Friday, October 10, 2008

Filler

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.

5 comments:

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...

http://www.7perth.com.au/view/today-tonight-articles/20061010164538/

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.