Dinnervention/Chicken Tetrazzini

Two kinds of gratitude: the sudden kind
We feel for what we take,
The larger kind
We feel for what we give. Edwin Arlington Robinson


I’m putting yogurt and sandwiches and napkins and cookies and carrots in the girls lunches this morning as Lance is serving up their breakfast plates, and we are chatting about someone we know and how we fear they might need an intervention, and I said maybe we could have them over for dinner and Lance calmly says, “Yes, let’s throw them a dinnervention!”

Ha ha ha. He is so clever, my man. We were giggling as the girls are eating in their morning daze; we are brushing hair and helping with socks as syrup is sticking to little hands and mouths are yawning. Our friend, Jen, toots the horn and out the door the girls go, backpacks in hand, a ride to school in a warm car on a freezing, chilly day… Lance out the door to feed the cats and head off to work, me to spritz the snake’s cage (Jeff Goldblum drinks water off the side of the glass and from the tiny pools that collect in the leaves of his plant) and to prepare for the day. Today I will be working on a private creative living class I’ll be giving this Friday, I’ll be heading off to Gibson to choose an electric guitar (thanks to Ellen Canas and my new Gibson endorsement!) and, then, off to electric guitar lessons. That’s right, I’m polishing and digging deeper into the realm of the six string, preparing to start playing a pedal to the metal on stage, taking solos, revving it up from the traditional acoustic rollercoaster thrill ride of my fingerpicking and slamming style up into the realm of
Jimmy and Stevie and Bonnie and Jennifer (Batten) and all the greats. Well, that is how I am going to approach it, but, of course, this is going to take a while. I play acoustic so hard, I’ll have to learn to be appropriately gentle, yet firm, on the neck of my new friend.
So, bare with me. Send up a prayer I can return to the world of solos! (By the way, I did have a brief career taking solos when I was in the reggae band, Lone Star Dub Band, back in college. I played keyboards, bubble style, and was, on occassion, handed my friend, and bandleader, Greg’s, electric…always on “Chain, Chain, Chain” and I would…gasp!…actually take the lead! Woo-hoo! And there were times in the shortlived bluegrass band I was in where I would take my chances, or in Domestic Science Club, but these were soft, small solos, nothing fierce…nothing full of freedom and fear less because I really knew what I was doing….so, I’m hoping to get the drift of the riff and burst out with glee into the clouds of what I can sing and transfer it through my fingers to string and pick up and amp to you.)
I would like to say, however, that I did play all the instruments on the song “Equal Scary People”, and I will never understand bass…man, those strings are THICK!…but I played that, and some pots and pans, and a Casio drum machine (which Terrence Slemmons wigged out to sound like a Thomas Dolby machine) and I played all the guitar parts, and if I may say, the guitar solos are funky and casual and full of spunk. I’ve always been proud of that song cuz it was nothing short of super fun to create. And it was about all the boys I was dating at the time, so it was cheeky, too.

My parents came over for dinner the other night. They were able to include a short visit to Austin after a week in Houston. I also had a nice time with my mom at Kerbey Lane yesterday morning. We both like cream in our tea, one of the gifts my mom taught me when I was a child. I remember sitting on the black manogahide (hmm…how is that word spelled…need to learn it!) sofa, watching her set a tray of white porcelain tea cups and a rococo tea pot on the coffee table, and we would always have milk and tea. No sugar. Just the English way, as my mom would say….she had learned this from her trip to England during college, where she lived in
an attic and swatted at the bats with her tennis racquet (they lived up in the rafters). She rode on the Queen Elizabeth, across the seas. Her hair was kept very short then, smart bangs and a quick trim, a bob, I believe. She has a long neck, my mom. She reminds me of Audrey Hepburn crossed with Carol Burnett.

For dinner, I had made Chicken Tetrazinni. Here is the recipe:

Cut up and prepare 1 pound 1/4 of chicken. Place cooked chicken to the side.


Saute in real butter 1/2 cup of diced onions and fresh garlic (to taste…I like about 1/4 of a clove)….Wait until the onions are translucent, then add one cup of quartered mushrooms. Let everything get stirred well and limp. Add some salt and pepper as you see fit.

Then , add 3 cups of unsalted organic chicken broth with an additional cup of water. Let everything bubble for a bit, and add 1/2 cup of white wine…then add 1/2 cup of heavy cream…Keep stirring…

While all this is going on, prepare 1/2 pound of linguini….drain….add chicken and sauce and mix well. Check for taste; if it needs more salt or pepper, add a little now.

Place all this goo in a baking dish and sprinkle Asiago cheese over the entire dish. I like a lot, but, you might just want a little!

Place in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, until slightly golden on top.

Share with yourself and loved ones. Mmm. Makes a good snack next day or perfect for a smorgasbord (which we had last night…
left over chicken tetrazzini, home made stew (oh, yes….that is one of my favorite things to make!!!), tomato basil soup, grilled steak and
bell peppers, steamed zucchini, salad, homemade egg drop soup…it was INTERNATIONAL MAKE YOUR OWN PLATE night around the table!)

I’m thinking of entering this search for a PBS children’s host for a new show for pre-schoolers. I would love to do it. There is so much going on. With all the chopping and dicing and cooking and steaming and preparing for a new album and walking the dog and cleaning poop out of the rug and laundry and Girl Scout cookie sales and parents visiting and remembering birthdays and the lawn is a mess
and phone calls and refinancing the house and bankers and plants to water and a snake to bring crickets and bills to pay and songs to sing and guitars to learn and thoughts to bring and hulas to hula and Curves to slim and husbands to love (ok, make that singular!) and
cars to fill with EXPENSIVE gas that no one talks about and wars to speak out against and dreams to fulfill and sunsets to admire
and laughter to share and marriages to celebrate and bookings to find and prayers to pray and a pachinko game that needs to be fixed and the paper…I sure would like to read the paper. So, this is what I will do.

I am going to go sit in a chair and turn the pages of the Austin American Statesman and enjoy being still because being still
refreshes and I like to have a blanket over my feet. Perhaps I will light a fire. I will drink my decaf coffee and enjoy the rays of the morning sun as I absorb the news of the world and blink my eyes and breath in and out and Thank God for the abundance of Dave Eggers and Beth Orton and peanut butter patties and “Mutts”, the best cartoon my heart has ever loved.

I’d like to sign off by sending a loving, cyber hug to:

Kathy Carr and all the carrlings
Lori and her beautiful hair
Sharon (may Jack stop puking soon)
Julie C. (whoo hoo! Bonnie Raitt for your 44th!!!)
Amy Rigby…buy her music. It is great.
Laura Freeman…..I can’t wait to see your colorful house!
Gene…you’re everywhere. how do you do that?
Laura Scarborough. I want to hula hoop with sparklers with you now!
Todd Wolfson….click! I just took a mental picture of you. Those are nice pants, by the way.

2 Comments on “Dinnervention/Chicken Tetrazzini”

  • thanks for the mention and i believe it is
    naugahyde, the word you need to learn…..

  • carrmomma


    Only you, Sara Hickman, could sense when the cyberhug was most needed. Thank you so so so much. I am still holding on tight.

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