Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Savory Chicken

Back when I was in middle school, I was on the fringe of the popular circle. I think I was only really included to even things out, since it was a small group. There were eight 'cool' boys, so there had to be eight 'cool' girls, too. At lunch, we all sat together at one long table. All the girls would sit at one end with four of us on each side, and they boys mirrored our positions at the other end of the table. Every other Tuesday, though, us ladies would sit at a table of our own. Why? Because every other Tuesday was Savory Chicken day.

Savory Chicken was basically rotisserie chicken with some herbs and spices. I never ate it, because us popular girls only brought lunch from home. The boys, however, had developed a passion for this cafeteria foul, and would come to school on Savory Chicken day with their pockets bulging and jingling with change.

Now you could buy an entire tray lunch for $1.25 back in those days, but these fellas were only interested in the chicken. They made an arrangement with the lunch ladies to buy individual pieces of Savory Chicken for 40¢ apiece. They would all pony up a nickel, and one kid would go and buy a single piece of chicken on a paper plate. When he returned to the table, he would place the solitary thigh or breast directly in the middle of the group of boys. They would all sit down, and then someone would issue the signal. For the next twenty or thirty seconds, the entire table turned into a flurry of arms. It was like some kind of primitive feast where they all fought and scraped over tiny bits of dry, commercially prepared chicken as though it were a fresh kill. When it was finished, they would sit back down and survey the remains. Then they would all put their nickels on the table and the next boy would go and fetch their next piece of chicken.

This would continue for the entire lunch period, every other Tuesday, the entire three years of my middle school experience. I wish I could make some sense out of their behavior, but I've never had the pleasure of being a pre-pubescent boy. At least I can look back and remember these guys when Sam hits that age and starts doing some crazy-weird shit, right?


Check out School Menu and its parental counterpart Family Everday, two sites that work together with School Food Services Directors to provide and promote healthy eating and physical fitness for kids and their parents.

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