In defense of that pedestrian grilled chicken sandwich

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Everyone’s done it, right?  You agree to go out for lunch on Friday with your office peeps, but only after looking deeply into that bathroom mirror and swearing to yourself on your honor, your children, your mother’s immortal soul, and all things bright, shiny, holy, chocolaty, or alcohol-laden that you absolutely Will Not Eat Like an Asshole. 

So then you all gather up and go someplace, typically a restaurant known for making the best something ever devised, which probably includes a minimum of three types of cheese, some form of homemade orgasma-sauce (made with the rendered drippings of three full-size pigs plus the tears of a thousand fairies), and bacon woven into a lattice-work shape, topped with bacon relish and a side of bacon.  Oh, and if you’ve got a real appetite—meaning you’re hangry, pregnant, or have The Voice that whispers that it’s okay to live without shame, a slab of deep-fried fois gras and/or pork belly can be added to make that Something a Supreme Something for a modest add-on charge.

Yet, when faced with the glistening image of the Magic Something Dish in the middle of the menu, you can only remember staring at yourself in the office’s bathroom mirror.  Staring at yourself and pledging not to Eat Like an Asshole.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

So, after all your colleagues order some variation of Cardiovascular Death on a Blue Plate, in a dry, husky, restrained voice that bespeaks your inner disappointment, you meekly request the grilled chicken sandwich. 

Admittedly, it may not satisfy.  Hell, in all likelihood, given that chicken these days has to be cooked to within 3 degrees of functional burlap, it’s going to remind you very much of eating sawdust on a bun. Not surprisingly, the indifferent addition of a swatch of wilted lettuce and a strangely pale-pinkish tomato that will never know the potential it might have attained had it been allowed to actually, you know, ripen won’t really help either.

But, hey, at least you won’t spend the afternoon feeling like you’re carrying a full-sized Lincoln in your abdomen.  And you’ll still be able to look at yourself in that bathroom mirror.

Still, wouldn’t it be nice to actually enjoy that grilled chicken?

Well, you can.  At least, I’ve found a way to do that works for me.

The things is, I’m often tempted to get The Burger.  You know the one, right?  The big-ass one that everyone is pimping these days because massive, juicy burgers are all the rage.  My problem, though, even beyond the fact that they often get the Ridiculous Fatty Embellishments listed above, is that you never really know how it’s going to come out.  A lot of places can manage to do them well, but many others are somehow capable only of producing a sad lump of ground beef that’s dense, dry, the color or fireplace ash throughout and not quite half as tasty.  And even when you do get a good one—one not over-cooked to within an inch of becoming a hockey puck—the thing is likely going to be a massive half-pound boulder of 80/20 meat.  In other words, by the time you’ve finished wrestling with it, your face is going to be as shiny as the top of Kojak’s head and slick enough with grease that your coworkers will spend the rest of the day calling you Exxon Valdez.

Burgers like that, even good ones, are really best saved for a special occasion.  For a moment, perhaps, when you can consume it in some manner of privacy, thereby allowing you to revel in the satisfactory joy of Eating Like an Asshole.  Especially these days, when, as I said above, it’s commonplace to do decadent things like serving it on a “bun” made of grilled cheese sandwiches.

So, I don’t get The Burger anymore.  Nowadays, like many of you, I imagine, I’m ordering the humble grilled chicken.  And then I make it awesome.

Now, you maybe tempted to tag on some usual suspects like cheese and bacon.  I recommend you forego them.  Admittedly, while cheese and bacon do, in fact, make everything taste better, they can’t themselves manage much in the way of fixing that skinless breast’s barren dryness.  It’s like getting a stylish faux fur coat to wear in Phoenix.

But a fried egg, my friends, can manage to fix it.

Yes, that very same fried egg that’s being flung atop gut-busting burgers left and right can save that plain grilled chicken sandwich. 

Now, I know it sounds crazy.  But I’m telling you, not only does it add an unctuous sauce-like component your grilled chicken desperately wants, it also somehow complements the sandwich as whole, elevating it rather than simply making it chicken + something else added in the vain hope of reducing the lameness factor.

Admittedly, a fried egg isn’t the leanest thing you could top a chicken breast with.  But, hey, an egg is good for you.  I know because there were a bunch of “Incredible, Edible Egg” commercials on TV constantly when I was a kid.  Commercials can’t lie.  It’s like a fact or something. 

Fine, even if that egg does bring a little extra fat to the grilled poultry party, you’re still getting off the hook pretty easy.  You’re not going to feel like an asshole during your 3:30 meeting, and you won’t still be trying to wash the grease out of your beard a next week and a half later like you will if you get The Sodom and Gomorrah Burger.

I share this suggestion with you not just because I hope and pray that someday a grilled chicken sandwich with a fried egg will become known far and wide as Puddin-style chicken (although, come on, that’d be sweet!), but because everyone deserves a grilled chicken sandwich that they can honestly enjoy. 

And it’s important to look in the bathroom mirror without seeing Fat Bastard.


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