Chicken Bricks & Lists

Posted on September 13, 2013


Have you got a chicken brick?


Maybe your parents have one, wedged on top of the kitchen cupboards, all coated in that weird, yellow, sticky, dusty layer that appears on long forgotten kitchen paraphernalia.

The original brick, was launched in 1968, designed by Queensbury Hunt exclusively for Habitat. The concept is that it acts like a traditional clay cooking oven, sealing in air and moisture, to produce a succulent yet browned roast chicken.

Chicken Brick on things{we}make

I thought that you might have one knocking about and not quite know what you are supposed to do with it, having long ago misplaced the instructions at the back of a drawer of random stuff. So here is a copy of the original, rather lovely, printed instructions that you can print off and stick in your brick if you are having a retro moment. It’s my attempt at a bit of public service. The instructions remind you to always put it in a cold oven, to only wash it in plain water and to soak it for 10 minutes before you start.

I love the browned paper, the simple drawings and the 60’s typeface.

Chicken Brick InstructionsChicken in a Brick

Is a chicken brick amazing? Not really.

Does it do the job? Yes.

Do you get little bits of chicken skin stuck to it that won’t come off and you can’t give it a ‘right good wash’ as you are not supposed to use detergents? Yes, I’m afraid you do.

I like it though because it is an object from another time. You can buy them now from Habitat online for £30 or so, but they look all new and somehow more uniform. I like the blackened, craggy oldness of this chunk of 40-year-old terracotta. This one is from Ed’s Mum and Dad’s kitchen. We have gathered various bits of ‘vintage’ kitchen items over the last year or so as they have had their kitchen remodelled.

Our own kitchen is the next of the ‘big jobs’ to be tackled. We have been discussing, pondering, and drawing up thoughts on and off for years. It will definitely be first on this year’s list.

We are a family of lists. You may have read the ‘List found in a Border Terrier’s Bed’ or my ‘List for Christmas Future’ and there are always a couple of to-do lists on the go, especially for all of Ed’s household and woodworking tasks. With our mantra ‘it only get’s done if you do it’ a list helps to focus the mind.

Have I ever told you about our annual family list?

It is a list of the things that all three of us want to do over the next year. We sit down as a family on September 11th and think about what we have done over the last 12 months and what we would like to do over the next. Why 9/11? It makes us realise that life is short and that years can go by without you doing the things you really want to. It’s a good time for reflection for anyone.

Some things on the list are small, some are big, some are expensive, a few might not happen, but it is something to aim for. As George has just started his new school and his head is still in a spin we have delayed our list making until the Weekend when the world should slow down just enough for us all to think clearly about our plans.

I’m not sure what else will be going on it yet, other than design and build the kitchen, but I do know that there are some things we didn’t complete from last year. We never did replace that sofa (mine) or spend one month eating vegetarian (Ed’s) but we did arrange for George to go sailing, have a sunny holiday, read a book every month and grow more flowers in the garden so to that end it served a useful purpose.

Some things from this year’s list may bump on to next year, and perhaps get slightly closer to the top. Some things may seem less important than they did and drop off the end.

Do you have a list? Perhaps you just have one in your head. What sort of things are on it?

I’d love to know. I might nick some of yours.