Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Accidental Taste Tester

By accident I've done a taste test.  If I work late I'm usually too tired to tear off the wrapping around the plastic of some Dinty Moore Stew so I can throw it into the microwave. Waiting two minutes for it to cook is out of the question. So I stop at a fast food drive in window on my way home for one of the salads they're passing off as sustenance lately.

However, as much as I remember how I used to like the flamebroiled flavor of a Burger King beef or chicken thing, I have noticed that their salads, on the other hand, just suck. They lack a certain je ne sais quoi --- TASTE -- but mostly they have no STYLE.  The tomatoes are tossed into the plastic container, not placed artfully around the edges like McDonald's. And both of their lettuce based offerings are painfully inadequate compared to the relative gourmet-ness of Wendy's lip smacking good mandarin chicken salad.

BUT -- I was nowhere near a Wendy's last week.  Only McDonald's and Burger King.  So I decided to have chicken nuggets, those round poultry flavored items not found in nature, but so handy while one is driving and a perfect fit in my mouth.

Truthfully I thought all chicken nuggets came from the same bag. Like soup. Have you noticed that there's only one kind of chicken noodle in the whole country no matter where you go?

I was surprised to discover that, no, the chicken nuggets aren't all the same.  McDonald's is different than Burger King. First of all, so you won't confuse them, Burger King has nuggets shaped like a crown. Bad idea. The result is a dry, chewy experience I will never repeat.

The next day I tried MdDonald's. McNuggets kept my children alive for years. Sure enough, they were just like the old days -- slather them in sauce and you don't notice the taste. Even better, they were shaped like nuggets, not crowns.

But today I happened to be near a Wendy's on my way back from a Saturday of work, so, just for grins, I got some of their chicken nuggets for instant gratification, along with my mandarin chicken salad, which I wait to eat at home, because it is too hard to eat at sixty miles an hour.

Like I said, nuggets make perfect car appetizers, the rightsized bite sized food to keep me from chewing the cover off the steering wheel. In desperation, I have also been known to fish for the occasional peanut M and M hiding underneath the passenger side of my car. Finding a Rice Krispies' Treat still in its wrapper was cause for rejoicing once as I recall. Driving home after seven at night is an exercise in staving off the hunger that grows exponentially the moment I get in the car. 

Anyway, I took one bite of my very first Wendy's chicken nuggets, since I originally started going there for the salad, and I did what we call in the ad biz a "BITE AND SMILE."  I bit into the thing and it tasted GOOD. So I actually smiled in surprise and looked at it, just like we ask the actors to do when they're faking it. WOW, golly, that tasted okay. 

I was struck by the fresh, crispy, yet not greasy, outer crust and overjoyed that there actually seemed to be a tender piece of real chicken on the inside. However, I must confess, I'm not sure I know what real chicken tastes like anymore, ever since Perdue got involved.

I have decided to go back to Wendy's tonight for more of their chicken nuggets, because I'm working all weekend and I'll be hungry once again on the way home. 

Life is about having things to look forward to.


somenuttychic said...

Wendy's is the one place I never go even though almost all my meals come from conveniences stores, a pizza place, a sub shop or a drive-thru somewhere. I'm always busy doing something, and like you, once I realize I need food, it's too late. I'm already beyond ravenous. Naturally, I make a bee-line for the closest, quickest food source available. Which is not my kitchen.

psychfun said...

Wendy's has chicken nuggest & chicken strips. The chicken strips are even better in my opinion but...

mutualaide said...

You're right!  Wendy's nuggets do make you smile. BUT.  Don't get the chili -- it's a watered down version of Dave's original.  And it sucks.  But the nuggets ... they are good!