A woman uses a $400 hair dryer to cook chicken. Elizabeth Keatinge has more.
Roast chicken is probably my favorite food, but here’s a confession: until a few years ago, I’d never made one myself. Every TV chef and entertaining expert, it seems, tosses off casual mentions of roast chicken as if it’s so obvious, so simple, so effortless, the little black dress of dinner-making. But every TV chef and entertaining expert also knows that making a good roast chicken is anything but obvious and simple. (No less a figure than Jonathan Waxman, a famously talented roaster of chicken, calls the dish “the litmus test for any good chef.”) There are, from my casual survey of cookbooks and magazines and the Internet, thousands and thousands of variations on the “perfect roast chicken,” the overwhelming majority of which cannot, statistically speaking, be perfect. Some techniques call for buttering or oiling the skin; some submerge the chicken in brine beforehand, while others send the bird into the oven dry. Some call for stuffing the bird’s cavities; others leave them empty. Some use chicken simply as vehicles for cleverly blended spice rubs; others set out to perfume the breasts with aromatic herbs. I happen to care, above all else, about achieving a shatteringly crispy skin, which means that I need to get rid of as much water from my chicken skin as possible. Which is why my roast chicken recipe, naturally, involves a hair dryer.