In the army, dad suffered through daily doses of chicken during basic training. He swore that the mess hall cooks sold the varied menu items, replaced the higher valued meats with chicken and pocketed a fortune. He said chicken was coming out of his ears...so as far back as I can recall, regardless of how it was prepared, my father always refused to eat it.
|DAD WENT INTO THE SERVICE AS A SCRAWNY 5 FOOT 10, 125 POUND KID. IT WASN'T UNTIL HE WAS STATIONED IN ITALY THAT HE BULKED-UP AND BECAME THE ADONIS THAT I HAVE PATTERNED MYSELF AFTER.|
My chicken dilemma stems from the food line where I work. The tricky variable in this cafeteria setting is...the food is free. So as soon as you eat it, you give up the right to piss and moan about the quality, (institutionalized food is infrequently good). When something is surprisingly palatable, most people add; of course, I would be screaming my head off to the manager, if I had to pay for this slop.
|AROUND 1910, THE CUBAN SANDWICH, (a.k.a EL MIXTO OR EL CUBANO), ORIGINATED AS A LOCAL FAVORITE OF CIGAR FACTORY AND SUGAR MILL WORKERS. IN THE 60's, IT BECAME POPULAR IN MIAMI AND HAS SINCE GAINED UNIVERSAL NOTORIETY.|
Of course when hungry, not everyone is as clever as me. Once someone was so desperate for a chicken alternative, he stupidly cut open one of the fancy loaves of bread that's used for decoration. After he bit through the dust and shellack he groaned, "This marble rye doesn't taste as good as it looks."
The top-of-the-line offerings like; grilled chicken or baked thighs, breasts and legs are less appetizing because the company's financial hardships have resulted in the elimination of all the favorite sauce options, (Worcestershire, A-1, Heinz 57, *soy and Tabasco). That means those staples of my work-week dinners are so plain...it's hard to really enjoy. *Several Asians bring their own soy sauce...many others eliminate the middle man and have take-out meals delivered.
Our food line has a regular rotation of untouchable items like; mystery meat, rainbow-colored bacon, feesh (a weird concoction of seafood that is neither fresh nor fish) and a series of salt-ladened soups that includes the ever-popular...cream of hot dog.
|AFTER A POWER OUTAGE, I STOPPED HAVING THE MEATLOAF AT WORK WHEN I NOTICED THE MUSHROOMS GLOWING IN THE DARK.|
|WHEN JERM (above) READ MY TRAVELOGUE BLOG OF PERU, HE WAS INSPIRED TO VACATION THERE. AND LIKE THE LIVER AT MY JOB, I THINK HE MUST HAVE ORDERED HIS GUINEA PIG LUNCH OFF THE "FOREIGNERS ONLY" MENU.|
Just in case the "before" picture doesn't do his entree the justice it deserves, here's an "after" close-up.
|I TOLD HIM NOT TO PLAY WITH HIS FOOD BUT JERM DID HIS BEST IMITATION OF DR. FRANKENSTEIN WHEN HE RE-ASSEMBLED THE GUINEA PIG CARCASS AND DECLARED, "IT'S NOT ALIVE!"|
On holidays, we are lavished with hamburgers with all the fixin's. Then depending on the celebration, to add to the festivities other noteworthy items are included like; chicken parmigiana, fried chicken, barbecued chicken, chicken fricassee, nuggets, chicken pot pie, tenders, chicken salad or chicken wings...if you closely examine this list, the common denominator is of course...chicken.
I'm not certain but I think someone might have made a complaint...because about a year ago, the cafeteria proclaimed every Tuesday going forward as; "TACO TUESDAY!"
|WITH A VARIETY OF SIDES, MY PLACE GENEROUSLY ALLOWS US TO BUILD OUR OWN TACOS, (WITHOUT TABASCO SAUCE).|
My shell-less taco adventure starts with ground beef, (swimming in molten grease). I add cheese, onions and **taco sauce before microwaving the dish. **To accomodate the general public, my place only uses mild taco sauce. And to repeat myself, they have no Tabasco.
Yes indeedy, this welcome and tasty break from chicken goes down the old gullet just fine. But because of my complete lack of intelligence, it took me months to figure out that my recurring, killer stomach cramps only happened after midnight, on Wednesday mornings. Then to prove how bright I'm not, I started carrying antacid tablets once week and continued to eat this sludge in smaller portions. A wise man once said, "The true mark of insanity is to repeat the same action and expect different results." It's a poor excuse but in my defense, the other choices, (overwhelmingly chicken) usually spurred me back to the tacos...just one more time...again and again.
I must confide in you, so I apologize that I am now whispering. One of the negative off-shoots of my indigestion doesn't effect me. It effects the nice folks around me...particularly those directly behind me. I don't embarrass easy but because I'm locked into a stationary position that night's ever-expanding malodorous cloud identified me as the culprit. I felt like a giant, invisible neon arrow was pointing at me, I was mortified.
During my final crescendo performance, I squelched the Mount Vesuvius in my pants as best I could. But despite controlling the noise, the colateral damage of its other properties, (frequency and potency), blew the doors off an unsuspesting victim. That's when my devoutly religious supervisor ventured too close to ground zero and my atomic detonations. I would have expected her reaction to the putrified air to be something like; oh my or good gracious or lordy loo...but this bible thumper shocked me by sinking to the depths of dropping the F-Bomb between the words holy and cow.
Later, during a lull I was flinching in terror when she shocked me by sayings, "You know what?" I gulped, "No. What?" She said, "Remember that the old man in the sheriff's cap, I think the poor soul gassed...it smelled like rotten eggs." Wow, I got away with murder. I had been panicking how I would resurrect my dignity when she told the gossip-mongers of the world but I was off the hook. So as long as her choice of words gave the impression that she was coming down off her high horse I said, "I think you're right, I wonder what crawled up his ass and died?" Her condemning dirty look signaled...once a hypocrite always a hyporcrite. But in reality, it helped me focus on coming to grips, getting my belly into rehab and off it's weekly gastric suicidal roller coaster ride.
Last month, to the betterment of mankind and my fear of replacing SLVRM6 as the king farter of South Jersey, I vowed to...JUST SAY NO...TO TACO TUESDAY.
|IN MEL BROOKS' "SPACEBALLS," (1987), RICK MORANIS AS DARK HELMET TAUNTS COLONEL SANDURZ BY SAYING, "WHAT'S THE MATTER COLONEL SANDURZ? CHICKEN?"|
I know this story is causing my father, (somewhere up above) to choke on his sweet nectar. But don't worry dad, I'm not chicken...especially on Tuesdays...that means, from now on, there will be no sarcasm when I say, "Oh boy, chicken again."