Don’t ask me why, but Amazon recommended “100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know” to me about a month ago. I like to cook as well as buy cookbooks on the reg, so at first glace, this recommendation totally made sense. The thing is, the sub-title continued with “Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get Everything You Want in Life.” Huh? What?!! Okay, at that point, I had to click. What the heck is Engagement Chicken? I read on to learn that a Glamour fashion editor handed the recipe down to an assistant who made it for her bf and got engaged. They then passed it onto other staff members who also got engaged. The Legend of Engagement Chicken begins.. more on that later. It went on to say that, “more than 60 women have gotten engaged after making the dish.”
I. Was. Intrigued.
Naturally, I quickly sent the link with a snarky comment to Mark. Much to my surprise, he said that he wanted to try this magic recipe. And so it began.
I’ve gotta throw a big freaking disclaimer out there. As I mentioned, Mark specifically asked me to make him voodoo chicken, strictly for kicks. We believed this culinary act could not influence the healthy progression of our relationship. This….. was for science.
I chose 3 recipes from the cookbook for a lazy Sunday night dinner. The famous (infamous??) Engagement Chicken, a roasted tomato Please-a-Crowd Salad, and Baked New Potatoes with a cheese/herb topping.
The potatoes were very tasty, though I think I will adjust the topping next time around to be a little cheesier. I cut down on cook time by boiling my potatoes in halves. After about 20 minutes in the oven, they were nicely browned and the skin had a crispy texture. The book recommends choosing between several toppings, all which sound yummy. I went with the garlic/herb/cheese/butter blend because I had the ingredients… and because butter, garlic, and cheese are amazing. I will definitely be making these again, they even reheated well the next day!
The salad was GOOD. What a fantastic summer recipe, further enhanced by using Mark-grown tomatoes. It said to use arugula or baby spinach. I chose the former because I heart arugula. The dressing was simple to prepare and was surprisingly flavorful considering the minimal ingredients. I made this dressing again later in the week to go with a simple green salad and it was just as good. Gorgonzola was the perfect complement to the tangy tomatoes. I seriously can’t wait to make this again.
As for the chicken? Delicious. It was the easiest roasted chicken recipe I have ever prepared with little room for error. The bird was moist as heck and the skin was browned to perfection. The meat fell right off the bone and the sauce was delicious. Total new go-to recipe for me. I would recommend it to absolutely anyone for that make-your-house-smell-amazing-just-like-mom’s-used-to type of meal. I garnished mine with lemon slices and herbs and it looked quite nice.
Mark was a big fan of the meal. He said it was super good and was surprised when I told him how simple it really was to make. He also praised the presentation (that was all me, ahem). While the chicken did not hypnotize him to get on one knee, he liked the meal so much that after we finished cleaning up the kitchen, he told me to get in the car because he wanted to treat me to dessert. It was already 10PM on a Sunday. Turns out, he took me straight to Disneyland!!! It’s kinda “our place.” Sigh. He still gives me butterflies.
The Legend of Engagement Chicken Success stories surrounding Engagement Chicken in 100 Recipes.. claim, “I know-it was the chicken,” a pair of sisters, both getting engaged after their chicken was consumed, “you ate the chicken, and I got the ring… that’s what matters” (I’m going to let you choke on that last one for a minute) and many, many more. My theory? If you do not regularly cook for your significant other, making this “mom style” meal is going to be attractive to him in a way that pretty underthings are not. It adds that last ingredient to your relationship that lets him daydream of a future coming home from a hard day at the office to prepared meals (and maybe you in those pretty underthings). If you, like me, often enjoy cooking, particularly for your boyfriend.. this chicken does nothing in terms of getting you any closer to a proposal. The thought of you slaving away in the kitchen isn’t the last ingredient your man is looking for (maybe you need to invest in new pretty underthings).
So while “he got the chicken and I didn’t get the ring” (eye roll to the max), I got a verbal reminder that I’m his only one, and on top of that, an insanely amazing cupcake at the Happiest Place On Earth.. and that, my friends, is good enough for me. :)
tl;dr – Engagement Chicken is easy and delicious, doesn’t trick great boyfriends into engagement.