Posts

I ate a corn nut and I loved it.

And . . .

I am absolutely serious.

For my entire life, I could hear someone say the words “corn nuts” and I would feel compelled to leave the room. They sounded like old broken people – who were made up old stale beer- who lived in a beat down dive bar – who I didn’t want to meet – or know – or smell – or anything.

I feel like I need to clarify a couple of small points . . . I am a big fan of corn and I am also a fan of dive bars – so – don’t you jump all over me. Don’t you do it.

I was at a party of some sort and I saw a bowl full of little crunchy golden bits – and – I decided that the moment had finally come. I popped one in my mouth and had the initial feeling of something hard in my mouth and the taste of salt on my tongue. I bit down and was astounded at how it was literally a kernel of corn – but bigger and infinitely crunchier and tastier.

Hopefully I’m not being overly dramatic here – but – seriously – this has been a major change in my life and I’m still a little shaken by the whole thing.

My mind was racing trying to figure out if it was a healthy treat – or – if I would be able to at least pretend that it was healthy . . . but it turns out that is a losing battle – these are not healthy treats. I then decided that I needed to know more about them – like where they came from – how they were invented – and why I had avoided them for so long. I did some research for the first two quandaries and found that they were invented by Albert Holloway in 1936 and were a huge hit for bars because of their cheap salty goodness. They are made by soaking corn kernels for a few days in water – which is where the puffiness comes from – and then dropped into hot oil – which is where the crunchy crispiness and the not so good for you part comes from.

The last part – the “why had I avoided them” part is the real conundrum . . . and it is a mystery that I will only be able to solve after deep personal introspection of staring at myself in mirrors . . . and also after eating several more bags of my favorite new snack . . . the corn nut.

So – everyone – drop whatever inhibition is holding you back from these delightful golden chunks of corny goodness and get to eating them – eating them – eating them. I can almost guarantee that you will be happy that you did.

Quickly – I feel like I should point out that I have only had corn nuts from Fairway Market, Whole Foods and that bowl at the party that I mentioned before – so – I am not sure about the different levels and varieties of corn nuts that are out there in the world – but – I am thrilled that they are out there – because I aim to meet them and great them and eat them as I find them. All I know is that the corn nuts that I have eaten have given me a real twinkle in my eye and a slightly fried corn tinge to my breath.

As for me?! Well, now – I aim to learn how to create them at home.

Yes, I do.

Oh, yes I do.

I have had a love affair with the ultimate spicy chicken sandwich in the business for many years . . . it has always treated me so – so right with it’s delicately sweet bun, leaf of lettuce, smear of mayo and perfectly fried and deliciously spiced chicken breast. In a world ruled by burgers – it was my haven. It was my respite. It was my shelter. I would drive by it’s home and my Pavlov mouth would start to water – even if I was already full in the belly. It was perfection – and – our relationship was bliss.

Then, something wonderfully disruptive happened . . . a new spicy chicken sandwich moved into town. I found myself looking over and past my old love to try to sneak a glimpse at the new hotness. My old sandwich seemed clunky and thrown together. It’s foibles – which I had found so endearing for so long – were now just blemishes. It’s halo’s shine was dull. It was nothing that I ever intended. It was nothing that I ever could have imagined happening . . . I was officially in love with two sandwiches – with my heart (and arteries) distinctly leaning much harder in the direction of the new – the exciting – the unknown.

It was a delicate situation – and – I knew that I would have to deal with it. It wasn’t fair to any of us to keep the charade going. No one in this triangle deserved to be left hanging. Decisions would have to be made – and – they wouldn’t be easy decisions.

I sat my old sandwich down – for the remainder I will refer to her as Wendy – and explained that it wasn’t her – it was me – and what a horrible person that I was – and that I hated that all of this was happening. She just sat there – crispy, spicy and – no doubt still delicious and said “Does this have anything to do with the new Spicy Chicken Sandwich at Chik-fil-a?” I jumped out of my seat and exclaimed to the sky that “You know it chicken!!”

Then the most magical thing happened. Wendy sighed and asked me to tell her all about the new Chik. Against my better judgement, I just started going on and on about how Chik-fil-a – who was already in possession of the simplest and most perfect chicken sandwich in the universe had done the impossible and made their sandwich even better. I told her about the buttered bun with the two or three pickles placed on top of the bottom bun. I exalted at how the spicy juices had been melded to the chicken through some otherworldly wizardry . . . then I broke down and told Wendy that I loved the new Chik-fil-a spicy chicken sandwich. A tear crept out of my eye. I reached out and Wendy just said “No.” then after a pause that lingered in the air “Go to Chik-fil-a . . . It’s what you want anyway.”

And I did.

After time, the wounds have healed – somewhat. I still see Wendy every so often – but – I know that it will never be the way that it used to be . . . because just over the fast food lunch horizon – there will always be the new Chik-fil-a spicy chicken sandwich beckoning me to come running.

Chik-fil-a . . . you have made the best spicy chicken sandwich on the block. You get a gold star. You get a blue ribbon. I hope that you aren’t some sort of special trial offer – because – I would be lost without you . . . and – at this point – Wendy won’t have me back – and there is no way that I could possible stomach the garbage that they package as a spicy chicken sandwich at Burger King . . . it is truly the pits – but that’s a gripe for another day!