Friday, June 10, 2016

Of chicken fingers, breasts and nipples (from '14)

I always make a point anytime we’re out at some family restaurant to ask the waitress if she has chicken fingers. The answer is always yes.

“Oh, you’re being too hard on yourself,” I say. “Your fingers are ugly, but they still appear human!”

I do this knowing it embarrasses my family and ups the odds my order will now be seasoned with waitress spit.

Chicken fingers are one of the world’s most popular menu items, yet I’ve never seen a single fingered chicken. Chicken don’t even have arms or hands.

How can they possibly have fingers?

If chickens had fingers you can imagine they’d be giving us the middle one for eating so many of them.

Chicken anatomy has always confused me.

One of the most desirable parts of a chicken is the breast.

It’s the same with women. Many shallow men revere breasts, more even than the women to whom they’re attached. And how come you never hear chicken breasts referred to as chicken boobs? Is it out of respect for the chicken?

Breasts of women are referred to with many colorful nicknames. They’re hooters. Jugs. Frost detectors. Jell-o molds. Dingle bobbers. Dairy pillows. Gerber servers. Bazoombas.

But with chickens it’s always the same delicate wordage the romance novelists use. It is the chicken breast.

Well, la de dah.

It’s a lot of deferential dignity for a part of a yard bird that’s destined to be deep fried and dipped in honey mustard.

I’ll wager no one in history has ever approached a butcher counter and said, “I’m looking for a nice juicy set of chicken tits.”

And breasted women all have nipples. Us dudes, too. And for every human breast there’s at least a little nipple.

So chicken have breasts. Women have breasts. Women have nipples. How come we’ve never heard of a nippled chicken? Is it a delicacy? I’d imagine chicken nipples would make a tasty snack.

The Nippled Chickens would be a great band name, too, I think.

Given gourmet eating trends, you might soon see chicken feet at a food truck near you. Chicken feet are very popular in China, Korea, Vietnam, Mexico and parts of the Caribbean.

Me, I don’t care how exquisitely you prepare the dish, I’m nervous about eating the feet of any animal that walks barefoot through where it poops.

So I’m fine with chicken wings and fingers. In fact, the so-called chicken “finger” is actually the tender white meat under both sides of the breast bone, the pectoralis major.

I’m going to order a set of breaded pecs at the KFC drive-thru next time I’m there just to enjoy the confusion it causes.

My mother’s absolutely nuts about chicken fingers. She’s 81, has dementia, and recently called me at 11 p.m. to say she had an emergency: She was out of wine and toilet paper.

I asked if she had enough of the one would she not need the other.

But for the last two years or so she just craves chicken fingers. It’s all she’ll eat. She without fail orders them out in restaurants and insists I bring her a big bag or two from the frozen food coolers during my weekly grocery visits.

That’s how I became acquainted with the newest trend in chicken part consumption. There’s now a chicken nugget that comes in what is described as “fun dinosaur shapes.” Mom says they’re great.

It’s almost enough for my sanity’s sake to consider becoming a vegetarian and I would, but I know I’d miss steak-shaped beef too much.

I can only guess fun-shaped food is for kids so refined that deep-fried microwaved nutritionally desolate crap must have an aesthetic appeal before he or she shoves it a down their throat.

I don’t know what’s so fun about dinosaur-shaped food. Haven’t these kids seen “Jurassic Park?”

If dinosaurs ever come back — and, you watch, that’ll be yet another result of catastrophic climate change — whole generations of chubby children will march right into their rapacious maws tragically thinking anything that fun shaped is sure to be friendly.

So I’m hoping introducing novelty items to Mom’s diet doesn’t backfire next time we dine at some family restaurant.

I wouldn’t want her stealing my thunder when I ask the waitress if she has fun-shaped chicken breasts.

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