Never to be discouraged, I embraced my new role as wingback. For me, playing defense was always relatively simple: A) Find the man with the ball B) Tackle the man with the ball. Offense, however presented new challenges: memorizing plays, adjusting to different assignments, and working off the snap count.
Thankfully, I caught on fairly fast. As a former linebacker, I was accustomed to playing physical football. I had no problem making blocks at full speed against linemen twice my size. In fact, I enjoyed the challenge. That was of course, until I attempted to thwart an oncoming pass rush.
Standing in the slot position, I was set to defend an oncoming defensive end from reaching the quarterback. When the ball was snapped, I went on the attack. I was determined to show this guy who was boss, and more importantly, end practice early. With my eyes fixated on the numbers on his jersey, I went for the big hit . . . darkness.
Though I’m no longer on the football field, I’m constantly reminded of that lesson throughout my life. Whenever taking on a new challenge, it’s important to master the fundamentals. Taking shortcuts or relying on luck will only take one so far.
Today, in my role as a food and lifestyle writer, the problem I most encounter is that readers lack fundamentals in the kitchen. I’m not talking about how to boil water – that excuse is more about ignorance than anything else. Instead, I’m talking about the basic skills or recipes that each man should possess as part of their culinary repertoire.
Over the past year, I’ve been fortunate to write several posts for The Art of Manliness related to easy, healthy, and simple meals. Now that I’ll be taking on a monthly column, I figured it prudent to get back to the fundamentals.
I’m starting off this month with a simple, yet elegant dish that will serve each of you well throughout your life. A whole roasted chicken is an incredibly affordable and foolproof way to entertain guests or feed a family. Better yet, it’s another one skillet meal.
Spend about 30 minutes putting this dish together, and move on to other tasks while waiting for the oven to do it’s magic. The aromas coming out of your kitchen will be incredible, but do not open the oven until at least an hour and fifteen minutes into the process. Trust me. Cracking the oven door will release all of the heat, stalling the cooking process.
Serve with either a dry white wine or lighter reds (Pinot Noir, Cotes du Rhone, etc.)
1 5 – 6 lb Roaster Chicken
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Head Garlic, cut in half
2 lbs Petite Red Potatoes, quartered
1 Red Onion, roughly chopped
10 Carrots, peeled
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Thoroughly rinse chicken, removing neck and giblets, and pat dry. Coat the outside of the chicken with olive oil and season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Season the cavity with salt and pepper and stuff with garlic, ½ lemon, and about 10 sprigs of fresh thyme. Carefully pull back the skin from the breast, creating a small pocket, and work about a tablespoon of butter between the skin and the meat for each breast. Finally, tie the legs together using butchers twine. In a shallow roasting pan or large cast iron skillet, add the remaining vegetables. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss until evenly distributed. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables (breast side up) and roast in the oven, 1 hour 15 minutes – 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh.