Friday, October 10, 2008


When I find myself on the south end of my last paycheck, I go into a kind of crazed conservation mode, like a hibernating animal preparing for winter. As such, I usually head to a supermarket and buy as much foul, prepackaged swill as I can for $20. It's like a competition of sorts. See how many meals I can get out of $20. I've eaten for three weeks off of a haul like that.

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.


Rabo Karabekian said...

"Filler" is not as generic a term as you might think. A simple Google search would have revealed to you that "filler" is New Zealand slang for "hobos".

Dix said...

best of luck my friend

Israel said...

Two "meat" post in row. Nice.

Richard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a.e. nee said...

I found your blog through my friend Daniela. I like it. Thanks.