Have you ever noticed that practically every child’s favorite piece of fried chicken is the drumstick?
That’s a question I gave thought to today. And surprisingly, a clear answer formulated in my mind.
It’s in the name: Drumstick.
Yes, it is also called a leg. But that’s not what your parents told you it was when you were a kid, was it?
Chances are, if you grew up in a fairly normal family, your parents told you it was a drumstick.
A drumstick is something harmless.
When you ask for a leg or a thigh, you are asking for a body part.
Suddenly the horrors of killing innocent animals enters into your brain. You must decide whether that sickens you or if the mouthwatering goodness of fried chicken is worth it, and moral qualms be damned.
When you ask for a drumstick, you’re asking for something you find in the band room at school or tucked away in your toy chest. You don’t associate the tasty goodness with the meat encased leg bone that it is.
In your head, it is simply a drumstick. No added drama. Nothing more. Nothing less.
It’s all in the name.
By the time we actually associate the abstract concept of a harmless drumstick with the reality that it is the nickname for a body part of a cute bird, it’s too late. We’re already hooked.
That’s why it’s everyone’s favorite piece of chicken. That’s why there is always a battle over who gets the drumsticks at family dinners. That’s why grocery stores sell 30 packs of drumsticks. Just drumsticks.
Calling dibs on the drumstick is a learned habit passed down over the generations.
I too was a victim of my parent’s cruel deception to get me to eat a deep-fried piece of dead animal. I too knew the favored piece as merely a drumstick. And covered in tasty brown fried coating, I didn’t think of it as a leg at all.
Later in life, I became a convert to the thigh. The meat is just as juicy and succulent as the leg, and the thigh has far more meat than the dainty wings.
As you become a parent, you tell yourself you won’t be dishonest with your kids. You tell yourself that there will be no chicken deception in your house.
And then the reality sets in when your child won’t eat fried chicken if it’s described as a wing or a breast. Getting your child to eat anything reasonable has worn your patience thin. You’re cracking. You’ll say anything to get them to eat a real meal.
And so you say it…those simple, harmless words: “Will you try a drumstick?”
And the answer is almost always “Yes!”
On the rare occasions that the drumstick conspiracy doesn’t work, you must proceed with the next step down the fried chicken evolutionary path – the Chicken McNugget.
There is no actual piece of chicken called a “McNugget.” So it’s safe. They may as well grow on a McNugget tree.
You notice that I specify the McNugget, not just any chicken nugget.
I’m not talking about the chicken nuggets that come in a bag in the freezer section at Walmart.
I’m not talking about the bland breaded nuggets Wendy’s offers in inconvenient denominations of 4 to the chagrin of everyone who enjoys a balanced meal of 6 nuggets. Yes, six nuggets is what we demand…just the way McDonald’s trained us.
The McNuggets are the crown jewel of McDonald’s’ “not as bad for you as it could be” menu. Fried in a tempura coating, these babies are unmatched by Wendy’s, Burger King, or Jack in the Box. McDonald’s also has the best sauces, particularly the Sweet & Sour.
Yes, McDonald’s has been pushing over processed mystery meat nuggets to the public a long time. Almost as long as I can remember.
As long as McDonald’s doesn’t support Donald Trump, as they have publicly stated, I’ll continue to hold them in the highest regard. You have to draw the line somewhere. I’ll eat their funny named collection of chicken biproducts with great glee and abandon. But I draw the line at Trump – as all good Americans should.
Peace. Love. Trust.
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