I might be a Hampster, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have taste…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

“Uh, Bethie? You just talked to us yesterday.”

What? A gal can’t have another shitty night of sleep, dip into the coffee waaaaay too early, and have to choose between talking to online pals or waking up her kids for company?

Besides, I read an article that I felt MUST be discussed IMMEDIATELY.

“Oh. Well, then, I suppose I’ll allow it. Proceed.”

On MSN…

“*groan*”

Hey, I just looked so that we’d have chit chat fodder, okay? I’m not expecting to get real news on that news site. My eyes are open. I know what I’m in for. It’s not like I’m some internet newb or something. Sheesh.

ANYWAY, they had a cooking article that I clicked on simply because of the title. “How Chicken Breasts Are Stuffed in Every State.”

C’mon. How could I pass that up? Not only are they implying that a chicken breast stuffing craze is sweeping the nation (and you know I try my best to be ahead of the curve on all fabricated crazes), but I have been living my whole life in the dark on how my most beloved state stuffs chicken breasts. Clearly I had to look posthaste.

So, how do we Hampsters stuff our chicken breasts?

I don’t know. As disappointing as it will no doubt be to you, the article was not a “how to”, but a “what with.” Bummer, eh? I, personally, was hoping for some cool instructions, like, “Sneak up on the chicken breast, bowie knife tucked carefully in your belt while whistling the state anthem to lull the chicken breast into a false sense of comforted ease before you strike.”

Alas, it was not to be.

It seems that folks all around the nation actually stuff them the same way. Cut the chicken breast open with zero subterfuge, and shove shit inside. Blah. How boring is that? At least Julia Child would have said to jazz up the experience with a few nips of sherry.

What the article was *really* about was what ingredients folks shove in the filleted breasts. Not as thrilling as ninja kitchen tactics, but I admit curiosity beat out disappointment and I just had to know what we Hampsters like in our chicken breasts.

MSN believes that in New Hampshire, we stuff our chicken breasts with mashed butternut squash and maple syrup.

*blurrrffpph*

That sound was pretty much exactly what you think it was.

Butternut squash and maple syrup…in a CHICKEN BREAST?? Seriously, MSN. WTF. Just because we have those things here doesn’t mean we’re dumb enough to shove them together. Would YOU eat butternut squash and maple syrup CHICKEN? No. No you wouldn’t. And neither do we.

Ever.

It just has not been a thing that has happened.

*gak* *shudder*

Hey. Could be worse. I could live in Hawaii where they have to stuff their chicken breasts with pineapple and Spam. I think it’s a law. Or in Maine, where they fill a delicious, savory chicken breast with wild blueberry jam and shallots. Just think about THAT staring up at you from the plate.

According to MSN, Delaware stuffs theirs with crab and artichoke dip. They just take the bowl of dip, dump it in the chicken, and then bake it, because nothing is tastier than hot artichoke and crab and mayonnaise sadly seeping out the side of chicken breast. If you ever find yourself in Delaware, make sure to try it! I think the locals call this dish, “Resignation.”

Sounds delish.

Indiana gets very specific. Those zany Indianians like to fill their perfectly good chicken with pork and beans.

“Will any old pork and beans do?”

No, silly! It’s got to be canned, and it’s got to be Van Camp’s. You know, the high end stuff that sells for $1.05/can, not the cheap shit you get at the dollar store. Open the can, fit as much of it as possible in the raw chicken purse, then ruin it in the oven for an hour at 350 degrees. Hell, why stop there? Once it’s out, just dump the rest of the can on top. That’s what we fancy ones call “presentation.” Don’t forget to pick up a second can to serve as a side dish!

You think THAT’S special? In the high brow state of Kentucky, they serve their chicken like they serve their tea sandwiches. Nope, I did not make that up. It should have had quotes. The article says, “The traditional tea sandwich flavors of cream cheese and cucumbers…” Cream cheese and cucumbers. Because I guess high tea is a thing in Kentucky? So popular that they MUST carry over the “traditional” flavors in their chicken…? I guess?

In Wyoming, they don’t believe that chicken is real meat. And who can blame them, right? There’s no wrangling involved in chicken-ing. No branding. No roping. There isn’t even a need to cut off the balls of the young. Hell, when you really think about it, chickens are just a few feathers away from being cabbages. Pfft. PA-THETIC.

No, what true Wyomingites want is MEAT. REAL meat. Legit meat. Meat that meant something, that tried to be somebody. Meat that put up a fight and had to be wrassled and roped and rounded up. So they take what is really just a floppy taco shell, if we’re being honest, and cram it with cooked ground bison.

“But Bethie, won’t the crumbly ground bison just fall out?”

That’s what the chokecherry jam is for!

“Oh. Oh god.”

For the Minnesota entry, where they supposedly eat their chicken filled with wild rice, mushrooms, and sour cream, the article makes sure to say, “Optional: Tater tots on the side.” Perhaps the ONLY truly high end recipe in the entire list, and it’s paired with…tater tots. Now, I myself am of the opinion that tater tots should be the side dish of every meal. However, they aren’t really a high class side and don’t belong with what is the only good suggestion in this article. So close, MSN. Soooo close.

I’m going to tell you verbatim what they list for Mississippi. It’s a bit wordy, so bear with me. Here goes.

“Pimento cheese.”

That’s it. That’s the entirety of the entry. No suggested sides, no links to the recipe, no recommended garnishes. Just “pimento cheese.” I guess if you live in Mississippi, you know how you do chicken. Just keep doing it.

I think the winner here…

…hang on. With all you’ve seen and imagined on the plates of these Americans, is there really a “winner” here? Is there?

I think the most cringe-worthy recipe has to be the one for Utah. Why? Because apparently they eat their chicken stuffed with something called “funeral potatoes.”

I’m going to get real with you: If you intentionally eat something called “funeral potatoes,” you forgo any right you may have had to complain after the meal. Funeral is right there in the name of the dish. If you eat it anyway, that’s on you.

Real talk.

Look, I know how these articles are written. I get it. Some writer for MSN Food had to come up with an article for the deadline, but was too busy partying his face off all week to actually do any research and had to struggle through his hangover to come up with SOMEthing his editor would publish. He had a few things in his favor, though. First, he’s eaten food before. He also heard some things about most of the states, and had Google for the ones he was a bit hazy on. And the best thing going for Mr. Hangover was the fact that he works for MSN, where he could pretty much wipe his ass, sign his name on the toilet paper, and get paid for his “work.”

People who write these articles have absolutely no idea about regional foods. None. Zero. Zip.

In NH, we do grow squash. We do sap trees. We do not then take the products of those two completely separate endeavors and smash them together inside chicken. We just don’t. In fact, the only stuffed chicken breasts we tend to eat around here are stuffed with, well, stuffing. It think that’s why they call it “stuffing,” because you, ya know, they stuff it inside things.

Restaurants stuff chicken breasts with other things around here from time to time. I think there’s a place a few miles up the way that actually still serves Cordon Bleu. I know, right? Hello ’70s!

So “can” you get different types of stuffing inside your chicken in New Hampshire? Yeah. But is that the norm as MSN would have you believe? Absolutely not.

I have to hope it’s the same for the other states. I have to hope this is simply a matter of a hungover, poor excuse for a “writer” trying to cram together what little he knows about the states and hoping it’ll fly as a plausible article. I have to hope that they are not really eating crab and artichoke filled chicken in Delaware, or suffering through the terror of “funeral potato” stuffed chicken in Utah. I’ve got to believe that people around the country have a shred of common sense and don’t really torture themselves in such ways.

I’ve got to believe that, because one day I might just visit some of the other states in this fine nation, and I’m going to be honest: If I get to Taos all jacked up for art and hippies, and a restaurant serves me ground beef and Frito filled chicken breasts, someone’s not gonna have a good day.

Thus concludes a rambling little Musing for Sunday, August 16, 2015. Oddly enough, we’re having chicken for dinner tonight in the House of Bethie. Maybe I’ll get wild and crazy and use one of the suggestions. Now, should I go with limp, hot coleslaw like they do in Kansas, or should I really give my kiddos an exotic treat and fill them Georgia style, with peaches and thyme? Hmmm…decisions decisions….

“Uh, Bethie? I know you hate it when I interrupt your closing, but I feel like as your friend, I should point out that serving either of those recipes might just be considered child abuse.”

Oh. Shit. You’re probably right. Then unstuffed BBQ chicken it is! Thanks for lookin’ out for me.