In Guernica, Helen Rosner rhapsodizes about the blank beauty of chicken tenders.
Nothing is more nothing than a chicken tender. A roast chicken has a certain dinner-party elegance to it, and you know at least the sketch of an origin story for your pizza or your taco—but a chicken tender is a chicken tender is a chicken tender. Some restaurants might try to gussy them up, gently carve each tender from the breast of a bird that lived a happy life and lovingly dust them in a custom spice blend, but a true chicken tender comes out of a five-hundred-count freezer bag. They come from nowhere in particular—when you eat them, you could be anywhere.
I love this for its own sake–it’s a pretty paean to a food I find irresistible too–but it is also a timely read for me, as the chapter I’ve been revising this week involves the aesthetically simple appeal of junk food, not least as a counterweight to the increasing consumer demand to know where our food came from and how it was made.
On the other hand: Berfrois posted this tasty morsel by G. K. Chesterton on the myriad varieties of cheese in English counties, and how that regional variation represents what is best in human nature.
The Plate looks at the psychology of supermarkets. Some of this will sound very familiar–Eddie Izzard has already explained the appeal of the “fresh shop” to my satisfaction–but I always love minutely-quantified research gems like this:
Sales records indicated the customers bought more bananas if their peels were Pantone color 12-0752 (Buttercup) rather than the slightly brighter Pantone color 13-0858 (Vibrant Yellow). Banana growers responded by planting their crops under conditions tailored to produce Buttercup.
Graphic designer Victoria Siemer contains tumultuous oceans and galaxies in coffee cups:
I’m about halfway through Season 3 of Orange is the New Black, which–like all of my favorite series seem to do in their third season–is going deliciously and campily off the rails. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about by the end of this season, which seems to be exploring cultural and ethnic belonging through food even further than in the previous season, but I could not wait until then to share CO O’Neill dropping truth bombs in a donut shop: