I have a bone to pick with the restaurant industry and it’s a bone that runs through one of the most revered and ubiquitous items on appetizer menus all over the country. Favorite of the proletariat and often maligned by food snobs, it’s the humble little chicken wing. And the Chili’s and Applebee’s of the world are making a mockery of the chicken wing by selling what they call the “boneless wing“. It just makes my head explode.
Perhaps this insult began when McDonalds put chicken parts through a grinder and extruded their signature fried foul-knuckle known as the McNugget. Perhaps some sorority girl complained to her preppy boyfriend, who just happened to work at a chain restaurant, that buffalo wing sauce was messing up her expensive sculptured nails. Perhaps in our quest not to be the fattest country on earth, we’re trying to take our favorite foods and force them to fit into our low fat diets. I don’t know where this disturbing trend started. What I do know is that the good lord made chickens with bones in their wings. Yes, I know, these are flightless birds and, just like the pinky toe, perhaps the bones in their wings have outlived their usefulness. Well, chew on this mental image: thousands of chickens dragging their flaccid, boneless wings around like extra baggage. Are you as disturbed as me by this frightening development?
And yes, I know, the boneless wing isn’t actually a wing at all. It’s some other part of the chicken, a chunk of white meat rolled in breading, fried and dressed in wing sauce, clumsily passed off as a “wing”. But it’s not a wing, is it? Surely, we as the most evolved species on the planet can tell the difference between a real chicken wing and this ridiculous imposter. If chickens could talk and we showed them a boneless wing, don’t you think they’d cluck their feathery protests and call us effete morons? Come to think of it, they’d probably run in fear of the axe, but that’s another blog post.
The skin and bones is what makes this elbow-like delicacy so desirable. Crispy chicken skin, while not the healthiest thing in the world, is most certainly killer delicious. The meat closest to the bone is the most flavorful and tender. The ratio of skin and bones to meat is what makes the wing so chock full of chickeny goodness. Plus, there is something primal about gnawing the skin and meat off the bone that harkens back to our caveman instincts. I think this is why chicken wings are so popular at sports bars, biker bars and other uber masculine establishments where the cro-magnon crowd congregates. After a long day of sweating, grunting and doing manly things, there is a great deal of satisfaction derived from ripping flesh from bone.
So why does this repugnant situation exist at all? It’s because people keep ordering boneless wings at their favorite restaurants. Every time I see someone eating boneless wings with a knife and fork, I want to build a giant club out of wing bones and bludgeon them into unconsciousness. A boneless, skinless wing is like a bunless, meatless hamburger. If you want a boneless piece of white meat with wing sauce on it, order a buffalo chicken sandwich. But for crying out loud, leave the chicken wing alone!
This trend might be part of a larger behavior pattern that centers on the concept of portability. Think about it: McNuggets, popcorn chicken, chicken fries, these are all bite sized food pellets that require no utensils, small portions that you can eat while doing any number of other things. The logical next step is to put the chicken in a blender and drink it through a straw. Introducing the new Buffalo Chicken Shake!! I bet Burger King would sell a million of those.
Well, stick a fork in me, I am done. It’s time to take a stand against this unwholesome behavior! It’s time to fight back against the corporate behemoth perpetuating this culinary fraud!! I say NERTZ to the boneless wing! Let’s all let our freak flags fly and say YES TO THE BONE!!!