; Supermarket Serenade: Bird of Paradise

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bird of Paradise

I always remember my mother telling me that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and if my 18 years (today!!) of marriage have shown anything, it would indeed be that. Not that my husband doesn’t love me for who I am, but I sometimes wonder if I closed the doors to the kitchen so to speak and prepared nothing but frozen dinners if he would still love me as much.

When my husband and I were first dating I decided that I wanted to cook him dinner-no small challenge for someone who subsisted on lunches of microwave popcorn and dinners of frozen vegetables. I scoured my meager cookbook collection-which at the time consisted of little more than the Better Homes and Garden red plaid tome and a few spiral bound community cookbooks. I settled on “Bird of Paradise” a main dish favorite in the St. Mary’s of Wappinger’s Falls Mother’s Guild Cookbook- I thought it sounded exotic. I learned my first lesson of recipe preparation: it’s all about the title. There was really nothing at all exotic about it; unless you consider Parmesan coated chicken cooked in a stick of butter a trip to paradise. (Wait a minute that might actually be paradise.) Really though, it was that simple. Not surprisingly the chicken melted in your mouth. I still remember the fragrant smell of the butter and Parmesan coated chicken after all these years. I had learned a second important lesson about recipe preparation: simple can be very satisfying.

As my future husband finished his hearty meal he had a happy and satisfied look on his face and his bright hazel eyes glistened. He took my hand and said he loved me for the first time and with that I learned the final lesson of recipe preparation: he who cooks with butter will never be lonely.

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!

Bird of Paradise
From The St. Mary’s of Wappinger’s Falls Mother’s Guild Cookbook as submitted by Jane Larsen

1/2 teaspoon salt
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
3 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup margarine (I always used butter)
1 cup sherry (the original recipe calls for cooking sherry, but I always advise against using the sherry designated “cooking” sherry)

Sprinkle the salt over the chicken breasts, then dredge in the flour. Whisk together the eggs and the milk. Dip chicken in the egg mixture and then roll in grated cheese. Heat the butter in an electric skillet at 300 degrees (electric skillet very popular in the 70’s when this cookbook was put together…I just cooked chicken in a regular skillet over medium heat). Brown the chicken on both sides for 15 minutes. Then add the cooking sherry. Cover and cook at 225 degrees for 45 minutes (if using a regular skillet reduce heat to medium low, cover and continue as directed.)


Lisa said...

Happy anniversary! Wow, 18 years!

That Girl said...

Happy Anniversary!

Anonymous said...

happy anniversary! that chicken looks delicious!

Pam said...

I love chicken with parmesan, add butter and it's perfect.

Happy anniversary!

Allie said...

Oh how sweet! Happy Anniversary!!

Maria said...

Happy Anniversary!! I hope you are doing something fun to celebrate!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! Look like a winner of a meal.

Cathy said...

This looks wonderful! Happy anniversary!

Mary said...

Happy Anniversary! I think your thoughts about cooking with butter should be expanded to include bacon..
he who cooks with butter and bacon rules the world.

Robin Sue said...

Happy anniversary! It's the simple recipes that win them over, isn't it!

Aggie said...

Happy Anniversary! I just love your story....and your chicken! Yum!

Emily said...

Happy 18th Anniversary!!! I love your story! The chicken sounds great! (Butter . . . ye-yeah!)

The Blonde Duck said...

He who cooks with butter will never be lonely! I love it! Happy Anniversary!

Grace said...

swoon! what a heartwarming story, and great dish, too.
happy anniversary to you and mr bright eyes. :)