Being a foodie for as long as I have, it was only a matter of time before I started developing an interest in cooking. My early efforts in the kitchen were sophomoric at best (cook pasta, sautee something, dump on pasta, add sauce, eat), but after over a year now of gastronomic puttering I like to think I'm fairly decent at the culinary craft.

Then I go and do something that puts me in completely over my head and I realize I still have a long way to go.

Shaker Square hosts a farmer's market on Saturdays, and this Saturday Aron and I puttered up there to check the produce out. Everything looked tremendously good and I made several purchases of millet, spinach, blue oyster mushrooms, and some tatsoi that I wanted to experiment with. I stopped by one of the meat stalls with the intent of picking up rabbit, but they were already out. The man then pulled out from his cooler one of the cutest wee little carcasses I've ever seen and placed it in front of me.

"That's adorable. What is it?"

"This is a cornish game hen, fresh from yesterday."

I'm assuming that means they killed the little sucker on Friday so they could bring it to the market on Saturday. I've never done anything with a game hen, or any kind of raw bird other than the occasional chicken breast or duck thigh (note: already in easy to manage pieces) and I was intrigued. It was so small, how can I go wrong? It's not like I'm trying to wrestle a goose or a turkey. I bought it.

They told me it would stay fresh in my refrigerator 'till Wednesday, but ideally I should do something with it within the next 2 days. I took it home and placed it on my counter. It sat there, naked, and I realized I had no earthly idea what to do with it. This thing still has all its organs in it. It's still completely connected. There's bits in there I don't want to eat, and I will have to remove without ruining the rest of the bird in the process. I may have to touch Guts and Things That Are Squishy. I may have to extract a spinal column.

So, I ended up wrapping it gently and placing it in my refrigerator for the time being, and now I'm doing research on What Exactly to Do With a Cornish Game Hen. Most recipes assume people know how to dress and prepare a bird, and it's kind of hard to find one that starts from Ground Zero. However, I have named the hen Roasty McMushrooms to inspire me (I want to include those blue oysters in the recipe somehow), and I have faith that by Monday I may actually have some inkling of what to do with it.

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