When my husband and I first moved to Hicksville some 20-odd years ago, we did quite a bit of driving to acquaint ourselves with the area. Although I was from Levittown and he was from Plainview, we still weren’t familiar with a lot that Hicksville had to offer. More than a few times, we found ourselves stopped at the traffic light at the end of Jerusalem Avenue and Broadway, a light that my husband had dubbed “the longest in all of Nassau County.” Rather than grumble, I used our waiting time to glance around.
One of the buildings had a freshly painted picture of what appeared to be a basket of piping hot chicken dinner. I don’t recall the name of the restaurant, but I remember my husband had mentioned that he wished to try the food there. We never got around to it, as the restaurant closed soon after we had settled in.
Before my daughter and I chose a vegetarian lifestyle, our family ate a lot of chicken. Swapping out ground beef and pork for ground chicken and turkey, we found we could make our old favorites quite easily. Turkey burgers, turkey meatloaf, chicken meatballs and chicken sausage were all part of our “healthier choice” menu. We realized that eating poultry more frequently would afford us a healthier lifestyle, and we wanted to impress the lesson of healthy eating upon our young daughter. Even our bacon was of the poultry variety, although its texture and chewiness took some getting used to. I’ll never forget how thrilled our daughter was years later, when my husband’s grandmother cooked an entire pound of real pork bacon for her. It was a Sunday morning in her Pocono home and after many years of not having it in our home, our daughter was incredibly appreciative for the treat.
Times have changed in our home, and my husband is the only one these days who still eats poultry or any other form of meat. Because of this, mealtime can be an incredible challenge, especially when one is cooking two separate dinners regularly. For the nights when we are both too exhausted to pick up a skillet or present a beautifully prepared home cooked meal, take-out is usually the answer. It would only seem fair to offer him a bit of a variety outside of the tried-and-true pizza or sushi, but it seems a bit of a waste to travel over to KFC or even Westbury’s Chicken Delight to purchase an entire tub of chicken for just one person. While I’m sure there are single dinner items available, unless everyone is eating at the same restaurant, it’s more than a little exhausting to drive to several different places for a “family night of take-out.” It kind of defeats the purpose of saving time and energy. It’s sometimes a bit easier to just break out the pots and pans and whip up something quick at home.
Today, we were again stopped at the light by Jerusalem and Broadway. I glanced up at the brick wall and noticed the old painting of the steaming basket of chicken, now faded with age. The word “chicken” can still be made out ever so faintly above the brilliant red and white “The Student Biryani” sign of the restaurant that now resides there. And while the two of us still can’t remember the name of that old chicken restaurant, it’s still kind of nice to see a part of Hicksville’s past still visible on the brick wall. I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner tonight, after I pointed out the sign. You guessed it, I made him roasted chicken.
-Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist