Friday, March 25, 2005

Wanna bone?

Much has been made recently of my distaste for food that involves bones. I’ll own up to cutting all the meat off barbecue ribs and disposing of the bones before I’ll eat a bite. I’m perfectly comfortable telling people that once I get one of those accidentally-left-behind bones in a piece of fish, my meal is officially over. And don’t even get me started on those giant turkey* legs people heft around at fairs and amusement parks. I shudder even typing about them.

My whole no-bone obsession was revealed as a corollary to an unfortunate reminiscence about a field trip to Medieval Times; you see, apparently they had Pepsi in the Olde Days, but they didn’t have utensils, so at MT, you have to eat everything with your hands. The main course is some sort of poultry product (I’ve blocked specifics) that requires you to navigate around all kinds of bones with no fork-and-knife support to prevent direct contact: you either touch the bones as you’re ripping into the meat with your bare hands, or you get an unexpected mouthful of bone after you’ve taken a bite. Neither of those bone-discovery options really do it for me. I’m gagging right now, actually.

Add to the gross-out factor of dealing with your own bone-riddled hunk of fowl the fact that you have to observe other people dealing with their entrees. Here’s where I think my major hang-ups kick in. Say Medieval Times to me today, and instead of conjuring images of majestic knights engaging in heroic sport, I think of fat, balding men sporting unbuttoned Wranglers and wife beaters with yellow underarm circles, sucking poultry grease off their thick fingers, gnashing their teeth to rip tough sinew from the knobby ends of bones, and then licking those bones clean.** Ew.

Of course, in typical Erin fashion, I’ve made a big, dramatic to-do of rejecting all foods that haven’t been completely de-boned; if I absolutely must consume an un-de-boned meat, I’ll do the de-boning myself, get the bones as far away from my plate as possible, and continue politely with my meal.***

But alas, there is an exception to every rule and, likewise, to every endearing eating quirk. Buffalo wings, in my case, are that exception.

Mary and I started doing the low-carb thing, so Buffalo wings were bound to come up sooner or later. I already drench everything else in buffalo sauce, so what’s unhandle-able about chicken wings? Bones. That’s what. But I agreed to do the wing thing, and I have to admit, I’ve done a complete 180 from my initial horrific perception of Buffalo wings.

Here’s the thing: it’s not worth getting out a fork and a knife to cut the meat from the bone of chicken wings (I’ve tried.) The input far outweighs the output. I came to terms with that fairly easily.

But what’s more, I also realized that, in the privacy of one’s own home (i.e. away from the finger-lickin’ bone-suckin’ masses) Buffalo wings can be downright sexy. I think with a little practice and the development of some patent-worthy maneuvers, I could actually eat Buffalo wings seductively.
Think about it: there’s something inherently attractive about a girl who can throw back a plate of freakin’ spicy chicken, just like the boys, right?**** Now factor in the natural reactions: the throbbing lips, the single bead of sweat on the forehead, the touch that burns the skin a little, even after a hand-washing. Throw in a coy look and – alright – a little provocative finger sucking, and you’ve got, like, the hottest eating experience ever. Totally sexy … see?

I really think I could pull this off, even with my bone-induced gag reflex. I can overcome. I can be sexy while eating Buffalo wings.

As a sidenote, if you’re privy to my little show, please remind me to wash my hands thoroughly before attempting to remove my contacts (or do anything else with my hands.) Ah! The burning!

* Discourse on my bone-o-phobia as it relates to fowl led to the revelation of another of my pet peeves: calling a turkey The Bird. “How much does The Bird weigh this year?” “What time did you get up to put The Bird in the oven?” Gross! Nobody says “How much longer ‘til you’re finished frying The Pig?” or “Do you want The Cow medium rare?”.

** I guess it’s better than thinking about the Black Plague. But still…

*** This elaborate de-boning (and de-fatting, and de-gristling) process drives my mom crazy, and usually has me taking my first bite as the less picky clear their dishes.

**** This may be a false perception. But I’ve convinced myself that there are certain “traditionally masculine” things I do – loving Home Depot and chugging cheap beer, to name a few – that are simply irresistible. Allow me the fantasy, OK?