I love words. As a writer and an editor, I guess that's not much of a surprise. Written or spoken, words are what get me. I've never been a fan of action movies, for example, or slapstick. Give me good dialogue anytime. Take this classic scene from The Thin Man. William Powell and Myrna Loy are unbeatable actors, but the script by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, based on Dashiell Hammett's novel, also gives them a lot to work with.
I love witty dialogue, especially when it doesn't rely on curse words to get a laugh. I also get a kick out of unintentionally misused language. Years ago, I got quite a chuckle when someone on PBS said the network would be having a special program during pledge time featuring "Pearl Bailey and just a list of guests." I imagined Pearl Bailey standing onstage with a scrap of paper. No way, old Pearl knew it takes at least "Two to Tango."
|A parkway -- |
or is it a devil's strip?
Of course, if we start comparing American English to British and Australian English, we could go on forever with the different words for things. In my work, I edit employee surveys for consulting firms. One company that I used to work with has a lot of clients in Australia. The first time I came across an employee saying "here at the coal face," I found that expression fascinating and much more evocative than the common U.S. expression "on the front lines."
Okay, you're no doubt saying, what the heck does all this have to do with chicken and what is rocket chicken anyway? Well, one of my favorite word variations has to do with food. What we in the United States call arugula is more commonly called rocket in England and Australia. When I adapted a Gordon Ramsay recipe for Sticky Lemon Chicken into a less sticky dish with more sauce and served it on arugula, I decided Rocket Chicken sounds much more fun than Arugula Chicken. Rocket Chicken will blast your taste buds and take you places! (Well, maybe it won't transport you, but it will blast your taste buds.)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, well trimmed (slice in half if needed to reduce thickness)
Salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, cut into halves or thirds
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup hot water
1 bunch of arugula (salad rocket)
Season chicken very lightly with salt and with freshly ground pepper and the thyme. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over high heat. Cook chicken and garlic, turning as needed, until cooked through.
Add vinegars and cook over medium heat for about five minutes. Add honey, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Mix together. Add hot water. Cook at medium to medium high for 20-30 minutes to reduce liquid.
Place chicken on bed of arugula. Drizzle sauce over top of chicken and arugula. Serves 2-3 people.