Slight crisis in the kitchen tonight, everything planned, (for once), 2 chickens waiting for roasting, potatoes ready for the oven, veg ready and waiting…………..
……and a broken cooker! Yeap, it managed to limp to about 10 degrees, wheezed and was immediately overcome by stress and refused to do anymore.
Crisis! Too late in the day for a maintenance call, one small hungry man who had already started scavenging in the fridge and no cooker – oooppppsss….
God bless the compound food delivery guys! Hurrah! J thought all his christmases had come together as he was allowed pizza on a school night, himself chomped his way through a curry and me? Well, beans on toast for me – life in the fastlane here!
If you are wondering why there are 2 chickens for 3 of us, well there is another story. For some reason in Saudi Arabia chickens are tiny, not sure why but they are tiny. Imagine a pigeon and put it on a diet and you are about there. Not much meat and chuffin’ big bones!
I once went to the quality butchers in town, (Forsan), and was really pleased to see really good size chicken breasts there. Encouraged by this vision, I asked the philipino butcher where these chicken breasts had come from and could I buy one of the chickens in it’s intact form. Now, there are a lot of philipinos, (and other nationalities), working in Saudi and as a rule their english is pretty damned good but every now and then you get somebody who struggles somewhat – but hey lets be honest about this, their english is still much better than my absolutely non-existent filipino so maximum respect.
So, back to the mutant chicken breasts, either there was a communication breakdown and secretly Forsan Butchers, (there is another tale about that name, but later), have a secret supply of mutant chickens or there is something very odd going on.
Despite the butcher standing on one side of the counter and me on the other, with a tray of very good sized chicken breasts between us, he categorically denied that they had any bigger chickens. I asked very politely where the featured chicken breasts had come from and just got, ‘no ma’am, no big chickens’ in reply. I asked to see one of the shop’s whole chickens and was presented with a standard Saudi emaciated pigeon wannabe. Eventually the butcher’s english and my attempted reasoning both reached maximum capacity and I had to admit defeat and stick with the standard issue.
Now this situation has perplexed me for sometime as somewhere there have to be larger chickens that make the ultimate sacrifice to supply the customers of Forsan with good size chicken breasts – but the exact location is a mystery. I have found myself surmising as to whether or not they are from abroad and imported, but then import some decent sized whole chickens please!
I have reached the grand conclusion that over the last few months I have spent too much time musing this issue and wasted too many brain cells on it. The fact of the matter is that you cannot buy a decent sized chicken in Saudi Arabia, hence why 2 is essential for a roast – J pretty much consumes a whole one on his own.
Oh yes, Forsan. Well, in my own inimitable fashion I have a problem with this name, (say it out loud and you may get the gist of my problem). You see one day somebody pointed this out to me and it stuck in my head like some sort of automatic switch. This is not really a problem when I ask himself to drive me there, he just rolls his eyes and ignores me now, but to anybody else it is an issue. It is not the fact that we live in one of the most conservative muslim countries in the world as to be honest the people I would talk to about this shop would just laugh, (a lot and for a very long time), and the drivers who I would ask to take me there would just do a double take – I would hastily cough loudly and fudge over my mistake. No it is the embarrassment factor and the fact that it happens at all and that it is now so deeply engrained into my brain and my psyche. So, whenever I go to say the name of this particular butcher’s shop I have to physically pause, concentrate and focus on saying the right word. While this strategy does make me look and sound a bit simple, it does work and of late there have been no mispronunciations – but perhaps I am tempting fate and as this week we need some chicken sausages and so I am going to have to utter the name and ask the question…..
Rest day today and boy did I need it – aching legs or what. As I sprung out of bed this morning, (OK, crawled, the last time I sprung out of bed I was about 8), I knew that I had worked hard on my run last night. Have loosened up over today but blimey – that was a shock to the old system.
So, maintenance call tomorrow and doubtless the kitchen will be full of philipino maintenance men scratching their heads, taking sharp intakes of breath and frowning at the state of the cooker. But like the butcher, as their english is a million times better than my Filipino and their knowledge of cookers outweighs my knowledge of how to switch it on, I will bow to their superior know how and skill, make them a very english cup of tea and retreat to the safe distance of the lounge to look forward to tomorrow night’s offering of emaciated pigeon.
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