When I think back to my childhood, to some of my fondest memories, I often think of food. I remember the smells of my mom’s kitchen, the first time I made my own breakfast and the under-seasoned and overcooked chicken my dad would grill.
Whether it was served with bread, white rice or mashed potatoes, this was an ever-present staple of some of the best nights I would share with family and friends.
I’m not alone in this memory, as a person who identifies as white, this bland and burnt chicken is part of my identity. Sometime when you’re not busy telling your caucasian friends about their unearned privilege, ask them about their family’s dry-ass chicken and watch their face light up with nostalgic joy.
Sometime when you’re not busy telling your caucasian friends about their unearned privilege, ask them about their family’s dry-ass chicken and watch their face light up with nostalgic joy.
It’s for this reason that I was struck to my core when a friend recently shared a video with me showing a woman doing a chicken “meal prep” for the week. In this video she explained how meal prep is a “cheap and healthy option for busy students” and while this made sense, it was nothing like the real thing. Though her nice little rows of tupperware may have been filled to the brim with chicken breast, rice and veggies, the food actually had soul.
She was completely missing the point; I think she even used garlic or something. It was an abomination. At most, bland chicken requires salt, pepper (if you can handle the spice) and being left over an open flame for an ungodly amount of time.
My friend tried to calm me down by telling me that I should be glad more people would get a chance to experience my culture, but I just couldn’t see it that way. My culture is more than just some way to eat clean during your packed schedule.
I remember when I would show up in elementary school with some bland chicken my mom had packed me for lunch. My friends would point and laugh, saying how boring my food looked. Now all of a sudden some Instagram models post a few pictures and tutorials and it’s the next big thing?
Every time I scroll by a new one of these posts a little bit of me dies on the inside. These people may be eating bland chicken in a literal sense, but they’ll know nothing near the childhood joy of waiting all day for your dad to return home from work and set some bone-out skinless chicken breast ablaze.
Carter Wright firmly believes that people are entitled to eat whatever they like but should also consider the cultural implications of every single bite they ever take.