Chicken flaurentine.

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Yes, yes, I know, that’s not how you spell florentine, but since I made this up, and my name is Lauren, you get flaurentine.

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Okay, I know. That was rather dorky, but that’s what you get when you come ’round here. Recipes with a side of dorkiness and occasional puppy pictures. You should know this by now.

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Chicken scarpariello

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When I think of home, I think of a place that always smelled like vanilla or apple candles, with every window in the house thrown open to let crisp air and sunlight stream into every room. There was always at least one dog always underfoot, and classic rock records always played through the speakers of the stereo we my mom bought for my dad as either a birthday or Father’s Day gift. At night, Law and Order reruns were almost always on the TV (unless it was 7 o’clock, in which case, Jeopardy always, always won out, despite my dad’s increasing annoyance with Alex Trebek. Can Anderswoon Cooper just replace him already?), and on the weeknights where we weren’t treating ourselves to Chinese takeout, my mom was usually responsible for preparing something delicious, and she always delivered.

When I reached my 20s, I learned the secret to my mom’s delicious weeknight meals: The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet. It was dog-eared and missing its cover, a well-worn weapon in my mom’s culinary arsenal. She lent it to me briefly before getting sick of my book-hogging tendencies and buying me my own copy, and I returned it with about two dozen Post its marking recipes I wanted to make.

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Cap’n Chicken Crunch. Crunchy Chicken Captain. Whatever.

Things I learned this week:
  • If you compare the subject of a personality profile to Willy Wonka, your chances of receiving about a metric ton of chocolate from said subject increase substantially.

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  • If there is a dog within a 50-yard radius of me, I will find a way to become best friends with it.

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And if this guy is anywhere in the vicinity, he will get monstrously jealous.
  • Air travel is still a tremendous pain in the ass. (Sorry, Slate.)
  • Upon hearing you hail from New Jersey, people who aren’t from the tri-state area will always be astounded when you don’t sound like you’re from Staten Island or the Bronx.
  • I only half-watched the last 30 or so minutes of it, but the movie “Something Borrowed” should be renamed “Everyone In This Movie Except John Krasinski Should Be Hit In The Face With A Shovel.”
  • Although there are horrible, cruel people in this world, the good will always outnumber them. By a lot.
  • Chicken tastes amazing when breaded in Cap’n Crunch and dunked in honey mustard.
OK, OK, so a few of those things I could have guessed (that Something Borrowed would be infuriatingly insipid, Patton Oswalt is better at saying things than I am), and some of those things I already knew (air travel is a major crapfest and Cap’n Crunch chicken is not, namely).

Chicken pot pie makes me do strange things.

Originally posted February 2013.

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Dear chicken pot pie,

Hi, I’m Lauren. How are you? I’m OK. I’d be better if I hadn’t poked a hole in my own eardrum the other day, but hey, what can you do, other than pop some ibuprofen and fervently pray to all the powers that may or may not be that it doesn’t turn into a horrifying, excruciating infection like the one that rendered me a weeping, painkiller-addled mess in 2006. But this isn’t about me, and my unfortunate eardrum problems. This is about you.

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First off, I am a huge fan. Always been. Growing up, my mom made some pretty delicious dishes, and her version of you was no exception. I usually got so excited about the prospect of putting a spoonful of you in my mouth that I accidentally seared my taste buds and dealt with that weird, stripped-tongue feeling for a few days. It was OK, though. It was a reminder of your utter deliciousness.

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