Reflector (Oven) Chicken
When I mentioned in Part One that we were at ‘having to get’ a chicken I sort of left off with that and, too, never mentioned to look under the Christmas tree to find out a “Why?”. That THAT; under the Christmas tree, is only because that is where the... ‘old beater’ condition... ‘18th century sheet iron tin fireplace reflector oven’... “got sat” when it was brought in from a shed. We actually have TWO old beater ovens and... restating again that these ovens are NOT in perfect (or even ‘good’) antiques collector grade condition and that too we... sell all of those perfect ones we find... all the time... to collectors who... “HAVE” a “Colonial Fireplace Kitchen”... collection. JUST SIT that perfect one out at the old hearth with the old cast iron pots and teapots, et al, and...
Don’t bring our beater in until your actually gonna “COOK SOMETHING”.
What did I just say... too? That’s right; if your gonna ‘do this’; either or both of these collect or cook... you’s gonna WANT (not need) TWO of ‘em old tin reflector ovens. So look under the Christmas tree for those? Might as well these days.
Once we clear the antiques collector colonial trappings away from the hearth and move the beater oven to ‘in front of the fire’... I can go back to the ‘having to get’ a chicken.
The ‘a whole chickens’, these days, can be got. Just go in to the local box store grocery store... located about five miles apart “UP” the whole coast of Maine and... fetch off the SMALLEST... cutest... of a whole chicken you’s can ‘find’... for one will have to poke through quite a pile of “WHOLE” in order to find a “SMALL” that is too... “CUTE”. Warning: The box store may not ‘have one’; a ‘cute’ and ‘small’.
Seek alternative supply.
So when Wiggins’ Meat Market chickens (Part One) hadn’t ‘come in’ we... “PLAN B”. We’s driving on the coast of Maine in the ...internationally recognized desirable location of ‘The Camden – Rockland Region’ where... I remind... “PEOPLE” from “away” all want to come to and, well... BUY a whole chicken that is both small and cute... as an
Attractive ‘get hands on’ activity that ‘brings ‘em in close’ with a Maine local... like me... endeavoring to do the same thing. Yep. So side stepping the ‘don’t have one anyway’ box style grocery store we... parked easily (it is ‘off season’ in December) in downtown and charming ‘walk to all the cute little stores and peek in the windows’...Christmas shopping destination of Camden, Maine and:
We... went in the front door of French and Brawn; Camden’s downtown local corner grocery store... walked to the ‘MEAT’ in the back, plucked two “SMALL” and “CUTE” whole chickens from the self service counter, paid the $10.44 in cash for the two at the check-out up front and were... outside at the car (with the cooler – Part One)... in about the four minute the “it took to do this”. NOW JUST STOP the foolishness and understand that this, IF YOU ARE REALLY DOING THIS IN MAINE; on the Maine coast... is the way to do this; get ‘small’ and ‘cute’ whole chickens. Otherwise; forget even slightly trying this and STAY in your ‘from away’ place you come from and cook a box store whole chicken in your “electric range” oven AT HOME. And leave us here in Maine ALONE.
Okay and again for this: Small and cute whole chickens. Take them home and put them on a platter to ‘room temperature’ which runs around fifty degrees on our Old Maine Farm “until” “the fire is up”. (Then it might get to sixty). THEN... tie... meaning aggressively and not in a pleasingly refined manor... the two chickens to the 18th century hand forged wrought iron rotisserie shaft with good quality string (not kite string). Do not ‘think’ too much about doing this JUST DO IT fast, hard and with a lot of string. The two cute small chickens don’t care and ...neither should you.
Once ‘lashed to the mast’ and exercising the option of putting (shoving), casually, some (two) ‘easy in – easy out’ additional drip pans ‘clean up’s a snap’ in the old oven ‘under the birds’... that you now easily –the old ways- slip into place in the oven... that is placed before the fire... and, again, is easily done just like it was in 1780 IN THIS SAME OLD FIREPLACE...: This is a ‘do’ project... not a ‘think’ project. This is best shown by what happens next:
NOTHING... has to be done... until the ...two small and cute chickens
ARE DONE (cooking). Sit (lie) on the sofa watching the football game and the snow falling outside and... about every twenty to thirty minutes by ‘feel’... get your lazy butt up and ‘rotate’ the rotisserie shaft “a quarter’ turn... and do that, before the fire and peeking in the oven’s back door... for about three plus hours (one chicken take a little less time). Adding wood and poking the fire is “big” (an action done too). The chickens sit in the oven and get turned and... that’s about it... until they are SLOW cooked so they are the ‘moist’ ‘falls apart’ done.
Then you take them “out” of the oven, “Off” of the shaft and set them on a platter and have a ‘someone’ “carve them” which is not needed because it is a lot easier to “pull” the serving you want and “eat that with your fingers”. WHY DO WE COOK TWO CHICKENS? So we have
ONE WHOLE fireplace cooked CHICKEN “left over”. That’s a problem; having a whole fireplace chicken left over. Yep; a big one (problem). Just put this second fireplace cooked chicken on a small plate in the... ice box... and, probably, it’ll “disappear” in a day or so. “MAKES GREAT (in the car out being antiques dealers) SANDWICHES FOR LUNCH” (reminding we use the bread we make too [Part One]).
After your all done... put the old oven back in the shed.
And stop the Maine Colonial home fireplace hearth... madness.
This (reflector cooked chicken) is not hard to do, not a ‘new’ thing, not a fashion forward thing or not a trending thing. It is a ‘cook’.... ‘chicken’ thing that goes back to the Revolutionary war... and was domestically active until the Civil War.
So that means that the ‘supply’ of the reflector ovens in use then... and still around NOW is ‘abundant’ for, like, who throws those old critters on the dump and if they do SOMEONE ELSE ‘hauls ‘em off’...: I have actually been in hoarder’s barns that have “PILES” of “THEM”. So really... “THEY” are “OUT THERE”; you will find one; an old beater too. So... in review... a lot of small cute chicken (the ‘old days’ chickens were all small and cute... “back then”) ‘got cooked’ in these because they
So are, as my own explorations confirm, ‘always found around’ ‘these old places’ because the “OLD WAYS” used them a ...lot. Once one does this (cooks using the hearth and oven) one will quickly become an expert for it is “so easy”, “smells good” when it is cooking, is ‘not messy’ and is
“REALLY GOOD TO EAT” too. AND you get to lie on the sofa and watch TV because... ‘cooking the chickens’ “in the fireplace” IS “doing something”.