On Life As A Black Person Who Doesn’t Really Like Chicken All That Much » VSB

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On Life As A Black Person Who Doesn’t Really Like Chicken All That Much

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I don’t know where to begin. And, since I don’t know where to begin, I’ll begin from the beginning — the first time I realized I don’t really like chicken all that much.

It was a little over a year ago. I was at the Cheesecake Factory, set to order the shrimp and bacon club. A bit of context: The only entree I’ve ever ordered at the Cheesecake Factory is the shrimp and bacon club. In fact, an episode of Oprah where Chris Rock called the Cheesecake Factory’s shrimp and bacon club his favorite sandwich is the only reason I even started going to the Cheesecake Factory. Until hearing that, I had no idea the Cheesecake Factory sold anything other than cheesecake.

Anyway, as a pure thought exercise, I cracked open the 232 page long menu, just to see what I’d order if I didn’t order the shrimp and bacon club. I considered a few seafood options, a few beef/steak options, and a couple pork options. There was even a turkey burger or some shit that looked halfway appealing. But none of the 29 or so chicken-related options were even considered. No chicken salads, no chicken sandwiches, and no chicken-flavored cheesecakes.

I then tried to recall a time I ordered chicken at any restaurant where other meats were available. I couldn’t. If both chicken and something other than chicken are menu options, I always choose something other than chicken. Always. This led to an epiphany: I really don’t like chicken all that much. I don’t dislike it all. It’s just not…essential. If I went my entire life without ever eating chicken again — if some random ass alien decided to kidnap every chicken from Earth — I’d just continue living my life. Of course, I’d wonder why the alien went through all the trouble of invading this planet just to steal some fucking chickens, but I wouldn’t miss them. I’d just be confused.

Of course, I’ve been to KFC numerous times and I was thisclose to having Chick Fil A nuggets at my wedding. Also, just last Friday I ordered chicken wings and calamari at a bar and then went to a birthday party where chicken wings and pizza were served and then took some of the extra wings home. But, fried chicken is a different animal. (Sometimes literally.) My interest in it is more about the skin, the seasoning, the various sauces used to accentuate, and the process of eating it more than the actual chicken meat. Because, if you isolate the actual chicken meat, actual chicken meat just isn’t all that good.

Ironically, I enjoy the chicken-related meals I enjoy — chicken wings, chicken soup/stew, etc — precisely because chicken meat itself isn’t all that good. The relative blandness of it gives it versatility. Where certain types of fish or beef might be too overpowering if placed in a stew or potpie, chicken works because it blends with the other ingredients and provides texture. Same could be said about chicken wings, which somehow manages to be breaded, rubbed in Cajun salt, fried, rubbed in more Cajun salt, dipped in hot sauce, dipped in ranch and not be overpowering. Chicken might not be all that good, but it is magic.

Surprisingly, navigating life as Black person who doesn’t really like chicken all that much hasn’t really been that difficult. Sure, there have been instances where older Black women shamed me into saying I wanted more chicken when I didn’t really want more chicken. And by “instances” I mean “this shit happened last month.” I was at a relative’s house, I took two pieces of chicken, and an older relative asked if I wanted more chicken with a look that said “you’re either going to eat more chicken or I’m going to beat you with it.” Since I’ve never been beat with a chicken breast before and wish to make it through my entire life without getting beat with a chicken breast, I took and ate another chicken breast.

But this is really the extent of my troubles. Occasionally I have to eat more chicken than I originally planned to. And I figure any Black card demerits received for not loving poultry are canceled out each time I eat chitlins. In fact, I’m thinking the frozen bucket of chitlins in my freezer now (Yes. There really is a frozen bucket of chitlins in my freezer.) gives me unadulterated Blackness until at least 2037.

By that time, maybe I’ll be ready to order something different at the Cheesecake Factory. Not chicken, though.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

    “Of course, I’ve been to KFC numerous times …”
    I’m gonna stop you right there because clearly this is where you went wrong in terms of chicken.

    • miss t-lee

      ALL THE WAY WRONG.

    • “Of course, I’ve been to KFC numerous times …”

      This is clearly the “I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque.” of chicken consumption.

      • miss t-lee

        Yup.

    • Damon Young

      you’ve never been to kfc?

      • MeridianBurst

        I like the twisters at KFC. #DontJudgeMe

      • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

        Yes, but not numerous times. LOL
        I’m not a fan of anywhere where they call chicken dipped in hot dog water, their “original recipe.”

        • Detroit Skater

          *dead*>>>>I’m not a fan of anywhere where they call chicken dipped in hot dog water….

    • LakeCity

      He needs some Popeye’s in his life.

      • menajeanmaehightower

        Also not good chicken.

        • LakeCity

          Your yardbird standards must be pretty high, lol.

          • menajeanmaehightower

            Very high. That stuff is greasy and the skin is all wrong.

      • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

        In terms of the two big ol’ chicken franchises, yes, Popeyes is the winner. By a landslide.

        • Nicholas Peters

          Red Beans and Rice…it stands unchallenged…even with the fact that you can taste the grease

      • All fast food chicken is borderline rubbish. Publix’s grocery stores, hood spots, and ninja’s houses are the move for fried yard bird.

        • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

          yes… chicken shacks ALWAYS win for fried yardbird.

    • KMN

      Yes KFC is horrible…but they do make some BOMB pot pies…and hot wings. But their fried chicken can got straight to hell…best fried chicken outside of my own lol is Popeyes…ONLY when it’s fresh out of the grease though

    • OSHH

      I like KFC, Popeyes, the bomb carry out, wings from chili’s, lil ceasars etc

  • BreezyX2

    Seriously?!?!?

    http://gifatron.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/arrested-development-get-out.gif

    Your black card has been revoked foreva!!!

    • Nicholas Peters

      Its been tough week for him…he also doesn’t like anything Red Velvet

      • BreezyX2

        He definitely needs an Intervention.

        • Damon Young

          intervene on deez

          • BreezyX2

            Hush!

        • Nicholas Peters

          There have to be like 8 people on here from Pittsburgh who can set it up

          • BreezyX2

            Make this happen Nic.

            • Nicholas Peters

              I live in DC…but I have seen people from Pittsburgh on here…this is why there needs to be a section for guest contributions…

      • Charlisia Nwachukwu

        Yeah soon he will be talking about how he hates Mac and Cheese… DON’T GO THERE.

        • Nicholas Peters

          What a sad life…what do you do for thanksgiving?….I just died a little inside

        • IminlovewithCoCo

          Mac & Cheese…the real overrated side…

          • Nicholas Peters

            Cranberry Sauce

            • IminlovewithCoCo

              I will see your cranberry sauce and raise you a side of okra!

              • Nicholas Peters

                I never saw the point of Cranberry sauce…and I will never eat okra

            • Rachmo

              Like…who hurt you? Is this bc I dissed Cheesecake factory? I can’t have this negative energy in 2015.

              • Nicholas Peters

                Never understood it…juts looks like globby, slurpy dark red jello…and it is always served in a sauce pan away from the other real food by itself in the corner

                outcast of Thanksgiving

        • uNk

          You missed the Stuffing vs Dressing debate last year, it was epic….and about half of VSBs black cards were up in the air from it lol

  • Mutsa

    I totally agree. Chicken is my least liked meat. It’s always the last option for me. I loooove chicken wings and your reason as to why you do makes perfect sense to me so now it’s mine!

    • Damon Young

      “Chicken is my least liked meat.”

      Interesting fact: this was actually the original title of “The Matrix”

  • miss t-lee

    First of all…Cheesecake Factory is so terrible.
    I’ve been exactly three times, and I never need to go back. Not for anything, not even the cheesecake.

    2nd of all–chicken is the truth and the light. I’m so sorry you don’t feel this way.

    • Damon Young

      that’s the thing. you can’t say it’s terrible if you’ve only been there three times. because there are literally thousands of different things on that Koran-sized menu

      • miss t-lee

        I won’t return.
        You can’t do anything great with a menu that large. All mediocre everything.

        • uNk

          They do have a lot of mediocre items, but their brunch menu is pretty legit.

          • miss t-lee

            I’m not a bruncher.

      • Koran-sized menu…accurate. LOL

    • HR Paperstacks

      Banana cream cheesecake. I’ll sit through a C- meal at the factory for that…

      • miss t-lee

        Ew. Bananas.
        EW.

        • LadyIbaka

          Bananas are what’s up, mmkay. I ain’t gon let you slanderize the yumminess that is that fruit.

          • miss t-lee

            Struggly a** fruit.

    • Rachmo

      I too hate Cheesecake Factory. I’ve been trying for over ten years to make fetch happen and it will never be.

      • miss t-lee

        Nah. I bowed out years ago.
        I refuse to step back in there ever.

      • Nicholas Peters

        Excuse Me?…you might have just killed our friendship…

        • Rachmo

          The food is so gross and the portions are out of control. A little piece of me dies when I eat at Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, or Maggiano’s. I’m standing in that truth.

          • Nicholas Peters

            Your breaking my heart…Maggiano’s is the spot…Friendship Heights…in there… (your truth is wrong)

            • Rachmo

              I was taken there for a date. I ate the food with a smile on my face, but inside I was having the sads.

              • Nicholas Peters

                At least dude broke bread…Maggiano’s costs a pretty penny

                • Rachmo

                  That’s the main reason I was so pleasant about it. However there are so many better places in Glover Park for a better price. Thankfully I got input on the second date :-)

          • miss t-lee

            All mediocre everything.
            Every. single. one.

            • Nicholas Peters

              Shhhhhhhhhhh!!!

              • miss t-lee

                Someone has to tell you the truth.

                • Nicholas Peters

                  You tell lies

          • MsSula

            Olive Garden I can no longer stand. On pay day in college, Olive Garden was THEE spot. Salad buffet?? Fancy! Loll. Now don’t even mention the place to me.

            • HeyBooHey

              In college, Olive Garden was where you took your boo for fanciful meals. Couldn’t pay me to eat there now lol

              • Andrea

                They had this chocolate lasagna I used to love. I can’t seem to go anymore since they took it off the menu. Also I have no idea where the nearest Olive garden is?

                • HeyBooHey

                  Chocolate. Lasagna?!? I’m angry I’ve never experienced that

                  There’s one propped up in my area in the DMV, holding on for dear life. And one in Long Island cuz….New York smh

                  • Andrea

                    I used to live in those Long Island ones. Who doesn’t like a bread stick?

                    • HeyBooHey

                      Right?!?! They put one in Green Acres recently to fancy up the area. The people need breadsticks

                    • HeyBooHey

                      Yup, I live near that one too and I’ve seen no other in all of the DMV. Hey neighbor!

                • Nicholas Peters

                  PG Plaza

              • miss t-lee

                True…lol We went there for prom in HS, and thought we was doing something.

                • HeyBooHey

                  In HS Olive Garden was doing something, yall did it UP!

                  • miss t-lee

                    GIRL. HIGH COTTON. Do you hear me? LMAO

          • LadyIbaka

            Your truth is sketchy.

    • Charlisia Nwachukwu

      wait.. they Have a BBQ chicken salad that is incredible. #Doit

      • miss t-lee

        nope.

    • Nicholas Peters

      Like I said yesterday…we really don’t get along…don’t let me catch you in these streets

      • miss t-lee

        Better eat your wheaties, and bring somebody with you.

    • Cheesecake Factory is what would happen if your typical grandma who could burn would open a restaurant with a blank check. It’s OK, but it’s overkill.

      • miss t-lee

        Ya’ll really ride hard for Cheesecake Factory on the East I see.

        • I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. The thing about the massive menu is that they’ll always something you’ll check for, so it’s hard to piss people off. Still, given a choice, I’d roll with something else.

          • miss t-lee

            Meh. All meh.

    • I’ve never been to a Cheesecake Factory.

      • miss t-lee

        You’re not missing anything. I promise.

        • PunchDrunkLove

          Right…..it’s a’ight. Plenty other places edges Cheesecake Factory.

      • Nicholas Peters

        Need to find one…it is very good, plus they have cheescake on deck for desert

  • Brandon Allen

    Whew, this was definitely click-bait because I almost had a heart attack….but you had a fried chicken disclaimer. Because that’s all people mean when they say black people love chicken….Black people love FRIED CHICKEN. Everyone knows wings are the best piece of meat because they contain just enough meat to soak up all that greasy flavor. Ain’t nobody checking for Chicken a la King.

    • Damon Young

      i can live without fried chicken too. i’ve never actually craved for fried chicken

      • Brandon Allen

        Fried chicken wings?

        • Damon Young

          i like the experience of eating wings — and all the extras you put on the wings — more than the actual chicken meat.

          • Brandon Allen

            Fair enough. But any unseasoned meat is bland as hell. Give chicken its due as the perfect vessel for flavor.

      • OSHH

        What? Never?
        Craving wings, small wings fried hard with mumbo sauce and fries is nothing out the norm round these parts.

      • Vanity in Peril

        Annnnd you lost me.

      • Charlisia Nwachukwu

        lies.

      • pls

        Who’s bland chicken have you been eating though? mommy gets it right. don’t need any skin or dipping sauces for flavor.

      • Andrea

        I definitely don’t crave it anymore. Particularly once you stop eating a lot of fried foods. That is the epitome of the fried food you don’t want to go back to.

    • HR Paperstacks

      I prefer baked over fried erday…

      • OSHH

        I do way more baked wit olive oil or grilled or Peruvian style than fried, now I love fried but only in moderation.

      • Brandon Allen

        Even though I am caping for fried chicken…it’s not something I eat regularly. The grease is just a lot, but every once in a while you gotta revisit that old friend.

        • MeridianBurst

          Word. Now that I think about it I mostly eat grilled or curry chicken. There’s so many ways to cook it I hardly ever just fry it anymore.

  • OSHH

    I don’t have many options on the meat side of things, all I do is poultry or fish/seafood these days. Red meat and pork haven’t been a reg part of diet since I was a teen.
    You gotta finesse poultry, esp when trying to be healthy, esp the supa low fat variety, like 99% fat free ground turkey or boneless chicken breast etc.

    • Damon Young

      if you have a choice between poultry and fish/seafood, what do you choose?

      • OSHH

        Well more times than naught I choose poultry but in the summer I tend to go for more seafood. When my palate is tired I go for more combos, or veggie dishes or different cultures.

  • MeridianBurst

    If a lady tells you to eat the chicken than you just have to eat the chicken. She spent mad long dressing that meat up and she wants it to be savored! Gotta do tricks with that br3ast meat!

    • black-a-rican

      Are we still talking about chicken???

      • MeridianBurst

        I have no idea but I’m laughing my a*s off and it’s chicken noodle soup for the soul.

        • black-a-rican

          Let’s try and keep it professional and get back to food shaming Champ.

          • MeridianBurst

            Laughing is unprofessional?

            • black-a-rican

              The seemingly dirty joke is, but my comment was made in jest.

              • MeridianBurst

                If I was a staff writer for VSB making s*xually explicit jokes, you might be able to get away with telling me to keep it professional. Not sure your fixation on my br3asts on a super generic comment is jest.

                • black-a-rican

                  “but my comment was made in jest.”

                  since you didn’t notice it the first time

                  • MeridianBurst

                    *sits here struggling with the concept of being joked with*

    • HR Paperstacks

      “Gotta do tricks with that br3ast meat!”

      – That’s what she said.

      • MeridianBurst

        *twirls br3ast meat in the air* Just gonna spice this up real quick.

        • pls

          i bought some chicken breasts at food lion and they are bigger than my human breasts. #ThatAintChicken

          McDonald’s selling 40 nuggets for $5 #DontTrustTheNuggets

          • miss t-lee

            As my uncle calls it, “Barry Bonds chicken”.

          • MeridianBurst

            Girl! I know exactly the ones you’re talking about too. I bought some earlier this month and I cut it up. I made three sandwiches with it. I mean slices fully covering the bread I was using. Don’t trust KFC either. They make genetic chickens, I wish I could find a pic.

          • That’s how I feel about Church’s. Talking bout a wheelbarrow full of dark meat for six dollars.

          • MeridianBurst

            The chicken KFC uses.

  • thatgirljd

    I did not read the article yet…but based on the title alone I to mention my co-worker who is allergic to chicken. Yes she is a black woman that has an allergic reaction to chicken…we all pity her…smh

    • miss t-lee

      Bless her heart.

  • Vanity in Peril

    I didn’t read this. And I won’t. I shan’t. *tears shirt sleeve and walks away mumbling in Hebrew.

  • LeeLee

    That cornbread in the pic looking right tho………anyways, chicken is like the ‘fast food’ of meat to me. It’s what I learned to cook first, can make easily and fastest. I love making oven fried chicken wings with butter (instead of Crisco) and flour with all the seasonings.

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