It was this mindset that found me deep-frying frozen chicken nuggets for lunch today. A cursory examination of the package revealed that the nuggets were 37 percent chicken. This stirred in me a kind of awe-struck respect for the manufacturer. In today's world of quality control and consumer watchdog groups, I find it comforting to know that food purveyors can still label a product with the name of an animal that only appears for a third of the meal.
I fried the nuggets up in olive oil out of some misguided health-consciousness. Consuming food like this and then worrying about the oil you fry it in is like fighting a wildfire with a squirt gun. After patting the nuggets dry and waiting an appropriate time for them to cool, I bit into one with fear and trepidation. The "meat" contained in it was a grayish color, and had a watery, spongy feel to it. The flavor had a vague kinship with chicken, as though a chicken may have one time wandered past the factory where the nuggets were being made. If this is only one-third chicken, I wondered, what is the rest? Examining the bag again, I came across this cryptic ingredient: "Filler." Filler? Why, that could be anything! Newsprint, past-their-prime circus animals or vagrants! There was a grim excitement in the thought that I could be eating any manner of horrifying garbage.
Faced with a powerful hunger, I cooked up ten of the ugly buggers. I was able to eat five before I was forced to call poison control. As I waited for the ambulance to arrive, I sealed the remaining nuggets in a sandwich bag. I can't wait to have them for dinner.