My father had a dog once, and when it died, the loss was too great: He never had another dog. I tell him, that’s how I feel, but I am so lost without him. I’ll foster a dog. I can help out another dog while I get used to this new reality. That’s a good idea, he says. I tell The Child about this plan, and she says, I don’t think The Dog would mind. He’d want someone to look out for us.
I email the breed rescue group and submit a foster family application and the state rep gets right back to me: We have a couple of dogs in dire situations, I will put you to work soon.
Mr. Faraway comes to visit the next weekend. I tell him about the possible rescue dogs: We may have to drive to Olympia when you’re here, or there’s a dog that sounds like it’s in Spokane? He’s driving four hours to see me, but does not complain about the prospect of an additional road trip. He asks about the dogs and whether I’ve heard any updates. I check my email a lot during his visit, and he doesn’t complain about that, either. We run errands with The Child – nothing that we can’t stop doing easily, if we are suddenly needed. After a while I realize this is a slower process than I thought it would be, and probably nothing is going to happen this weekend.
I should make dinner, and I have a guest, and I cannot focus on anything, and I have nothing planned.
Don’t worry about it, he says. We’ll figure it out.
We go through a pile of cookbooks I have checked out of the library, but everything seems a little too complex to me. I want something familiar, and simple, and finally decide that the only solution is something I’ve made dozens of times: Alice Waters’ roast chicken. I found this recipe years ago in a cooking magazine – I think Food and Wine, but don’t hold me to that. I was struck by its simplicity, and if memory serves, there was originally some sort of introduction by Waters advising the reader to Use Fresh Herbs. Truthfully, I’ve used dried herbs many times, and though the chicken comes out just fine, fresh is definitely better here (and as a general rule). The chicken smells divine toward the end of its roast – don’t be tempted to take it out too soon. Be warned, the temptation will be great.
I served this with a simple side dish of roasted new potatoes and brussels sprouts, which we tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, then added to the oven for the final 35 minutes (adding some garlic cloves to the pan after the first 10 minutes). Everything was done at the same time, and worked together perfectly.
The only difficult thing about this recipe, in fact, is the waiting.
- One 4-lb chicken
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
- ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375°. Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water.
- Finely chop garlic. Blend in the remaining ingredients.
- Rub the herb paste all over the outside of the chicken. Set the chicken in a roasting pan (using a rack if you have one), breast side up, for 20 minutes. Turn the bird over, and roast breast side down for 20 minutes. Turn it over again and roast breast side up for 35 minutes longer, or until done according to a met thermometer.
- Let the meat rest, tented, for 15-20 minutes before carving. Collect the pan juices, skim off the fat, and use to moisten the chicken.