Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! pseudo-retro edition: delicious chicken parts, crispy potatoes, and a bit of nostalgia

There's some back story to the chosen recipe for this week's Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! When I was a kid, maybe around Daniel's age, my mom saved a bunch of proofs of purchase from Gold Medal Flour and got a free children's cookbook called Alpha-Bakery! Or maybe she had to send a check for $2 or something to pay for the postage, I don't remember. I also don't remember how many of the recipes we actually made, but I remember looking through it many times because I liked the hilarious illustrations and fun recipe titles like "Elephant Ears" and "Xtra-Special Celebration Cake." When I told my mom about our Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! experiment, she sent me Alpha-Bakery in case it would help inspire some menu ideas.

As you might surmise from the title, Alpha-Bakery includes 26 recipes, one for each letter of the alphabet. They all are fairly simple, all call for Gold Medal brand flour, and all are geared towards what children presumably like to eat, particularly children in the 1980s as the book was published in 1987. I'm pretty sure we never made "Q is for Quick Cheeseburger Pie" when I was a kid, but I bet I would have liked it at the time. It actually calls for chopped dill pickles and dill pickle liquid. And milk.

When the book arrived a few weeks ago, Anya and I looked through it and read through every single recipe. She actually read every ingredient list out loud. She was not impressed with the recipe for Quick Cheeseburger Pie, thankfully, but one called "Delicious Drumsticks" caught her eye, so we put it on the list for Tuesday Night Fun Cooking!

I'd say this week's Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! is retro, but I've never made anything like "Delicious Drumsticks" in my life, nor do I remember eating anything like it as a child. I don't even know that we had chicken all that often; my mom's brothers raise grass-fed cattle so we were always well-stocked with beef and ate a lot of that. In any case, given the history of the Alpha-Bakery cookbook and its re-apparance in my life, we can call this edition of Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! pseudo-retro.

The "Delicious Drumsticks" recipe really is quite easy. The only hiccup, really, was when I went to buy drumsticks during my weekend grocery trip and The Conscious Carnivore (which is a fantastic butcher shop, and if you're local to the Madison area and you're not vegetarian I highly, highly recommend it) didn't have any drumsticks. Not unless I bought several whole chickens just for the drumsticks but there was no way I was going to do that. I contemplated a special order, which wouldn't have cost extra but would have taken a week to come in and thus would have disrupted our Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! plans, and decided to buy thighs instead. "Delicious Thighs" doesn't have the same ring as "Delicious Drumsticks" (plus it sounds kinda risqué for a kid activity don't you think?!)...so I'm not sure what to call it.

Contemplating how to measure 1/4 cup butter from a stick wrapped in paper. This photo is TOTALLY posed because 2 minutes before I took it they were fighting over who got to unwrap the butter. Yes, really.

Scooping flour

Grinding pepper

Stirring the flour mixture. This took for.ev.er. because he had to pretend it was a volcano first.

Dipping chicken parts.

Daniel REALLY doesn't like handling raw meat. 

We also recently came upon a recipe for homemade potato crisps that the kids love and they usually don't like potatoes at all, so we made those to go with the Delicious...chicken parts. They wanted to slice the potatoes themselves but that made me so nervous - rolypoly potato, big sharp knife, innocent little fingers - that after they each did about 3 slices I took over. They had fun pouring olive oil, sprinkling salt and grinding pepper, though. In fact, it was a little too much olive oil (that's what you get for giving a 7yo a giant jug of olive oil, no measuring apparatus, and the instructions, "just a quick little glug") but those potatoes were delicious, if a tad too greasy.

(Insert sharp intake of breath here.)
Ay yi yi.
Getting silly with potato slices.
In fact, the only thing I would change about this meal is that the chicken and potato crisps both made for a rather heavy meal. That chicken was really tasty but fairly greasy, and a side of rice pilaf or bread or plain mashed potatoes or any starch not smothered in oil might be a better choice in the future. That said, everything was delicious and the kids gobbled it up, even the side salad I made while the chicken and potatoes were baking, so all in all I'd say the meal was a success!

Delicious Drumsticks (from Alpha-Bakery Children's Cookbook):

1/2 cup flour (Gold Medal, of course!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
6 drumsticks (about 1.5 lbs)

1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted and cooled (Margarine? How 80s is THAT?)
Heat oven to 425.
Mix flour, salt, paprika and pepper in a bowl.
Dip chicken drumsticks into butter; roll in flour mixture to coat.
Arrange in an ungreased pan.
Bake uncovered until done, about 50 minutes.

Potato Crisps:

Slice several potatoes (russets are best, truly) 1/8" thick, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Toss the slices with a couple tablespoons olive oil, appropriate salt and freshly ground pepper. You don't really need that much olive oil, just enough to coat. Spread on a large baking sheet or two (depending on how much you're making) and bake at 400 or 425 until the slices are nice and crisp, 20-25 minutes.

Oven baked chicken, potato crisps (with ketchup of course) and salad. Pretty good.
I have to add here that this recipe was GREAT for Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! because the prep was relatively short and then everything had to bake for a while, giving me a change to send the kids downstairs for a little screen time while I cleaned up and got the salad ready. Win-win. Sometimes it's mad rush right until you eat, but not this time.


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