Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

GUEST POST! – Jointing a Chicken: A Moment in Vinous Clarity | February 2, 2011

I’ve become quite a curmudgeon in my blogging-old age, and I rarely open this space for a guest post. That is- of course- unless the author is one for whom I have tremendous respect and admiration. Or, I got drunk one night and told someone he could. In this case, it’s either the former or the latter. Or both.

Sam Klingberg- Chicago’s “Broke Wino” (and @brokewino on Twitter)- has burst onto the scene in the past year or so as one of the sharpest, most clever, and downright uncouth wine bloggers around. He’s destined to be the voice of millenial wine drinkers for years to come…

…not to mention Sam’s a cool cat with Georgia roots. When he approached me with this article, I said, “sure, I’ll post it. It’s more interesting and well-thought-out than anything I’ll ever write.” Plus, it gave me an excuse to post an exceptionally creepy photo I took years ago.

Talk to you soon. Sláinte!

Jointing a Chicken: A Moment in Vinous Clarity
by Sam Klingberg,

Chickens are this: members of petting zoos, and historical attractions. I believe people used to keep chickens as pets before dogs and cats were domesticated. This tradition is still kept alive in Ethiopia where a dinner quest is twice as likely to meet a chicken roosting above his or her head before he’d find anything that most Westerners would consider edible (although I assure you the wot is good.)

Generally, most Westerners also have a similarly primitive idea of what a chicken is. Pinkish cuts of various geometrical shapes that come shrink wrapped and arrayed in yellow styrofoam trays at the supermarket is the generally accepted theory. So it was with this general perception of the most common fowl on the planet that sent me to the kitchen, knife in hand, prepared to live as deliberately as modern life would allow.

Let me back up: I am obsessed with the interwebz. Countless glasses of cheap Sauvignon Blanc have slaked my thirst in hot pursuit of the absolute worst cover of a Train song on You Tube. I couldn’t even begin to describe the hours of terrible songs being sung by terrible talent in front of terrible mounds of past-due laundry.

One day, I don’t know how, but during a similar journey I stumbled on a video of Gordon Ramsay jointing a chicken. I was the single most awesome thing I had ever seen. I promptly spent the next three days watching every aspiring culinary internet personality hack apart a dead bird’s carcass. From transforming live cluckers into organized mounds of meat on a cutting board, to mechanical separation, I couldn’t get enough of it.

After I felt that I had an ample understanding of how to make a cute little french cut on the drumstick and properly excise the oyster with those succulent thighs, I headed over to the supermarket to buy my very own whole chicken fryer (Chicago seems to be oddly dearth of live fowl to butcher.) I returned home knife in hand, cutting board in place, and a cold, goose-bumped carcass awaiting my culinary experiment. I mean, the thing was already dead, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

I soon realized, though, why almost everyone on You Tube had the big ass hunk of wood cutting board. My little plastic one slipped and slid around the counter recklessly, which was a little scary. But the feeling sharp steel cutting through bone, flesh, and sinew was too intoxicating to allow me to fear for my future maneuverability. Prehensility be damned.

I felt like a little school girl, watching the familiar “roasting” bird transform into succulent thighs and juicy tenderloins. Those strange looking pieces that were so familiar rolled in bread crumbs and sizzling in an oven set to 425º suddenly had a sense of place. I always knew it was a “thigh” but it certainly didn’t seem like anything that could be part of a leg. But now, I could actually feel it. I popped that sucker out of joint and sliced cleanly through pure bone and tendon. There was no denying it once supported any and all vertical endeavors.

I’ve been obsessed with the Mâconnais lately. Perhaps because I went to high school in Macon, GA, sister city of the region’s namesake, Mâcon (Pronounced, MAH-cone, I think.) Perhaps because it produces beautiful, damn straight succulent chardonnay. And, so affordable! You wouldn’t believe the $15-$20 bottles of golden righteousness you can get. Producers like Rijckaert, Thévenet, and Chateau la Greffière will slay your palate. There simply will be no turning back.

Like a chicken has it’s delicious dark meat in the extremities and coveted tenderloins tucked neatly between the sternum and the breast, wine is just as much about place. And Mâcon, for me, is a perfect opportunity to experience terroir, or the “somewhere-ness” of wine, without a small-business loan (because serious drinking is absolutely a business, have you seen Bordeaux prices lately?)

There’s a limestone belt that sits underneath the Viré-Clessé, that’s what it tastes like. St-Véran has spritely wines thanks to its sandy soil, and the under-appreciated Lugny is like a jolly, plump sister. All of these sub-regions of Mâcon have personality, and will make you down right butt-naked nasty about wine. Guaranteed.

This is just a little insight into why I’m so crazy about wine. And assuming you drink responsibly, taking a dive through the Mâconnais carries a hell of a lot less danger than slicing through a bunch of chicken bones. Go get that oyster.


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