Chicken pot-pie is an intangible. It is a piece of every memory that anyone has from the 50's and 60's. A simple dish that says so much about that era in America. It had reached the endangered foods list yet, somehow, has made a resurgence. Chicken pot-pie is coming back.
The first (and only) time I've had chicken pot-pie was at outdoor school last October. Outdoor school is the M.E.S.D.'s (Multnomah Educational Service District) way to get all 6th graders into the woods for a week. Summer Camps are rented in spring and fall where lucky sixth graders are bused in for a week in the woods. I have memories of "eagle eye" tag, the first time I shot a bow, singing camp songs with my friends on the way back to school on a Friday and most of all the dinner we had that Thursday -- Chicken Pot-Pie. It was served in a great big aluminum/tin foil bowl almost two feet by one foot. I remember that the 8 people at my table ate one huge bowl together. Then me and my friend Oscar went and got seconds which we devoured on our own.
The cooking is at a standstill. We had tenderized the veggies (carrot, celery and red potatoes) and mixed them with the chicken meat (we ate most of a roast chicken last night while watching The Twin Towers the second movie in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, so tonight we are using the leftovers.) Then we realized that we were out of onions. "Mom, are we out of onions?"
"Honey we're never out of onions, are you sure your looking in the right place? When you made spaghetti and meatballs you didn't know where we kept the onions."
Well Dad's back from the store now and I should be cooking.
A whirl of activity. Nutmeg, grated, thyme and parsley chopped. Steam rising. Salt, pepper. Onions and chicken broth! 3/4 stick of butter. Cheddar cheese in the biscuit crust. Oven preheated to 450 degrees. We're in the eye-of-the-storm now. It's become my favorite part of cooking. A chance to sit back in your kitchen, let the smells of your creation permeate your soul. The sounds of AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long pouring in with the songs of the birds in your backyard. The sun coming in the window. The beautiful mess of your cooking implements before you. The dogs asleep at you feet. It's then that you know you've succeeded. Like the moment in a marathon: your dragging your feet when you look up, you're a block from the finish, and you realize that nobodies broken the tape yet, knowledge that you will complete what you set out to do, and if anything, exceed your own expectations. So to everyone else out their remember that cooking is a marathon. You must fight your own ideas of what you can do, you must remember that anything you set your mind to is possible. And most of all remember that in the end you're going to have to eat what you cook, so don't cook broccoli. Cook and eat chicken pot-pie.
And then eat ice cream and cookies for desert! The pot-pie was awesome though a little watery if you ask me. (I need to write note in the cookbook for only 2 cups of chicken broth.) But it was exactly what I remembered it being. A bunch of vegetables, that, to use the cliche, taste like chicken. Yum. I would have gone for seconds. If we'd had any...