Old Men and Cornish Hens

Few people are as old-fashioned as old men.

I was flying across the country to give a talk. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really anywhere that I could fly direct to, and thus I was stuck with a connecting flight on the way there and on the way back (and I was flying in and out on the same day).

Now, I’m normally a person who loves flying. I can fall asleep sitting in the middle seat between two rather large people occupying my armrests. I joke that the engines can rock me to sleep. I can nap through turbulence, babies crying, and bratty children kicking my seat for hours.

That day was just not my day.

I went to get my seat for my first flight, where I discovered that I was next to an older gentleman.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love little old men. They remind me of my grandfather and my great-uncle and I just can’t help but want to have them tell me stories and hope they’ll treat me like their granddaughter for the foreseeable future (I was a daddy’s and a grampa’s girl, after all). I can listen to old war stories for hours, cry with them as they remember meeting their wives, and rejoice in hearing of first becoming a grandparent.

Yes, I do realize that it’s like I’m an old person already. But that’s besides the point for this encounter.

Older Guy (noticing my work bag): So you’re in medicine?

Me: Yup, I’ll be a doctor next Spring. I’m in med school now.

Older Guy: You do realize that you won’t be a success in life until you have a ring on your finger.

I politely declined further conversation for the rest of my flight. And on to flight #2…with another older guy next to me.

Older Gentleman #2: You’re a doctor? And you’re not married? Is there something wrong with you or something?

Again, I made the wise decision to decline further conversation. Then I gave my talk, boarded ANOTHER plane, and again found myself sitting next to an older gent…

Old Guy #3: In my day, women didn’t work, they got married. You’re going to be a horrible mother if some guy ever wants to married you.

This really was old after the first flight. But the hits just kept coming with my fourth and final flight of the day.

And another, final, old man was awaiting me.

Old Gent #4: You do realize that no matter how successful you might be, you’re always going to be a failure until you’re married, right?

Obviously, I need to sit next to grandmothers on planes instead.

Put a Ring on It Stuffed Cornish Hens

Stuffed Cornish Henin case I need to offer more than the doctor card

Ingredients (per person)

  • 1 cornish game hen, thawed
  • 1 c of your favorite stuffing (my recipe to follow in the next post!)
  • Olive oil spray (mine is just in a spray bottle since it’s better for you than the store-bought version!)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika


  • Aluminum foil
  • Roasting rack (not totally necessary, but essential if you want to have crispy skin all the way around!)


  1. Make your stuffing (as I said, my recipe to follow in my next post)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Wash and dry cornish hens. If you don’t dry them (use a paper towel!!!), you won’t get the crispy skin (which we all know is the best part).
  4. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika onto skin of cornish hens.
  5. Stuff bird with the stuffing (if you don’t use it to stuff something, it’s called dressing…you didn’t dare call it otherwise in my house growing up).
  6. Place bird(s) on a roasting rack (also essential to having crispy skin all over the bird).Β  Be sure to tuck in the wings so they don’t stick out and burn. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes.
  7. Remove foil and spray bird(s) with olive oil.
  8. Return to oven (without foil) and roast for an additional 30-40 minutes, when juices should run clear when you poke the birds with a knife (use a meat thermometer to be sure as this is poultry! Remember, you will see at least 5-10 degrees of carryover cooking after you remove from the oven).
  9. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

101 thoughts on “Old Men and Cornish Hens

  1. Wow! Enjoy life while you can. I got married at 21, had kids at 24, and won’t be able to go do those wish list things until the youngest is in her teens or out of the house (16 more years). Take your time and find Mr. Perfect! πŸ™‚

    1. Haha I wasn’t planning on getting married anytime soon- I was just shocked to hear it from so many people all in one day!

  2. keep meaning to stop by and say hello. I read your blog all the time. Keep it up!

    1. thanks- it’s always wonderful to hear that!

  3. Puh-lease. Don’t these men know they’re just making it that much harder for you to fathom living with one of “them” for the rest of your life! Get a grip, gentlemen!

    Go on with your bad self, become a fantastic doctor, and do what you love, regardless of your naked ring finger. πŸ™‚

  4. Oh wow! How rude but funny and ironic at the same time! Maybe its a sign about you finding mr right soon lol

    1. If anything I think that my boyfriend feels more comfortable because I’m not anxious to get married πŸ˜‰

  5. Joanna Reichert Photography January 18, 2013 — 9:23 pm

    And people say that youth run their mouth . . . . you sounded far more polite than I would have or even could have been.

    1. I try to keep it in check every once in a while πŸ˜‰

  6. Don’t sit next to Korean grandmas. They’re worse.

    1. I’ll have to ask my Korean friends if that’s the case.

  7. Wow, they actually say things like that? But on the flip side, that cornish hen looks so yummy!

    1. They honestly all said those things- I didn’t make anything up!

      1. Oh no, I believe you. I can’t believe them. I will have to try out your recipe soon. =)

      2. Let me know how they turn out! Each oven is different, so it’s a bit better to follow the juices running clear/internal temperatures

  8. I made my kids cornish hens for thanksgiving a couple of years ago – their mom (my former spouse) was away, and I wanted to make something memorable but with minimal leftovers.

    It must be a generational thing — if it were ME that met you on a plane (in my 50’s), my response would probably be “a doctor? no s–t! how cool is that!” And then I’ll start asking about student loans, or intern working hours, or anything that might press the talktalktalk button.

    But be sure to mention your boyfriend off-handedly within the first 3 minutes or so. It helps to put a proper adjustment on the conversation.

    1. Well at the time I didn’t even have a boyfriend so I didn’t even have that escape option…

      Most people in general tend to ask me questions about my job and what it’s like to be a doctor- those seatmates are far more preferred!!!

  9. Did you TRULY get four different people giving you that sexist advice- in this day and age?? I thought that was all done with. Apparently not!!

    1. Truly four of them on four separate flights- I felt doomed!

  10. I’m guessing where this meeting was?! Someplace where folks think and vote differently than I do. πŸ™‚ sorry, that just slipped out… Trusting that you brought insight and intelligence to the community you met with…. Wisdom to [avoid] the things you cannot change. πŸ™‚

    1. Of all things, I was giving a talk in Albany NY and I connected through Philadelphia!

  11. You are never complete until you are married – then you are finished! πŸ™‚ Congratulations on your upcoming career. You have set high standards for yourself and if you ever do decide on a permanent relationship, it will not be to fix yourself, or be complete, but because someone rises to that same standard and compliments your life.

    1. Thanks- being a doctor is tiring and it’s nice to hear such compliments πŸ™‚

  12. wow how weird was that, four in a row? yes, definitely sit next to the women

    1. I couldn’t escape with the assigned seating!

  13. You were so polite! I’m not sure I would have been. I’m quite a bit older than you and get similar comments from older men that a divorced woman of ‘my age’ (!!) should always wear a ring on their ring finger. It doesn’t go down well with me …

    1. My mother taught me always to be polite to strangers…that way it’s okay if I then close my eyes and pretend to sleep. πŸ˜‰

  14. Oh, truly enjoyable flights! πŸ˜€ Btw, should 7. be ‘spray with olive oil’…? πŸ™‚

    1. Oops! Thanks- I was pretty tired last night when I posted this!

  15. I just hope that sort of madness doesn’t get into my mind as the years roll by. Christ, those were really strange people to talk to you like that. Avoid the airline:)

    1. I normally have such good luck with airplanes…not that day!

  16. Lol, I know it’s not funny, but it is. I’ve had similar things said to me, although not all in one day! I’m surprised you kept your tongue after the second one. Not sure if I could have.

    Not to mention I absolutely LUV Cornish hens. Unfortunately, I can’t get them here in Australia. πŸ˜₯ I miss them. They were melt in your mouth good. After the first time I had one I never baked another turkey, chicken or ham for holidays. It was hen all the way or nothing. πŸ˜€

    1. Are they sold under a different name in Australia? Or do they just sell smaller chickens?

      I think by the time I hit encounter number 3 I was just a bit dumbfounded that this kept happening..made it easier to hold my tongue πŸ˜‰

      1. Actually, they may be sold under a different name, not sure. I will have to check that out though, because if they are I will be a very happy girl. πŸ˜€

        Well you have my respect for holding your tongue. πŸ˜‰

  17. I can’t believe those comments… Specifically that people would say such things – and you got FOUR IN A ROW! Play the lotto, quick – because that bad luck has to balance somehow! Just be secure in what you want and do it – none of the rudeness matters if I’m happy with who I am.

    Also, you need a good one liner – a great comeback. I’ll think about that some and get back if I can think of something.

    1. I suppose I could always tell them that I’m debating between marrying between men and women and I want to wait to make my decision until gay marriage is legal? πŸ˜‰

      You would think that karma would be on my side one of these times…

  18. Wow! What is wrong with people? I’m 22 and my boyfriend and I have been together over 2 years and all I hear now is “When’s the wedding?” from friends, family and even strangers. Why is it anyone’s business? It doesn’t help that a lot of my friends and family friends who are even younger than me are getting married and having children though.

    1. So all of my college friends were married or engaged by age 21, so my nickname might have been the “old maid” since then….I know your pain, though!

  19. Start with, “wow I haven’t heard that before – and if I relied on a man for my happiness, I’d wind up as pissed off as your wife… Or would that be ‘ex’? Yeah, I don’t think I need that just yet, but thanks for sharing”.

    1. I had unfortunately found out that the majority of them were widowers!

  20. Sadly, sitting next to grandmothers on flights might result in them trying to set you up with grandsons! I love your stories. Thanks.

    1. I get that enough already as I had in my previous post πŸ˜‰

  21. You are stronger woman than I to not retort rudely. I am always amazed at the things that come out of strangers’ mouths. At least you made a great post out of it. Continued success to you.

    1. I don’t think that people realize that whenever something awkward happens to me, there’s automatically a “ding, blog post!” sound effect that goes off in my brain!

  22. Oh good heavens – Definitely seek out the grandmas’s πŸ™‚

    1. But they try to set me up with the grandsons!

  23. triathlonobsession January 19, 2013 — 9:00 am

    I’m thinking you weren’t flying to ny or la, otherwise you would have a) had a direct flight and b) gramps would have hit on you instead! πŸ™‚

    1. Jeez, guys like this give us older guys a bad name. Hard not to imagine a kind of Old-Guys-in-Black institution where guys get assigned seats next to attractive young professional females they can berate for being single. Ken

      1. Honestly, I’ve only had four awkward run-ins with old men and they all happened on that day….

    2. Albany NY actually…no direct flights from Detroit that week that weren’t sold out by the time I booked…

  24. Since these older gents sound like they were traveling alone, they were probably just in the “me zone” and lonely. They may have been projecting their loneliness onto you. Women do tend to outlive men.
    Oh, no, maybe that was their way of hitting on you! LOL.

    1. Well two of them were married and the other two were widowed…I just couldn’t win!

      Oh dear I hope the 80+ year olds weren’t hitting on me…

      1. Was hoping to find a positive spin, not working too well huh?

  25. Holy cow! LOL I think I would have replied that I was planning on buying my own ring to put on my finger. Geez.

    1. Med school debt unfortunately doesn’t allow one to buy nice things…

      1. That’s true but old gramps doesn’t need to know that. πŸ˜‰

  26. When these old men meet you I bet the word MARRIAGE pops into their heads… because they think you are highly marketable!

    1. Or must have something wrong with my because I should be marketable πŸ˜‰

  27. I can’t believe that! I hope you just laughed it off & didn’t take any of their insane comments to heart.

  28. Woman have come a long way, but not far enough. And, I’m not sure men have progressed much as all. Continue to plot your life as you see it, and enjoy every minute of it.

    1. I’m definitely not the settle down soon type…

  29. Where do you find these old men?!!! I’ve never had that problem–but then there may be a difference in how they perceive a “lady-lawyer” (which is what they always call me) and a doctor. My problem with travel is that the airlines seem to automatically cancel any flight I book. I don’t even get to me the little old men, because I’m spending my time grounded–in one airport or another.

    1. You at least get lady lawyer. I always get “you mean a nurse, right?” No offense to nurses but come on- I said doctor, I meant it!

  30. Wow I think you just attract bad luck and/or weirdos. But they make for fabulous stories!
    ….So um, why are you not married? πŸ˜›

    1. My mom got married at 28…so I maintain that I at least have another two years before the parents start bugging me…

      1. I should hope so! My parents got married at 32…having known each other for a grand total of 3 months. This gives me another 8 years, but if I do the whole 3-months thing, I think they might kill me…

      2. My parents were longer than three months…in fact, my dad asked multiple times for my mom to marry him until she was finally ready!

  31. [most] Men hate a smart & successful woman because it puts the man in the backseat suffering from an impotent ego. For a man not to be needed is a blow to his core identity of having any viable usefulness in the world.

  32. You do realize a Rock Cornish Game Hen is a baby chicken, don’t you? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornish_game_hen

    Is there some link between those old men looking at you as a young chick and your impulse to publish this recipe?

    1. It’s still a special type of chicken. It’s kind of like the chicken equivalent of veal.


  33. As sexist as the old men were, some comments on the post were a tad more angry than they should IMHO. At least they are older men, from a different generation and a set of mind, in Lebanon (my native country), you would hear that from younger people sometimes and you would find women in the same mindset: they would feel a complete failure without marriage even if they have an awesome career.
    I commend you for not being rude to them (despite them intruding on your business), I find it rather annoying that lately people lack manner and respect (I know I sound like I am a million years old!), but this makes the world a better place.
    Don’t let them discourage you from getting married though, I did for my husband what I always told myself I would never do for a man: moved across the world to the USA. If you ever do that just make sure the guy appreciates you just the way you are, the whole package brain, career and all the rest ;).
    On the other hand I have never heard of Cornish Hens! Unless it is what I am used to as “poussin”. I never tried them though.
    Sorry for the long comment but I admire you for finding the time to cook and blog despite your career choice and what it entails :).

    1. No worries on the long comment. πŸ˜‰

      A poussin is the same thing as a Cornish rock hen, so you have heard of them before. I think they’re a bit more tender and moist than a bigger bird, plus it’s a bit fun to have your own full meal, so I make them often.

      I have to cook- it’s how I destress from my job!

  34. There’s always something about the next stage of life that everyone tries pushing you into. First it’s “When are you going to get a man?”, then “When are you getting married?” and finally “Where’s the kids?”. It’s so frustrating sometimes.

    1. At least within medicine, people don’t tend to push as much…

  35. Oh my….you poor, poor husbandless girl! πŸ™‚ I give you credit for refraining comment in all of these situations, because I’m not sure I’d have been as gracious. Love this post and the recipe – then name of the recipe is priceless!

    1. I know you should definitely pity me πŸ˜‰


  36. Sanjiv Khamgaonkar January 20, 2013 — 10:33 am

    Haha, funny. But poor you. You’re a good cook and I’m sure that will make some ‘ring’ person happy too. πŸ™‚

    1. In the meantime, my coworkers certainly appreciate it πŸ˜‰

  37. 60 isn’t as old as it used to be, that is what I keep telling myself, but I guess i’m an old man. I apologize to you for the attitudes you encountered from these “gentlemen.”
    I would assume they had to be 80 +,. I have never felt marriage defined a woman. Even motherhood.
    We all define ourselves in different ways and for different reasons.
    I hope you will have better luck with a Grandmother, but it could be worse. LOL
    Defining yourself as a Woman and a Doctor is a great place to be!
    To your success.

    1. My grandfather taught me that someone is never old unless they’re older than him, so therefore the gentlemen in question were all in their mid-80s for this encounter πŸ˜‰

  38. Old men with old stupid ideas are dying like The Beach Boy fans (and thank goodness for that)

  39. OMG. That so reminded of a story my Mom told me a few years ago. She was talking to an old friend she hadn’t seen in years about her kids. She said, “The youngest is studying to be a vet. My son is a pharmacist. The second eldest is a xray tech. The oldest? She’s married”. Um that would be me and I do work. Just not in the medical professions.

  40. Seriously? Do people really think that way anymore? There’s nothing wrong with finding yourself, being sucessful and having a great life with or without a husband and kids! People are crazy. haha

  41. Wow…what is up with that? I can imagine one old man being that old fashioned and misinformed but four, that is just insane.

  42. You have inspired me so I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog/Very Inspiring Blogger Award! You may visit my site, http://jeepnmom.wordpress.com/, for acceptance info and some badges. There are also links to some other very inspiring blogs! Have a great day!

  43. I can’t believe it! Have you ever gotten that before? And yet, 4 times, with 4 random older gents on 4 different flights… infuriating!

    1. It was a bit ridiculous. I can’t make this stuff up.

  44. I received a generous gift of food from some of the kind parishioners at the church I work for… among the food was two Cornish game hens.
    In a related story, I know what my fiancee and I are having for dinner tonight! I can’t WAIT to try this recipe.

    1. Cornish hens are my favorite- I really prefer them to chicken!

      1. It turned out amazingly well. The stuffing was fantastic (and I baked the leftover up as dressing, which is also phenomenal), and the birds themselves… to die for.

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