"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Rice with chicken crap

by Julie Tilsner on February 6, 2007

in Kid Food, Soup is Easy, Stuff the Kids Won't Eat, Soups

It’s hard being a creative type. Sometimes I get inspired to write something or dance something or…cook something…and nobody else on the planet gets it. I am shunned. Ostracized. I get funny looks from my peers and puzzled, “we still love you Mommy” glances from my progeny.

I persevere. Yesterday found me at 5 p.m. scratching my head and wondering once again what to feed the nits for dinner. I had a brainstorm. One of my hardy perennials is lentils over rice: A can of Progresso Lentil soup thrown over basmati rice. My kids love it. But I didn’t have any Progresso lentil soup. It’s gotten hard to find, for some reason. My friend Joey and I exchange hot tips on where to find it around town (“They’ve got it at Smart N’ Final! Get over here!”). Tony lucked into three cans of the stuff on a shopping trip to Von’s lately, and cleverly bought them all. Alas, I went through it.

What I did have, however, was a can of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup.

What if I made that and threw it over rice? Wouldn’t it be sort of a creamy, Lebanese-style chicken and rice sorta thing?

So I open the can, taking great care to ignore the 2003 “best by” date on the bottom of the can. It’s canned, right? It’s all preservatives. And everyone knows Campbell’s soups have enough sodium to pickle a small mammal. It’ll be fine.

Indeed, I shake the cylinder-shaped mass of…chickenish stuff into the saucepan, where it lolls horrifically. Thank God the kids are in the other room because this is like making sausage: You really don’t want to see what goes into it. I am still operating under the delusion that they will find this dish palatable enough for me to include it on the regular weekday menu, and yet I’m still cogent enough to know that one glimpse of what currently quivers in my saucepan would put them off of anything I make them forever. I use one half cup water and one half cup milk to cook the stuff up and make it really creamy.

Ah! Cream of chicken soup! Nice ocher color. I ladle some over a nice bowl of fragrant Basmatti rice and mix it in.

I try it. It’s good! Warm! Filling!

I put two bowls out for the kids, plus a little dish of carrots.

They run into the kitchen. They’re starving, they say. Then they stop short when they see what’s on the table.

“What’s that?” asks the boy.

“Rice with chicken sauce,” I say, wishing I could think of a more enticing name. My own working title  for this dish is rice with chicken crap, but I keep that to myself for now.

He looks at me like I’m Andrea Yates.

“It looks gross,” he says.

“It tastes great,” I counter.

“I’m not gonna taste it,” he says.

“You have to at least taste it before you can tell me you don’t like it.”

He looks at me. I look at him. I see what’s happening. So as the Mother, the custodial parent and number one authority, I play the best card I have.

I bribe him.

“I’ll give you a dollar if you take a bite,” I say, thinking that surely once he tastes the concoction of starch and chicken sauce, he’ll love it, and fill his belly.

“Show me the dollar.” Where’s a six-year-old getting this kind of mercenary talk? I show him the dollar. He takes a bite. Then puts out his hand. He does not take another bite. He focuses his attention instead on the carrots and his glass of milk.

I’m forced to bribe his older sister, too. She takes three bites before pushing the bowl away. I end up eating the better part of their bowls myself, because I’m starving and I, at least, find rice with chicken crap comforting. I wait all night for them to tell me they’re hungry, but they don’t.

Maybe they’re afraid I’ll cook something new for them again.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

BaddAss MisterJ February 7, 2007 at 4:45 am

Hillarious!!! Man I love it when there are kids to challenge in taste! Now for Mr. J’s tip… “When in doubt, just top it w/ shredded cheese!!!” Kids need something that they will recognize. What also works is the “Mmmmm-Factor” That’s when you start eating and say “Mmmmmm” hoping to entice interests. Another thing you could try if you attempt to make Chicken Crap again, is to place the bowls under the broiler to make a crust or use on of them mini torches sorta like a Creme Brulee. When all else fails call for Pizza Delivery! It’s the American way…
Now as I send this, I will read it again for I can have another good laugh!


janelle February 7, 2007 at 2:23 pm

I loved it! Unabashed, tickling humor.
Hmmmmm, Trader Joes has these pre-made lentils and it is easy to find some rice… maybe some piled shredded chicken on top? I wonder…


AT February 8, 2007 at 9:08 am

JT, what is that strange little thing just to the right of the soup can?
Anyway, your discourse here is uproarious. I guess I’m on a new quest for more Progresso Lentil Soup…more soup for you-!


Knox Gardner February 20, 2007 at 10:38 pm

OH MY GOD. My side hurts. It really does.
“Show me the dollar!” Ha. Ha. Ha.


JRS April 4, 2007 at 9:23 pm

That was hysterical, Julie. I myself, in a neverending quest to find easy but at least semi-appealing vegetarian food for my boys, have eyed a can or two of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom, wondering what I might be able to do with it. Now I know the answer–NOTHING!!


Jtil March 1, 2008 at 10:05 pm

it really was disgusting! -from Annie


Flirting Tips May 3, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Sounds a lot like haystacks, yes? YOu get the chicken crap, then pour it over cooked rice and add in your favorite mix of veggies, chow mein, cheese, etc etc. Its tasty!


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