Kitchen Note: Ruled By Cats. Chicken Lady Chicken. Flen.

August 6, 2016

Meet Napa.


Napa is not our cat.

Napa was here when we arrived six years ago. I learned her name from a neighbor. Napa knows a sucker when she sees one. She sat on our fence, meowing imploringly until I caved. Ever since, she asks for food by sitting outside whichever window I’m nearest, staring in at me until I feed her.

Why haven’t we adopted her? Well, we sort of have. Or perhaps I should say, she has adopted me.

Napa made her demands while I was preparing marinade for Chicken Lady Chicken. This recipe comes from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. I wasn’t following the recipe precisely–proper Chicken Lady Chicken requires finer mincing and longer marinating–but plans had changed. They so do often do. Better few hours than nothing, right?


For once I deviated from Amora mustard, using some Maille that’s been in the fridge forever. People, I live on the edge.


At this juncture I feel compelled to share I did this in less than optimally lit circumstances. Yesterday, not one but three kitchen lightbulbs died. Normally, being a together, coping adult, I have fresh new lightbulbs for just such an event. Well, technically, I do have fresh new lightbulbs at the ready. Except once I’d wrestled the stupidly designed cover from the vent hood–two dead bulbs being above the oven–I realized they were the wrong size.

Can we discuss something for a moment? Why, why, why is the vent cover over the oven light bulbs made of plastic? Subjected to the high heat of four gas burners, this plastic cover, which features four annoying little tabs, grows brittle and breaks. One is then forced to telephone Sears Customer Service, an ordeal in itself, and try to explain 1. which oven you’ve got and 2. which part you need and 3. pay once more to replace it–until it breaks again. I’m on plastic hood thingie number three.

In fairness, once reached at Sears Oven Customer Service, the humans of Sears Customer Service are invariably friendly and helpful. But reaching them…oy vey, as my people say.

So I replaced one light bulb. The kitchen light. That red fixture you see in the blog. That’s no design fancy. It’s a real fixture in my real, insufficient, currently rather dim kitchen.

Having fed Napa, and then Lucy–who wasn’t going to be left out of the action–and gotten the chicken marinating (and run some laundry and showered John while I was at it) I then turned to my bottle of Sriracha.


The piece of paper taped to the bottle’s middle says something like “Don’t buy another bottle, idiot. You have an unopened one in the pantry.”

Some readers may recall comedian Rich Hall, who invented the wonderful term “Sniglets” for words that should exist but do not. One such word is “flen,” the sticky gunk collecting around the edges of catsup bottles. I’m not sure if the definition may correctly stretch to incorporate all condiment bottles, so I hope Mr. Hall will excuse my using here if it’s not quite accurate. It is certainly apt.

I cannot stand flen, and try to avoid it by wiping bottles with white vinegar. For whatever reason, the Sriracha bottle has staunchly resisted all attempts at flen eradication. The tip is hopelessly gummed shut; repeated efforts with hot water do nothing. As the bottle is nearing empty, I’ve surrendered. Really, there are better ways to spend one’s time. Flen wins.