If you are ever in Publix and happen to walk by the
Deli, you may notice something called a chicken tender.
They are slender, juicy slivers of double breaded, all
white meat chicken breast. They are the best things
sold in the kitchen. They are expensive, and many people
succumb to their golden brown goodness. But be aware,
if you try a chicken tender, it may just ruin your life.
One bite can lure you into its addictive grasp; one
drop of its salty juice, which flows from every crisp
morsel, is enough to enslave your senses. I think, perhaps,
that it's the nicotine we add. Even veteran Deli associates
sometimes fall prey to the tender's enthralling allure.
This is one such story.
One day I was in the kitchen frying delicious and savory
chicken. I fried hot and spicy wings, followed by a
copious mix of various chicken portions. Then, when
that was finished, I began to fry the tenders. I grabbed
a handful of the raw chilled meat slivers and I proceeded
to thoroughly bread each one. As I dropped them one-by-one
into the frying bin, the bubbling oil consumed them.
As the aroma slinked its way into the air, people swarmed
to the case like a pack of hungry jackals awaiting the
kill. Not lacking in punctuality, I promptly delivered
the enchanted meats into their awaiting case. The ravenous
customers took all the tenders in sight.
As I went back to the fryer to make more, I noticed
one tender left in the basket. One, lonely, tender.
It wasn't just any ordinary piece, but it was the
piece. The tender to end all tenders. It was large,
articulated thick with a crunchy gold crust. It was
so perfect that I could not bring myself to sell it
to some random customer who would be unable to fully
appreciate the tender. So I decided to get a second
and third opinion on what its fate should be. I brought
my two best friends in to see what they felt I should
do. My friend Ron told me, "Josie! Give me the
tender. I will not let it go to waste!"
My other friend Jason interrupted, "Wait! Why
should he get the tender? I deserve it just as much
as he does!" So, I decided to let them both have
it. I intervened, "Ron you cut the tender. Jason
you pick the half you would like." So Ron grabbed
the tender as Jason grabbed the knife. As they approached
each other, the rotisserie oven buzzed. This startled
Jason, who then slipped on a fryer oil puddle, bumping
into Ron. Attempting to maintain his control over the
tender, Ron ended up fumbling it. When the tender hit
the ground, an eerie silence filled the Deli air. After
a few moments, the mayhem began.
Accusations of incompetence flew among them. Jason
cried, "You idiot! You dropped the world's greatest
tender! You Wookie lover!" Ron immediately retorted,
"You bumped me, you ferret molester!" Jason,
with growing anger, exclaimed "Well, I wouldn't
have dropped it, butterfingers!" Ron, infuriated,
refuted, "At least I wouldn't get startled by a
rotisserie buzzer, like the little fairy that you are!"
At this point, I intervened. "Stop fighting, you
guys are letting a tender ruin your friendship! This
is crazy! The tender dropping was an accident, and no
one was at fault." But what I said fell on deaf
ears. The three amigos had now split, with me stuck
in the middle in a vain attempt to keep peace between
The tender had done more damage than I could have
ever dreamed of. The tender had caused a permanent rift
in their friendship. It was lost forever. So, the next
time you stop by the Publix Deli, be wary of the tender.
Once you try it, you may lose more than your ability
to refrain from eating this expensive delicacy.