I’ll get my butter chicken sooner or poulet-er.

After a late night and a day spent in bed I’ve got no energy. I’m sapped and I don’t know where the last 7 hours have gone. I didn’t eat anything until around 8pm and consequently I had nothing in the tank. Everything got put in the too hard basket. The molehill of getting dinner became Everest. Being a Saturday night, all of my mates were busy. I couldn’t be bothered cooking, but in the chilling autumnal temperatures of good ol’ Canadaland, the thought of putting on pants and leaving the house to have a meal on my own was unappealing at best, verboten in truth. Delivery, I decided. Since leaving home, I’ve never ordered delivery food to my door. The concept seemed fresh, exciting, even if it’s the reality of many. I got worked up over the idea and started scouting sites. Minimum dollar values on orders, delivery charges plus tax plus tips. Shit, laziness has its cost. I looked in my wallet: $15. I was screwed. Dreams of warm comfort food faded into obsolescence. No butter chicken, pad see ew or wonton noodle soup. Mac and Cheese even seemed the ticket, but nothing was to come. Goddamn.

I surveyed my options. Nothing appealing was in a 5 minute radius. I wanted something warm, greasy and fatty. Chunks of meat with a gooey sauce. Something that had the consistency of my messy emotional state. The 24 hour supermarket is about 5 minutes walk, but my disinterest in cooking and more prudent wariness over setting foot outside the door stayed my hand. I was limited to what I could find around the house. Sitting on the shelf was a 1.5l bottle of wine. I’m sure you all noted the past tense in that sentence. Nothing escapes you. Present tense would be fine too, I didn’t have it in me to drink on my own tonight, let alone a desperate amount of subpar vino. I tried my best, ransacking the cupboards in search of slop. Where was my emergency junk food? Pizza bases? Burgers? Cheese? Nothing. Unfortunately for me, Past Leon’s plan had been successful. A while back I decided the best way to insure myself against massive binges was simply to remove the option of anything potentially damaging. As it stood, the most unhealthy thing I could find was an apple. Sweet, cold, crunchy and delicious (especially when eaten in a steaming hot shower), but none too filling. My choices came between tinned fish or roasted chicken breast with steamed carrots, kale and broccoli. Okay Past Leon, you win this one, you handsome rebellious rogue you.

Chicken breast has made me realise that, provided you have access to an oven and oven tray, you have no excuse to not be able to make a tasty, filling dinner. That just sounded like I haven’t been cooking for myself for years. I have. I can slice my way around a kitchen bench like any amateur. My cooking style is scattershot- I just grab things and assume they’ll work. Often they do. Chicken breast though, is dead easy. Here are my steps for the perfect chicken breast.

1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius (450 Fahrenheit).
2. Spice your chicken breast with whatever you’ve got lying in the cupboard. Cumin? Lemon? Salt/pepper? Chicken goes with anything.
3. Put the chicken into the oven on some tinfoil for 11 minutes.
4. Flip the chicken and put it back in for 10.
5. Take it out and let it rest for a minute.

That’s it. Done. Turn an oven on, put on some salt, then turn it after 10 minutes. Zero excuses. Throw together some steamed veggies (Don’t have a veggie steamer? Just chop the veggies, put them in some tupperware with 1-2cm of water (depending on the container) and put them into the microwave for 4 minutes) and you’ve got a meal. It may not have been the grease buffet I craved, but if I’m gonna face penance for my own laziness then a healthy meal is the least of my problems.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think Past Leon is a dweeb.


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