I knew I should have brought a jar of Butter Chicken simmer sauce (huh, googling that from here gets me to Amazon.com which says they have new from whatever price, and used from whatever price. How can they sell a used bottle of simmer sauce????) from Australia. I really wanted to make some for my parents as I assumed they hadn’t had it before. I didn’t think it would be popular here in Washington, but I thought I’d at least be able to find some. Yeah, yeah, I could have made some, but have you seen a butter chicken recipe? There are heaps of different spices in it, it takes a while, and all the recipes are different, so after all that preparation, who knows if it would be good anyway. Plus, by the time I bought all the spices and herbs that go in it, I might as well just take my parents out to dinner at an Indian restaurant. If I could find one around here.
Humph, no Indian food (India Indian, not Native American Indian, in case you were confused) in the “international” aisle in the supermarket. Alright, no problem. Chicken Tonight has some butter chicken simmer sauce. It’s not the best butter chicken in the world, but it’s better than nothing, and since my parents have never had it before, they wouldn’t know the difference anyway. So I went to plan 2. I stopped searching the aisles of the supermarket for the non-existent Indian section, and went instead in search of the simmer sauce section. I dragged Hannah around the entire supermarket, practically kicking and screaming since she refused to be in the shopping trolley (seems she doesn’t like being buckled into tight spaces ever since the plane ride), and when I let her walk, she chose instead to run away giggling, like we were playing a game of chase-y.
I couldn’t find the simmer sauces anywhere. ”Excuse me,” I asked someone who worked there, “can you tell me where the Chicken Tonight is?” She looked at me like I had just wet myself right there in the aisle. She had no idea what the heck I was talking about. ”Chicken Tonight. You know, ‘I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight….’” Yeah, I sang the jingle right there in the supermarket while wrestling with a wiggle worm toddler.
Now the worker looked at me like I had wet myself, then pooed myself and flung it around the store. Seriously, I can’t be the only one that remembers that ad. I saw it here in the U.S. when I was young. Ok, so maybe she didn’t know specifically about Chicken Tonight, that’s fair enough. ”Can you tell me where the simmer sauce section is?” Blank stare.
“You know, you brown the chicken, add the jar of sauce and then simmer until it’s cooked.” Still no clue.
“We have sauce packets in Aisle 9.” She told me. I went to aisle 9. They were sauce packets alright. Powdered sauces, like hollandaise, that you reconstitute and pour over things.
I tried a different supermarket. Went through the whole thing again. They didn’t know what I was talking about either. ”What if you want to make honey mustard chicken quickly after work without starting it from scratch?” I asked my parents.
“You don’t.” They told me, again like I was going mad. Why does everyone here think I’m a crazy person?
“We have nearly an entire aisle dedicated to simmer sauces in our supermarkets.” I told them. ”Butter chicken, satay chicken, tandoori chicken, honey mustard chicken, mushroom chicken…” Yeah, I sounded a bit (okay, a lot) like Forest Gump.
To make sure I wasn’t going mad, I looked up Chicken Tonight on Wikipedia when we got home from the supermarkets. Seems it did originate here in the U.S., like I thought, but then it failed and still lives on in Australia, where we love our simmer sauces.
At least I’m not losing it, simmer sauces just don’t seem to exist in this country.