“Ya wannit in fourths or ya wannit in eighths?”, he asked in an unequivocal New York accent resilient to thirty years of South Florida living.The man behind the meat counter was an oxymoron of sorts. Tall and hefty, he held his cleaver with calloused fingers poised to attack the organic remnants of the chicken I ordered (I would name her Molly, but that would come later). The blade was sparkling, befitting of a Hitchcock scene or the prized collection of Julia Child and appeared both perfect and mismatched with his once-white butcher’s coat, now a patchwork of assorted animal DNA. This was a man that was tough but gentle and had the bloodstains to prove it.”Miss? Fourths or Eighths?”, he pressed, this time a bit annoyed.”No. None”, I responded. “I will do it myself.”His face fell in rhythm with his cleaver as a glazed look of amusement and confusion temporarily drifted over his icy blue eyes, which then quickly snapped back into focus. Was that a smirk I saw reverberate inside Big Butcher Man, almost as if to say this petite 5″5 lady isn’t up to the task of quartering my free range baby? Instantly I accepted the muted challenge and took an assertive step forward on my silver platform Volatile sandals (it’s the only way I get to the 5″5 realm). Like a rooster puffing out its chest, I took a big breath in and faced my 6″4 burly rival with bravery and gusto, all the while looking him straight in the eye (after all, I have icy blues too.) A sudden urge to grab his cleaver and show this smug giant how well this mamacita can hack meat overtook me and I had to muster all the self-restraint of a compliant customer to hold me back from my attack. After all, even though I have my issues with this overrated and overpriced organic monopoly, I do need to be allowed back in. Butcher Man sized up the crazy glare in my eyes and managed a quick “suit yourself”, while quietly wrapping the prized poultry in butcher paper.”Most definitely shall,” I sputtered back triumphantly, appreciating the fact that making this man’s job easier was, in our distorted duel, a victory of mine. I would go home and chop while his cleaver remained clean. Argentine Roast Chicken With Vegetables and Chimichurri Sauce(adapted from Naomi Sisson, in The Foods of Israel Today), NYT Jewish Cookbook1/4 cup vinegar1 tablespoon ground cumin1 teaspoon sweet paprika1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes1 head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano1/2 cup vegetable or olive oilsalt to tastefresh ground pepper to taste1 (3-pound) roasting chicken, cut up2 large bell peppers, diced3 large tomatoes, sliced5 large potatoes, peeled and each cut into 6 large chunks1. Combine vinegar, cumin, paprika, hot pepper flakes, crushed garlic and oregano in a small bowl. Whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken, rubbing skin well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 2. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large baking pan. Add peppers, then tomatoes. Place chicken, skin side down, on top, pouring half the marinade over. Scatter potatoes around chicken.3. Roast 20 minutes, then turn chicken pieces over and continue roasting until the chicken is crispy on top, about 30 minutes more.
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