So, a couple of days ago, I experienced my first official rejection as a food blogger.
And no, I’m not referring to getting scolded by my oldest sister for writing about that time I dated a guy who was still technically married .
That was yesterday, not a couple of days ago. (And in my defense, again, he was separated.)
No, this rejection cut far deeper than a sister lecturing me from the ivory tower of her 25-year marriage about how I’m supposed to find love in this shit-show of a dating economy (update: I did eventually find love, via a cutting-edge dating strategy I like to call “seeing a guy’s picture featured in a news article and adding him to Facebook.” No thanks to her, may I add).
(Sidenote: isn’t he the cutest doggie-daddy evarrrrr? This is him with his favorite son, Grady, aka “Sniffie” aka “bayber-dogger”).
Anyway, this post is not about dating (ish). It’s about Foodgawker: A website that showcases thousands of food bloggers’ best work, and is infamous (to me, now) for its stringent photo submission standards. Even though I knew intellectually that the odds of me taking a professional standard photo with my iPhone 5 three weeks into my blogging career were probably not great, emotionally I felt that they were gonna love me (and this is just the kind of distorted thinking that leads people to think it’s a good idea to date married guys, right sis?).
Well, whaddyaknow, they rejected my first 4 photo submissions.
To be fair, they use the much more delicate and polite term “declined” to insinuate that I suck at this, and to be even more fair, they provide constructive feedback that is, one could argue, scientifically valid and accurate.
Specifically, my photos were deemed to be “too tightly composed” (tell me in exact words that you don’t wanna see the veins in my chicken thighs, and I will back up!), “taken from awkward angles” (ok? Sorry for trying to be avant garde, Foodgawker), and “underexposed” (aka I live in a closet-sized hoarder’s paradise in the vortex of darkness known as Atlantic Canada in October. Sorry?).
Although I’ve experienced my fair share of rejection in life, this particular brand felt different because the rationale actually kind of made sense, whereas when I get rejected in dating, it’s for reasons that range from the confusing (“You’re too perfect for me; I’m just not ready to know my Soul Mate yet” …ok? It’s unlikely that I was going to want to marry you anyway, but thanks for the info) to the downright judgmental (“I don’t think I want to be with someone who is this intrigued by real life murder stories” or “literally your only hobby is grocery shopping?”)*.
*These scenarios never actually happened, but they are extremely believable. Trust.
Thankfully, this feedback from Foodgawker is different, because it’s about something I can change. It’s something I can work on.
But becoming a bona fide artiste takes time. Until then, my posts are going to continue to contain photos about which I should probably be ashamed. And I guess you’re just going to have to deal with that until one of you decides to gift me with a fancy camera and/or tickets to a food photography seminar.
Related: This chicken. Paired with Crack Broccoli and rice or quinoa, it’s a staple in my kitchen.
It’s simple, it’s juicy, it’s flavorful, it’s crispy, you can use any kind of sauce you enjoy, it’s not super healthy, but it could be worse for you, and it’s delicious. What more could you want in a meal?
To take this chicken to its full potential, you will need to purchase crispy (fried) onions. The classic brand is French’s Fried Onions, which can usually be found at any grocery store, and generally are packaged like this:
That said, from my extensive experience in the field of eating fried onions, I can attest that the “Fresh Gourmet” brand (I get the club-sized bag at Costco) is a much more economical option which is equally if not more delicious. Get ’em. (I guess you could also just make your own fried onions, but who got time for that?)
Then what you’re gonna do (said in Matthew McConnaughey’s seductive voice) is take some skinless, boneless chicken thighs (you could use breasts, but the thigh is much juicier and tastier, in my opinion), dip them in some sauce (I used a homemade orange sauce here, but you could use anything store-bought – sweet & sour, teriyaki, bbq, sweet chili – as long as it’s sugar-based because THAT IS MY RELIGION, but also because its gooeyness will help the onions adhere better), then coat them in some crushed up fried onions (just throw them in a ziploc and crush them with your hands!), and bake them at 375 until crispy (flip them over at least once halfway through). It should take about 30 minutes for this to occur, but keep them in longer if you feel like it.
Thighs are pretty good at staying moist. (Also said in a Matthew McConnaughey voice).
That’s it, that’s all.
Crispy, sticky, gooey, juicy, sweet and savoury goodness.