Friday, August 22, 2008

Sweet mock chicken leg

I was standing in the checkout at the grocery store watching the mother daughter combo in front of me. I would peg the daughter in the 12-14 age range. She was a chubby girl who probably always got her way. I figured this after she bit her mother on the arm and threw some candy bars into their cart after goofing around on her cell phone. I am not sure why I was being punished with this scene if front of me, but some vice in my life had karma getting me back. When standing in line waiting to check out you have little to do but observe people. Especially when the Globe and Weekly World News are sold out in the lane you have chosen.

What had me shaking my head is what the mother said as she was putting her items on the conveyer belt. She had emptied about a quarter of her cart when she announced to the fat girl, “We forgot the syrup. I can’t believe we forgot the syrup!” I stood there watching the cashier beep the items for the person in front of them and watched, anticipating their next move. Would she go with the logical solution? I kept thinking to myself that this woman is pretty stupid. You haven’t forgotten anything. Hell, you haven’t even begun to have your groceries scanned. If anything, you just remembered to get the syrup.

With plenty of time to send her chunky monkey of a daughter down 4 aisles to grab a bottle of syrup- or even do it herself- she chose to bitch about it. There were plenty of times I had gone shopping with my mother and had been sent to get an item as we checked out. Not a big deal, but I guess for this lady it was. I hope she enjoys some dried pancakes or waffles. If not she will probably have to arm wrestle her plump offspring for the peanut butter.

My trip to the grocery store wasn’t a total bust. I got enough to cover me for the next week or so. I did pick up one item of particular interest. One that I recall eating as a kid in the school cafeteria at each of the schools I attended. The mock chicken leg.

I think everyone call recall a certain item on the school lunch menu that was particularly good or different. If you grew up attending a Milwaukee Public School, that items probably the mock chicken leg. No one knew what the hell a mock chicken leg was, you just knew it wasn’t chicken (it is actually pork) and that it would get served with a scoop of mashed potatoes and yellow gravy. Yep, yellow gravy. It was most everyone’s favorite lunch. I recall cutting my mock chicken leg and mooshing it together with the mashed potatoes into one big glob on my plate before devouring it. Ah, good times.

When I passed through the meat section and saw the mock chicken leg I felt I was ready to take on the challenge. See, most everyone loved the mocked chicken leg in school but it seemed that no one’s parents to replicate the way it was prepared at home. My mother would try to fry them up and it would never taste the same. She never got it right. I myself have tossed them in the pan every couple of years thinking I could do something to get it right. I always passed on the obvious cooking method. Baking.

So last night I got home and tossed these bad boys in the oven. I decided to ignore the instructions on the package. It said to cook for 18-20 minutes at 400 degrees. Bah! After 20 minutes they looked like they were barely cooked. I picked one up and it just about broke in half. Plus, I couldn’t remember seeing an undercooked mock chicken leg while in school. If anything, they were closed to be burned. So decided to give it another 5 minutes and check it then. Looked better but not good enough. It took 5 more minutes of baking until I was satisfied. I took the mock chicken legs out of the oven and let them cool off. Moments later I would take a bite and hear the crunch of some porky goodness. I succeeded in replicating the mock chicken leg taste.

Sidenote that may only interest me: Why can’t one find a picture of a mock chicken leg on the internet?

I think the mock chicken leg may hold the secret to the answers of the universe. After eating a couple I went on to have one of my best sessions of Rock Band ever. My drumming skills were spot on last night. I give all credit to the mock chicken leg.

Second note that may only interest me: As I begin to dive into a shitload of paperwork, I put my ear buds in and turned on some music. First song to come on? In My Darket Hour by Megadeth. Fitting.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Mr. G.F. sooo sorry your had to settle for the store brand "mock chicken leg".....they are not even close to the way my mom taught my sisters and me how to make them ...I will keep you in mind when I make them and send some your way. There is just no comparison.

J. Gambino said...

So I want to know what the post was that got deleted.

The second best school lunch was mock chicken leg, ice cream scoop of rice, and yellow gravy.

Anonymous said...

Re:side note. I'm trying to find a pic to show my gf who does not remember them from hot lunch. You may want to try the stovetop method the next time using just enough oil to wet the bottom of the pan.

Mike Dunn said...

I would get a double lunch when they had them. That and the meatball gravy thing that was much the same. Sometimes with rice. Sometimes with mashed potatoes. Oh that was the best.