Today is Wednesday, and this evening my youngest brother, Andrew, will stop by the folks’ house on his way home from work and have dinner with them.
Salisbury steak will be on the menu. He’ll visit for a while, and then head on down the freeway another 10 miles or so to his house.
On the Wednesday that I was at my folks’ house toward the end of July, my dad announced that morning,
Andy’s comin’ for dinner tonight. We’re gonna have chicken
And he pulled a package of store-bought legs and thighs out of the freezer to thaw.
That set the little gray cells humming. One of my favorite ways to fix chicken is Lemon-Rubbed Chicken Legs with Garlic and Rosemary. Now, of course, a few keyboard clicks will take one to the recipe, but I first found it in Gourmet Magazine, which we subscribed to some 10 years ago, and I copied it out so I wouldn’t have to thumb through stacks of magazines to find it. It is an elegant recipe with simple ingredients and simple instructions and it is just delicious. And it just so happens that some of the key ingredients could be found in my parents’ back yard.
A smallish lemon tree grows in the strip of land boarding the driveway and the house next door, where Mrs. Amos lives.
It was growing there when we moved into the house in the early 1960s, so it is fairly old. It never got very big, it is like a banzai lemon tree. Lemons from the very top can easily be reached with a stick with a “claw picker” on the end. It has the most wonderful lemons in the world. I don’t know for sure what variety the tree is, but the lemons are sweet enough that they can actually be eaten out of hand, without salt, without too much discomfort. My father makes wonderful lemon curd from them.
And growing in the back yard is a rosemary bush that I bought as a small plant some years ago for a present for my mother.
So, I called my dearly beloved and told him where to find the recipe (in the black folder sitting next to the red binder in the bookshelf by the microwave) and I scribbled down what he said, and then I went outside and picked a lemon and snipped some rosemary. Now, once upon a time, Mr J, the neighbor on the other side, did give my other brother, Daniel, an unwanted rooster so I could demonstrate to my niece how to kill a chicken, but as I mentioned, the chicken came out of the freezer.
And we had a nice dinner, and I had a nice visit with my baby brother, and then Daniel came
and took me to listen to a municipal band play music in the park. And the people next to us had a big macaw parrot on a stand and I got to hold it. It was amazing. Good food. Good music. And an adventure with a bird.