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™‚

  2. 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™‚

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

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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™‚

  6. 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.

  7. 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 …

  8. 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˜‰

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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”.

  12. 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. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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. 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…

  15. [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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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. 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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