This week was half-term, so naturally it rained nearly every day. There are only so many times a girl can go to the soft play place– even thrashing around in a ball pit gets old after a while– so T and the Bean spent some downtime “doing Angry Birds”, as Bean put it. This involved creative use of the ottoman and some mobility bands we had lying around the house:
It also involved abuse of Nemo. However, there was a lot of hooting and cackling and shouts of “Dad! Go be a green pig!” All in all, a successful way to spend the afternoon.
Today, however, the weather was altogether different: sunny, a light breeze, about 72 degrees F. Perfect for hanging in the park– which we did, after turning up for E’s ballet class only to realize it had been cancelled due to the half-term holiday. So instead of scampering about in tights pretending to be a scary cat/ fairy princess, Bean had a cupcake, ran around and went up and down slides, yelled at the geese, counted bikes. When we put her back in the car at about 11:30 she told us she was hungry… for “hamchicken”.
Trev and I looked at one another: hamchicken? This was a new word for both of us, and we would have to figure out what it meant somehow. A neurotypical child would be able to answer a battery of questions. The Bean is less able to do this, and asking her a ton of questions usually results in frustration. “STOP SHOUTING!” she’ll yell, even though you’re not. Or she’ll blow a raspberry. Our questions were posed between fits of giggles, so the raspberries started getting blown early and often.
Parent: Eve, what is hamchicken?
Eve: Yes, I want hamchicken please.
Parent: No, is it a ham sandwich?
Eve: I can’t have a ham sandwich. It’s a hamchicken.
Parent: Do you mean a hamburger?
Eve: No hamburgers!
Parent: Is it a chicken sandwich?
Eve: Not a sandwich! I want hamchicken! [pause] I bumped my knee and it is ouching!
Parent: But what’s a hamchicken?
Eve: STOP SHOUTING!
Parent: Okay, all right.
A silence. Then:
Eve [stage whisper]: Want to eat a hamchicken.
Trev and I had a discussion in the front of the car: what could this possibly mean, hamchicken? He of course immediately pictured the animal that would produce hamchicken– some sort of monstrous pork-poultry hybrid, more or less (probably less) like this stupid drawing I have just made:
Finally we were able to get a solid clue: “Eve,” Trev asked, “Where do we go to get the hamchicken? At the house?”
“Not at the house,” Eve said. “You get the hamchicken at the shop.”
I began to wrack my brains: when had I bought anything hammish or chickenish at a shop recently? Then I remembered: about three weeks ago we house-sat our nephew while his parents were in Paris. One of the days, we stopped into a supermarket to get some food, and I bought some chicken fingers for the two children to eat (along with carrots and celery sticks).
So we went to Sainsbury’s, and wandered around until we found a packet of chicken fingers. I showed it to the Bean. “What’s this?” I asked her.
“It’s a hamchicken!” she chirped.
Mystery solved. Here is a recipe for less-bad, non-deep-fried “hamchicken” a la Bean.
Hamchicken (Chicken Tenders or Goujons)
Makes 4 kid portions or 2 adult portions
Spray a shallow baking pan with olive oil spray (or wipe about a teaspoon of oil around the inside to coat). Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
Gather your ingredients:
- Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in to four skinny “fingers” each
- 1 cup almond flour/ground almonds
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (NOT brewer’s yeast) or parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp each garlic powder and onion powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 eggs, beaten, in a bowl
Mix together all the dry ingredients in a shallow bowl or tray. Dip the chicken fingers in beaten egg, dredge in the almond mixture, and place in the baking tray. Bake for 15-18 minutes, checking often– almond flour can burn– and then serve 3 per child or 6 per adult. Alternatively, you can use polenta or wheat flour in place of the almond flour, but increase the seasoning if you do, as either of these by themselves can be a bit dry and dull.