I should have known not to eat lunch at a bookstore.
But being new to the area where I now work (the Lincoln Center district of New York City), I was not quite sure where to grab a quick, cheap sandwich. I had already exhausted the few delis near my office, and I was craving something warm and toasty.
What’s a hungry, poor man to do?
I turned into the local Barnes & Noble, thinking that their cafe probably had something that would at least fill my belly. Little did I know, however, that lurking in this mild-mannered, big box media store was an evil piece of food unfit for consumption: the “Herb Grilled Chicken on Focaccia.”
It looked pretty harmless, sitting there wrapped pretty in cellophane and waiting for a suitor. It came with some sort of cheese and a roasted red pepper dressing, but they were besides the point. I simply wanted to rip into a nice chicken breast sandwich.
What I got – following the interminable wait for the sandwich to finish grilling – was pure, unadulterated mush. The round paddy in the middle did not come from a chicken… or at least a chicken from this planet. It did not even pretend to have the consistency of meat.
In tasted like something concocted in a lab, far from anything resembling a farm, and assembled by scientists who must have played a cruel joke on the new guy by giving him the task of inventing a type of chicken that doesn’t in fact “taste like chicken.”
After reading my fellow blogger’s article on “particle chicken,” I knew what I had come face to face with: a homogenized mass of reprocessed chicken pieces. After that first horrifying bite, I suppressed my gag reflex and proceeded to remove the “chicken” from my sandwich. I forced myself to eat the remaining grilled cheese sandwich because, well… I was still hungry.
The experience was so bad, I might even stop reading books just out of spite.