Thursday, May 20, 2010

Who's Afraid Of The Big, Bad 50?

I’m now 47 and a half. True, I’m still two and a half years away from 50, but I already know lots of people who actually are 50, and I’m not talking about my parents’ friends – I’m talking about mine.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to be a kid again. But I’m not entirely crazy about getting older. I’m pretty darn happy where I am. And when I think about getting older, I worry. And me worrying is never a good thing.

I don’t worry about absolutely everything, though. For example, I don’t worry too much about wrinkles, although honest to Pete, we live in the 21st century, right? Don’t you think by now some smart little scientist would’ve whipped up a skin-shrinking-serum to tighten us up sans surgery – and make himself a bajillion dollars?

And I don’t worry a whole lot about the sagging “girls,” although I could very well be elected president of the “support” lingerie fan club.

Gray hairs don’t get my panties in a wad, either. Have I not mentioned my fabulous hair stylist, Crystal?

What I should worry about is falling and breaking my hip, which is a distinct possibility given that my sole source of daily calcium is a Starbucks venti, nonfat, no-foam chai tea latte. But I’m not even worried about skin cancer, which defies all reason, given that I spent the better part of my youth dunked in Johnson and Johnson Baby Oil, sprawled on towel at Folly Beach in a two-piece.

What I do worry about – what really consumes me – is losing my memory as I get older. This is the one thing I worry about constantly. Or at least when I remember.

Every time I misplace my keys, or forget to return an e-mail, or leave my grocery list at home, I worry. Every time I can’t seem to find a word that was on the tip of my tongue, or I forget the way to someone’s house or one of the kids says, “Remember when I told you [BLAH, BLAH, BLAH] last week,“ I worry.

I even do those little brain exercises that are supposed to keep a person mentally sharp. Crossword puzzles. Sudoku. Brushing my hair and my teeth using my left hand instead of my right.

But then I forget. And I worry.

I recently found a fabulous and fabulously easy chicken recipe in a magazine. I was so taken with it, that I left the magazine open, on my bathroom counter, for weeks. I wanted to make sure I saved the recipe. It was in Food and Wine magazine. Or Oprah. Or maybe Real Simple.

Honest. I have no idea. I went looking for it a few days ago and couldn’t find it. I must’ve flipped through dozens of magazines. (Nope. It wasn’t in the April issue of Money, either.) Convinced I’d seen the recipe in Food and Wine, I checked their website. Dead end. I googled “food wine magazine chicken recipe.” Well, that was stupid. I did another search, adding the word “pancetta.” No good.

WTH? What ? The? H?

Finally, I just came up with my own recipe. I knew the original called for pancetta, but I was out. It called for sage, but that’s not a hit with the kids. But what I came up with instead was really, really tasty. And it’s only got three ingredients, which makes it really, really easy to remember.

No worries.

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

Boneless skinless chicken breast halves (smaller sizes are best)
Four short slices of raw bacon per chicken breast
Fresh thyme
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

On a 12-inch piece of plastic wrap, lay four strips of bacon, side by side, slightly overlapping to form a bacon “sheet.” Sprinkle generously with fresh thyme. Lay one boneless breast on bacon sheet, season well with salt and pepper. Now, tightly wrap and roll the chicken in the bacon, so bacon wraps snugly around the chicken. Wrap plastic wrap tightly around the chicken “sausage,” and place in fridge. Repeat with remaining chicken and bacon. Refrigerate chicken rolls several hours or overnight. Now, place chicken rolls in large, non-stick skillet, seam side down. Turn on heat to medium and slowly cook, turning until evenly browned on all side (20-30 minutes).

Remove chicken to a cutting board, and cut in thickish slices. Serve hot.

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