Roast Chicken Recipe – General Public Comes to Sunday Dinner

Roast Chicken for Sunday Dinner

Recipe for Sunday Dinner Roast Chicken is at the bottom of this post. Please scroll down.

Every blog has at least one.

Some blogs, not so creative, have more.

It’s the post where you’re so deeply emotional about something, yet so uninspired to write that you reduce yourself to simply posting the lyrics of a song that moves you in the same way.

I am doing that today.

This is that post.

Hopefully, this will be the only post.

I’m not doing it because I’m lazy. Nor am I uninspired. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m so overwhelmed by this feeling of I-can’t-explain-it-even-now that any feeble attempt to express myself in my personal prosaic form would simply detract from the tragic beauty of…roasting a chicken on a Sunday afternoon.

See what I mean? Roasting a chicken on Sunday afternoon sounds so mundane, so very mechanical. I must turn to poetry. I must break out in song.

I must bite lyrics from General Public because I’m a blogger, not a goddamned poet.

I don’t know when to start or when to stop
My luck’s like a button
I can’t stop pushing it
My head feels light
But I’m still in the dark
Seems like without tenderness there’s something missing

Where is the
Where is it?

I don’t know where I am but I know I don’t like it
Open my mouth and out pops something spiteful
Words are so cheap, but they can turn out expensive
Words like conviction can turn into a sentence

Where is the
Where is it?


The ’80s was the Sunday afternoon soundtrack playing in the background as I made my first foray into the kitchen in a very long time. When iTunes flipped from It’s My Life (the original version by Talk Talk, not the surprisingly decent cover by No Doubt) to Tenderness, I was elbow deep all up inside a large chicken. I was singing along as I usually do, but after the first verse, I stopped. For the first time, I was actually listening to the words, not just hearing them.

The curse of the ’80s is that the music was so upbeat and “happy” in tempo and melody that the meaning of the words was lost. “Words are so cheap, but they can turn out expensive” not only plucked my aural neurons, but they were registering somewhere deeper, and I’m not talking about the body cavity of a raw chicken. I was stunned.

In a maneuver that would have set the Health and Safety Department’s sirens clanging, I yanked my hands out of the chicken, leaped in two death-defying bounds from the kitchen to my living room with chicken juice running dangerously down the backs of my forearms, and fumbled desperately with a mouse and a menu bar to find the Repeat feature on iTunes. Somehow I had managed to keep salmonella away from my laptop.
Though I feel stupid admitting outblog that song lyrics were affecting me so much, they were. So many areas of my life were being represented by that afternoon, underscored by a silly song from the ’80s. My full-time job was racing ahead at such an impossible speed that I couldn’t live my life. I could hardly keep up with blogging, and for some reason, what had once been a quiet hour or two of therapeutic release had deteriorated into a chore more stressful than a job. Books were stacking up on my nightstand, bindings unbroken. Magazines, into which I usually tear the minute I yank them of my mailbox, lay in piles under my coffee table still in their plastic packaging. When once I used to see at least one member of my family once a week, at least have dinner with everyone together twice a month, I barely had time for a quick hello via phone.

My life was spinning out of control, but every minute I woke up earlier, every injection of caffeine to stay up later in an effort to take control was like grasping more tightly onto one of those water worm toys. The more tightly I gripped, the faster it slipped out of my grasp. I was cranky. Stressed. Depressed. Utterly unhappy, I was spewing bitterness in every word I wrote or spoke. I wasn’t myself.

Tenderness. Where is the tenderness?

It was right there, resting on my cutting board.

Sunday Dinner Roast Chicken Recipe

Do not set your alarm. Wake up late on Sunday morning. Pull your unwashed hair into a loose ponytail, forego contact lenses for glasses, and stay in your pajamas all day. Open every window in your house and turn up ’80s music without any regard for your neighbors.

Preheat the oven to 450.

Wash and prep a 3-4 pound chicken, cutting away any excess fat and plucking off remnant feather pieces. Pat the chicken dry all over and inside.

Sprinkle the cavity with kosher salt. Place 5-6 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed with the side of a knife and one lemon, cut in half, inside the cavity. Rub the outside of the chicken with softened butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

If you’re motivated, tie the legs together, but I hardly have enough time to blog, let alone truss a bird. Place 3 stalks of celery and 3 peeled carrots in the bottom of a roasting pan to serve as a “rack.” Put the chicken breast-side up on the carrots and celery. Pull the wing tips back and tuck behind and underneath.

Roast the bird for about an hour or until done. I may fiddle with my computer with chicken juice on my hands, but I do have a strange obsession with using a thermometer to roast until a proper “safe” temperature.

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving.

Save roasted chicken bones, carrots, and celery to make chicken broth next time you need therapy.

** a year ago today, hk market was bahn-chan bar crawl **
** a year ago today, i couldn’t wait around forever for the love of my culinary life, so i settled for green tea risotto **

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Carving Institute October 8, 2007 at 2:53 am

I really like your blog. Your recipes and the pictures of food you post make me very hungry! I am living in Bangkok, and I have a business and a blog that I think would be of interest yo your readers. Perhaps we can exchange links?


2 sarah October 8, 2007 at 7:46 am

carving: thanks! and you’re free to link to my blog (this is the interwebs afterall), and i’ll take a peek at your site, though i don’t ever promise anything…


3 Claire October 9, 2007 at 1:12 pm

I’m a big fan of Sunday food-therapy, and feel that standards of dress and soundtrack should be specified in more recipes. Nice work.


4 Claire October 9, 2007 at 1:12 pm

I’m a big fan of Sunday food-therapy, and feel that standards of dress and soundtrack should be specified in more recipes. Nice work.


5 JenniferBB October 9, 2007 at 4:22 pm

What a great post–and now I’ve got that fantastic song ringing in my ears too! I used to play it on my radio show back in college–along with Talk Talk. Ah, nostalgia and classic food–a perfect combo.


6 C October 10, 2007 at 2:17 am

I think this post could be summed up as – it really is the simple things isn’t it?


7 sarah October 11, 2007 at 9:39 pm

claire: oh, honey, i absolutely agree on the outfits and soundtrack included with recipes! LOL! how awesome would that be to have a cookbook that was made like that! saturday late morning brunch, a little tupac, and buttermilk pancakes.

jenniferbb: i’m kinda having one of those ’80s moments, yannow?

c: totally. simple.


8 Sukkimi November 30, 2007 at 3:58 am


I am thinking to roast chicken…

Wanna ask, u put the chicken on tray and not wire rack ?

Do you think i can stuff some rice inside the chicken then tie the leg ?



9 sarah November 30, 2007 at 6:04 am

sukkimi: i didn’t put the chicken on a rack – just threw that baby into a roasting pan and let ‘er rip. racks are too fancy for a rustic roast chicken on sunday night!

turkey, however, i don’t put straight down on a tray. i did a rack one year, but it made the turkey look all wrinkled. now i just lay the turkey down on stalks of celery and carrots to lift it up from the surface of the pan a little.

as far as stuffing the chicken – i don’t, but i’m sure it’s tasty!

best of luck to you, and let us know how your roast chicken turns out!


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