The Case of The Missing Chicken

It happened two or three weeks ago, and it’s still bothering me so I might as well write about it.  Harvest Ranch Market, in Encinitas where I work, makes a pretty good rotisserie chicken.  I don’t have much time to cook during the week, so many Sundays I’ll head over there and pick up two whole cooked chickens.  On Sunday night, I separate the breasts from the legs and thighs, and tear up the dark meat and skin for the dogs—that is, what I don’t eat while I’m doing it because secretly I like the dark meat better, even though it’s not as good for you.  I put the dark meat into a Tupperware container and the chicken breasts, plump and juicy on a plate, cover them with saran wrap and use them in salads and sandwiches during the week.  That is my routine.

Sunday nights are also TV nights around here.  Dexter’s off the air now, and Game of Thrones’ new season hasn’t started, but Homeland and The Good Wife keep me occupied so that I can delay laundry and bill paying until the wee hours, the better to put off Monday.  So two weeks ago on Sunday night, I did my chicken thing, and then settled down to watch my shows.  I must have been a little distracted because I have no recollection of putting the saran wrap on the chicken, or opening the refrigerator. By the time I was done with TV for the evening, I folded laundry, cleaned up the kitchen and went to bed.

Monday morning I went to feed the dogs, and the little dog Yoda, who never liked kibble, waited patiently for his ounce of chicken breast.  I opened the refrigerator door, and looked for the chicken breasts.  I did not see them, which is not at all unusual in my refrigerator, which is even less well organized than my desk.  So I shrugged, gave the little dog some dark meat and went off to work.  But the fact that I couldn’t find the two pounds of cooked chicken breast in my own refrigerator was bothering me, so I called my husband who works from home.  I said, “Please go look in the refrigerator and tell me that the chicken breasts are there that I cut up last night.”  He dutifully went to the refrigerator and reported back, “No, I don’t see any chicken breasts.”  I said, “I KNOW that I put 4 half chicken breasts on a plate.  But I don’t remember what happened to them after that.  Could I have been so distracted I threw them away?  Please go look in the garbage can in the garage.”  I heard a sigh on the other end.  Moments later he said, “The chicken breasts are not in the garbage can.”  I said, “Did you REALLY look for them?”  He said, “Yes, I really looked for them.”

My youngest son had stopped in Sunday evening to pick up his mail.  He was there while the chicken was being dismembered.  I said to my husband, “Please call E. and see if he was hungry and took the chicken breasts.”  He said, “I don’t think he would have taken an entire plate of chicken breasts.”  I said, “Call him!” Twenty minutes later he called me back and said, “E. didn’t take the chicken breasts.”  I had a long day at work, but when I got home at seven I did not go into the house to change my clothes.  I went directly to the garbage can, in my nice brown wool suit and my silk blouse, and I rooted around.  I knew that those chicken breasts must have been accidentally thrown away, probably by my husband, who likes to clean up after me.  Twenty greasy minutes later, I confirmed that indeed, there were no chicken breasts in the garbage. Or in the refrigerator.

I love my deerhounds, even though at times they’ve been known to steal and hoard.  Izzy was famous for taking ALL of the toys and stuffing them behind the seat cushions of the couch.  He also stole everyone else’s bones, and buried them in secret places where they still wash to the surface during a rainstorm, white and glistening, two years after his death.  My old boy Magic has never done a thing wrong.  He is a huge dog, 34 inches at the shoulder, but he is unfailingly polite, waits his turn for meals, never once chewed on the furniture and never peed in the house.  He uses the kitchen counter as a chin rest without even a slight stretch.  But two pounds of chicken breast, right after dinner?  And as I said, he’s never done a thing wrong.

Looking back, I was a little distracted by that Homeland adrenaline rush.  Those chicken breasts are around here somewhere.  I just hope I don’t run into them tucked behind my leather armchair’s cushion, or under a far corner of the rug.  Queen and Quicksilver aren’t telling, and Magic just grins when I ask him.


  1. The dark meat parts of the chicken, like the chicken’s legs, are rich in myoglobin, whereas white meat chicken contains no myoglobin at all. In addition, dark meat chicken contains more zinc and B vitamins than white meat chicken. So, although the dark meat contains more fat & calories, it also carries more nutrition. Such a good dog owner to save the best bits for your hounds! Naughty of them to spirit away the breasts!

  2. It always makes me feel better when someone else near or at my age has such things happen to them. I think either, “Oh, that is normal” or I can at least know I have company! Living alone (with dogs) I have no other human to blame situations on. I do believe the dogs are at times ambidextrous when I am not looking.

  3. I would think if the dog ate the chicken breasts, wouldn’t the plate still be there?? Did you find an empty plate? Quite the mystery… Welcome to the golden years. By the way, wasn’t Homeland great?!

    1. Richard remembers putting the plate into the dishwasher, but nothing on the plate! So my guess is that the dogs helped themselves. Homeland? Well, I wanted a happily ever after ending. But that wasn’t being realistic, was it? M

  4. The advantage of living with other people is that, justified or not, you can blame someone else.

    I live alone. If the socks are missing……well, I was the one who put them down in the wrong spot. Sigh.

  5. Great story. Like Margaret, I have no one to blame but the cats when I can’t find something. I lost a replacement Neti pot for 2 years. Of course found it when I finally had to buy a new one. Where I found it was the last place I would have ever thought I would have put it… Now whenever I can’t find something, i just say to myself, it’s partying with the Neti pot.

  6. This reminds me of a time when, I was blindly feeling around my dark closet floor, trying to feel for a certain pair of shoes. I could not find them, so just grabbed another. I closed the closet door (I thought). About 15 or so minutes later, I heard a loud thumping noise coming from the closet and impeded the door to find Gandolf (a cat) working on the hind half of a large rabbit! My first thought was, how the heck did he get that in thi house w/o anyone seeing; then, I was filled with gratitude that I had not “found” it when digging for shoes!

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