Ain't nobody here but us chickens. (French Fridays with Dorie: Chicken in a Pot - the Garlic and Lemon Version)

One day, four years and some odd months ago, I sent an e-mail to join this cooking club that had started a couple of weeks prior. It was from this book of French type food that was written by a baking book author that seemed pretty interesting.

A few days later, my very first French Fridays post went up - Marie Helene's apple cake. Of course, I followed the directions for my very first recipe, right? No. Apparently, I started this venture as I meant to continue it.


Little did I know how much that copy of Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table was going to impact my life. It doesn't seem possible that I've now cooked every single recipe out of that book. Sure, I expected it to bump of my cooking skills; I didn't expect the friendships that would come out of it and the opportunities it would bring.

There will be some celebration and lessons learned posts coming out over the next few weeks. I have so much to say, but no words to say them. For now, let's talk about the very last recipe - the cover recipe.

I had very grand plans for this chicken in a pot (you can find the recipe here). This is a recipe that I had made before, so I felt pretty good about a successful finish to this adventure of ours.

But, as someone once said...
"Because things don't always work out the way you thought they would - both in life & in the kitchen..."

Unfortunately, right during that window when I planned on executing this, life conspired to keep me away from the house and any semblance of daylight. By the time the chicken came out of the oven, it was after 8:00 and all I wanted to do was eat my stinking dinner.

Pretty inglorious, no?

My pretty dough ring was a flabby mess. One side of the chicken stuck to the pot while I was trying to brown it - I didn't even try to flip it and brown the other side. I was getting sick of browning vegetables, so I stopped. I had already destroyed another recipe earlier in the day. It was way too dark to take any pictures. I hadn't even eaten and I felt like I had failed already. And I was feeling a little grumpy that the series finale of Mad Men was starting in a couple of hours.

At which point I realized that I needed to stop beating myself up. This was not the time to be self-critical (life offers of plenty of other opportunities for that). It was okay that it wasn't perfect. It wasn't the first time things didn't work out the way I wanted and it certainly wouldn't be the last.

Four and a half years ago when it came to whole chickens, I. Just. Couldn't; now, roasted whole chickens are a house staple (It still skeves me out if I think about, but it's become so much easier).

Heck, I just cooked all the way through a cookbook. All. The. Way. Through. a great, big, fat cookbook, nonetheless.

It wasn't time to be miserable. It was time to celebrate!

It seems fitting that I am headed into NYC tomorrow for a Dorista meetup. Although the food has been good, it has been the people that have made this all worthwhile. I am going to stop writing before I get all misty eyed or something (besides, that is a post for another week).

Peace out.


This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie - an online cooking group that has cooked all the way through Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. The book may be done, but we still have a few weeks to go! Stay tuned...


  1. A Dorista meetup on the East coast? What? BIG sad face over here....
    Anyway.... Cher, your posts have been something I've looked forward to reading every week over the past four+ years and I have learned SO much from you. Because life doesn't always go the way you are expecting! Brava, friend!

  2. I remember about the Memorial Day weekend meet up. I was suppose to be in the woods and now I am driving my daughter here and there.... bummer. Have a fantastic time and I will see in the Fall. Congrats on completing the whole book. I may never get there.

  3. You deserve a special commendation for cooking every recipe! I think you and Mardi might be the only two. Roasted chickens. I still find them unpredictable. Doristas in NY! Enjoy:)

  4. Kudos to you for cooking every recipe! I May never do them all. I have abt 20 to go, mostly involving things that skeeve me out. Major props to you, Cher!

  5. Do you smell cinnamon?

    I have so enjoyed your unique commentary along this journey my dear. But I do have to chuckle a bit as your attitude toward this dish was the complete opposite of mine. It was the last. I had to make it perfectly. I had to follow the instructions TO THE LETTER. Which, of course, is the antithesis of what we are to learn from AMFT, isn't it? In a way it was my own tribute. Heck, I even copied her photo styling. I'm proud of you for making a whole roast chicken a current staple and HURRAH for having completed everything! I do hope you will stick around to support those of us with a few more recipes to complete.

  6. Dear Cher - congratulations for having cooked every single recipe of Dorie´s book! You and Mardi certainly deserve extra kudos for that task! Marie-Hélène´s Apple Cake is my kids favorite cake from the book - I still enjoy making it, even after making it for countless birthdays, Sunday teas and just because...Thank you for all your wonderful posts, including this one which I always enjoyed and still enjoy reading. And your continued support and your interest!

  7. Cher, I am proud of you, and I am proud to have met you twice. This whole
    adventure really perked up a so called "senior citizen", which, incidentally,
    I don't believe in. Ask Patti. I had such fun in NY, and I hope we will continue to be friends and meet up again soon.

  8. Yay for finishing! I have enjoyed your posts over the years, and look forward to seeing what our next adventures may be!

  9. You said it. Congrats on making all the recipes. I still have a handful unmade. Not sure when (if) I'll get to them. I certainly have looked forward to your posts every week. You keep things real and in perspective. I'm thrilled to have shared this journey with you. It is the people that have "made" this experience. Give everyone hugs in NYC. Looking forward to the next time we meet.

  10. Cher, you are a marvel! I know that over the years, your schedule has been often extremely hectic, but you did it! Every recipe. I am in awe. I will not ever make all of these, though there are several that I'm so sorry I missed for whatever reason (like LIFE).

    Your writing is so delightful, and I hope that we will be able to meet. I too love the apple cake - made a zillion times too. And I'm sure your chicken was tasty - I can relate to your experience! I made mine after getting home from a business trip late. But! Needed to come in at the finish line with all of you. So well done! and on to our next month of reflection. I can't wait to read what you have to say!!

  11. That's quite a feat. I have two left unfinished and I think that will probably still be the count in 4 weeks.

    I agree that now is not the time to beat yourself up. It's a bummer that your last one didn't come together the way you wanted, but sometimes it just seems to be the way of things. You've had so much success over the course of this adventure, many of your creative modifications looked cookbook worthy.

    Have fun at your Dorista meet up. I hope to be able to participate one of these days:-(

  12. I'm so impressed with you and Mardi and Karen! I'm about twenty recipes behind, but I'll get there eventually.

    I agree with you about the people - that's been the most important part of this group, along with all the learning and boundary-stretching we've done in the kitchen.

    It was so lovely to see a photo of your Dorista meetup on Instagram today - you all looked so happy! :)

  13. That is so amazing that you have cooked the entire book! I bet you all had a fabulous time at the Dorista meetup and I look forward to the next few weeks of posts, Cher.

  14. Absolutely, this was a celebration. Your chicken looks great. It was wonderful to meet you, Joe and Sarah - so much fun!

  15. Yay you for knocking out all the recipes !! That is truly impressive and I am so proud of you. Even more so because I know that you have been a consistent member of the Tuesday's group as well and while you mention that those groups are "only every two weeks" - that is enough to add quite a hurdle to my own schedule. And of course it is not just the recipes, but you are an utter rock star when it comes to the commenting. Your consistency is off the charts and I am so indebted to each time you have come to our little old blog and left some cheer. It really means so much to my Mom and I. Not to mention getting to meet you in person. I have had that treat several times and look forward to more occasions in the future. I am writing this from a last minute but much appreciated get away to Vermont while learning you are south in the Big Apple. Too funny. So glad to see the smiling faces of the meeting Doristas. And lest I forget, your chicken looks ab fab. As always, thanks for keeping it real and PEACE OUT. :)

  16. Cher, As always, your post never disappoints! This is truly a celebration! It was so great meeting up with you, Sarah, Joe, Gaye and Tim! It is not goodbye…but till we meet again!
    Yeah for getting all the recipes done…I am about 15-or so short. You are a very special person, I am so glad I got to know you personally!
    BTW...Your chicken looks fabulous!

  17. You are so right about the people, Doristas are so nice and welcoming. I have loved reading your blog weekly and laughing along the way. It will be fun to keep in touch on TWD.

  18. Every. Single. Recipe! A triumph! Stuck chicken and all. What a wonderful adventure and, you're right, it's the people who make it wonderful. xo to wonderful you - Dorie


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