Sick, sick, and even more sick. Since Thursday, I've battled fever, swollen glands, and enough snot to drown large mammals.
What do you cook when you can't smell, you can't focus your watery eyes, and the last thing you want to do is stand on your feet while you figure out something complicated over the stove? The answer is very simple: a roast chicken. The beauty of this meal is that it lasts over the course of your illness. You can eat it with a roast sweet potato and coleslaw when you're in the denial stage, make sandwiches with it when you've accepted your illness, and make a garlicky soup with it when you're ready to just get the damn thing over with.
Liberally salt a small chicken, slide a few branches of thyme under the skin, and set the chicken in the refrigerator overnight. When you're ready to start thinking about food, preheat the oven to 480 degrees Fahrenheit, take the chicken out of the refrigerator, set it on a cutting board and pat the whole thing dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Set your cast iron skillet on the burner to get nice and hot, then, place the chicken--breast side up--in the skillet. Protecting your hand with a mitt, place the hot skillet in the oven. Go take a decongestant-induced half hour nap. Come back, remove the skillet from the oven, and using large forks, flip the chicken over to be back side up. Place it back in the oven and take another nap, this time only twenty minutes long. When you return to the kitchen, your chicken will be almost ready. Take the skillet out of the oven and flip the bird over one more time, breast side facing up again, and place it in the oven to re-crisp the skin over the breast and legs. This should only take five or ten minutes, enough time to down a combination of Airborne, echinacea, and Tylenol. Remove the skillet from the oven, place the bird on a platter, and let it rest for a couple minutes. The skin will be crispy brown all over and you may even get a whiff of it's delicious thyme-y sent through those clogged up nostrils. If you're feeling half conscious, you can figure out something to do with the drippings; don't feel guilty if you don't do anything with the drippings though. Take solace in the fact that your nose is dripping so much you can't even take the word "drippings" seriously, and if you were healthy, you'd come up with something wonderful to do. Tell yourself that when you're healthy, you are master of all that is culinary, and when you are sick, you can still roast up a tasty little fryer.