I was staring up at the moon last night as it took its familiar place in the sheet of black canvas overhead. It was full and bright and lit up half the neighbourhood with her glow. And I was thinking about my wife and wondering if she was looking at the same moon from a thousand miles away.
Ever since I’ve known her, my wife always points up at the moon whenever we’re outside at dark. She’ll comment on how big and beautiful it is and she’ll say it’s a thing her mom and her have in common. No matter where in the world she is, that’s the one common thread that keeps them bound together.
So with my wife away this week and the common occurrences no longer common, I stick close to familiarity wherever I can find it. And I relish the chance to do the things we normally do because it keeps her close, at least it feels that way. And before bed each night I look over at the plump pillow that normally holds her shape and smile as a stream of light from the moon shines through the window and keeps me company.
When she is around we have certain routines that keep us grounded and connected. Half of the time we’re both so busy that it feels like we’re spinning in circles and we lose focus of the most important segments of our life. Each other. So we take moments like dinners at the table to reconnect. And connect.
Often it’s on a weekend night when we’ll stop what we’re doing and come together. I’ll be in the kitchen making the kind of dinner that I grew up on, like roast chicken. And she’ll be nearby watching it all unfold and setting the table proper, like she does when we’re having company over. In a way we are. We just happen to know them very, very well.
On Friday through Sunday nights I always think about meals like roast chicken or big bowls of pasta and it immediately conjures up images of family around the big dining room table. With us it’s no different. I’ll make my favourite roast chicken stuffed with lemons and herbs and garlic and we’ll sit at the table together and lose track of time. And inside I wish it never ends.
With my wife away for a few more days I take comfort in that meal, even by myself. It’s like I’m a kid again playing dress up for some event that never happens. In this case a family meal with the candles and wine and a place setting for two, with one empty seat.
Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken is really a meal meant for a family, so I open up the curtains and stare at the moon. And I smile because it feels like she’s right across the table from me, where she belongs.
From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!
Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- coarse sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 1 lemon, halved
- half garlic head, cut horizontally
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 6 sage leaves
- small handful parsley
- 4 tbsp. butter, room temperature(rub)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced(rub)
- 3 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped(rub)
- black pepper(rub)
- 1 lemon, zested(rub)
- Place oven rack in the middle. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
- Rinse bird under cold running water and then pat dry. Rub generously with sea salt on the outside. Take the half lemon, garlic head and thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley and stuff inside the chicken cavity.
- Using a small bowl, blend the butter, garlic, rosemary and lemon zest together. Add in the black pepper and rub all over the outside of the bird. Separate the skin from the breast and rub some of the mixture underneath the skin.
- Cross the legs over and bind with cooking twine.
- Place your vegetables (your preference) in a roasting pan and place the bird on top. Roast for 30 minutes at the high temperature to get the skin nice and crispy.
- Drop the temperature to 375 degrees and roast for 60 more minutes*, or until the juices run clear when pricked.
- Remove from the oven and squeeze a lemon over top and cover with aluminum foil to rest. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and serve.