Place oven rack on second level from bottom. Heat oven to 500°. Remove the fat from the tail and crop end of the chicken. Discard the neck and giblets or freeze for making chicken stock later. Reserve chicken livers for another use. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon, garlic and butter, if using. Season the cavity and skin with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken in a 12-by-8-by-1 1/2-inch roasting pan, breast-side up. Put in the oven legs first and roast 50 to 60 minutes, or until the juices run clear. After the first 10 minutes, move the chicken with a wooden spatula to keep it from sticking. Remove the chicken to a platter by placing a large wooden spoon into the tail end and balancing the chicken with a kitchen spoon pressed against the crop end.
As you lift the chicken, tilt it over the roasting pan so that all the juices run out of the cavity and into the pan. Pour off excess fat from the pan and put the pan on top of the stove. Add the stock or other liquid and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom vigorously with a wooden spoon. Let reduce by half. Serve the sauce over the chicken or, for crisp skin, in a sauce boat.
NOTES: (2 to 4 servings) If there is no lemon, garlic or butter on hand, Kafka says, roast the chicken without them. Or play. Use peeled shallots or a small onion, quarter ed. Add a couple of sage leaves or orange wedges. To avoid a smoky kitchen, be sure your oven is clean before you start and use the right-size pan.