Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Art of Loveless Cooking

By Judy Garfield

I am a loveless cook.

NJL has taken a bold step allowing me to write a cooking column. To paraphrase the late Peg Bracken, who wrote the I HateTo Cook Book, “Some people like to cook. This column is not for them.”

Peg Bracken called herself a humorist. I consider myself more of a gloomerist. I suppose this is why I dislike cooking so much. Always anticipating the horrible things that can go awry with every recipe. And so much work. Ugh. The worst part? People expect you to do this EVERY DAY. So, since I like to eat pretty much everything and hate to cook pretty much anything, I try to get my husband S. to cook. One thing we loveless cooks instinctively do is find a significant other who likes to cook. And I did.

S. is a fabulous cook, and he really enjoys the process. But there are some dishes that cry out for a disinterested, dispassionate person like myself. Southern fried chicken is one of my favorites. My mother, who is from Portsmouth, VA, made this dish a lot
before we were aware of annoying words like cholesterol and plaque. It’s easy to make and delicious, and once in a while a nice treat.

Loveless Fried Chicken
1 chicken cut up
2 cups flour
salt, pepper, paprika to taste
brown paper lunch bags
vegetable oil

Combine flour and seasonings in a plastic bag. Shake chicken in bag till well coated. Heat enough oil in cast iron skillet to almost cover chicken. Use tongs to drop in chicken and brown evenly. Remove and drain on brown paper bags covered with paper towels.

Note: Cast iron pan is essential!

We like to eat it at room temperature. You could throw in some healthy side dishes, but stay away from anything too complicated. S. is always surprised I can make something so tasty. I told him less is best. Too much love can kill a good piece of fried chicken.


Anonymous said...

Hi Judy,

You sound just like my spouse, who is actually a good cook but would rather walk on nails than admit it to anyone! Hey, anyone who can make good fried chicken is a good cook whether they want to admit to it or not!! Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Loveless Cook - my sentiments exactly. I love chicken and the recipe is so simple and sounds great. Please keep it up.

Plum said...

Loveless Cook, I love fried chicken and can't wait to try your easy, straightforward recipe. Looking forward to more blogs...

Anonymous said...

Thank you Judy, I always knew I was some kind of cook, but I never had the right word until now...loveless! It's perfect. Keep the recipes coming.

Anonymous said...


Write more!! As the "spouse" who like to cook it's great to hear from the other side. At least we both like to eat.

Keep up you good humor.

Anonymous said...

Dear Judy,
I haven't had fried chicken since our local Kentucky Fried Chicken was turned into a Starbucks. Thanks for your recipe!
What you lack in "love" you've made up for with humor.
Please write some more!

Anonymous said...

Dear gloomerist:

I always wondered if I was alone in this world of loving to eat but hating to cook. Thanks for the great idea and for cooking with humor (or should I say gloomer).

S. said...

Loveless Cook, Mmmmm i've had's really delicious !!

Anonymous said...

There is a time and place in cooking for passion, improvisation and creativity and a time and place for the reliable, the tried and the true. How many times have I regretted ordering some overpriced fanciful chef's creation at a restaurant? Many. How many times have I regretted an order of simple southern fried chicken? I can't think of one. Thank you Loveless Cook for injecting some humility and delicious simplicity to the cuisine scene. Looking forward to more!

Anonymous said...

i'd still find a way to screw this up.

Carol said...

Love your thoughts on loveless cooking. I,on the other hand, love to cook and appreciate easy recipes. Thank you. Looking forward to more tips.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great, but how many people are actually frying their food nowadays. I haven't done it in years.