructions prior to five minutes before I wanted to eat, because my usual temperament when preparing food would not have allowed me the patience to set dinner aside for another 24 hours.

Obviously, I don’t understand a lot of what’s going down in a kitchen.  Why is meat safe in the freezer but not in the fridge?  Why are tomatoes so willing to die?  Why are there so many dead leaves in the garbage disposal?

But even this week’s recipe seemed simplistic to me, a guy who is relatively easy to cheese off in front of the stove.  Sure maybe my delusions of grandeur will get me killed, but at least there is a casual aura of progress right now; which, if you had witnessed the “frozen pizza inferno of aught-3″ seems impossible.

As the saying goes, “Everything is easy, all the time.”

Compared to the last two skirmishes, this one passed in silence.  I made the chicken.  And then I ate it.

I made good chicken.  I didn’t make remarkable chicken.  But this column isn’t about me being remarkable, its about fighting for survival in a world of measuring cups and dead barnyard animals.

This recipe was a reminder of how far I’ve come since the days of “Hey, they’re giving out free pizzas and all I have to do is sign up for a cell phone plan!”

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