Column: Of wings and things
There’s no need to rub it in; I’m fully aware that many of my personal preferences lie far outside the mainstream.
When an all-in event like the Super Bowl rolls around, however, it’s easier than usual to pinpoint exactly where my tastes diverge from those of many in the greater population.
Take wings, for instance. Not those belonging to angels, birds or Tinker Bell, but the ones so popular that young men (as well as scads of women) start salivating at their mere mention.
Chicken wings. Hot wings. Buffalo wings. Boneless wings. Bone-in wings. That kind of wing span.
Not a fan.
Those three words place me in a food desert of sorts; I’m definitely a minority outlier because wings have taken flight in ways few other singular edibles ever have.
Pity my poor sons, who both love a savory plate of wings and have difficulty driving past a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise without a longing glance at the chain’s distinctive black and yellow signage. And, since there are 1,200 B-Dubs in at least 10 countries, such glances could result in a serious case of whiplash.
Despite a few profit blips in recent years, the Minneapolis-based B-Dubs remains “one of the most successful casual dining restaurants and sports bar franchises” (per its website) currently operating.
What’s not to like?
Well, the mess, for one. When sticky fingers and smeared mouths result as piles of bones teeter on platters in front of eager wing eaters, my imagination paints a vivid picture of medieval warriors perched at primitive tables upon plank benches in dim castles, flickering torches and firelight illuminating the gory scene. You can almost hear the diners grunting and muttering as they toss well-gnawed bones over their shoulders to ravenous wolf-dogs and reach for another handful of hot roasted meat.
But hearing isn’t high on the list of sensory priorities at a B-Dubs meal; between the loud music and multiple TVs blasting college or professional athletic contests at top volume, listening to one’s dining companions just isn’t a thing.
Cooking wings at home is apparently a common enterprise during Super Bowl weekend, judging from the butcher cases overflowing with packages of pre-cut wings at area supermarkets. Knowing my youngest would love me just a bit more if I indulged his habit, I picked up a generous-sized pack and presented it to him expectantly.
He was thrilled. Quickly, he proceeded to locate and prepare two sauce recipes that would complement the obligatory dipping dish of ranch dressing and a cooling side of celery sticks.
Given my lack of enthusiasm for wings in general, my son has wisely learned how to marinate, season, bake and generally adorn wings to his own satisfaction. That knowledge will serve him well in years to come, because the chances of me serving wings are slim.
Another favorite food that fails to make the top 10 for me is shrimp. Have you ever seen people practically push past each other en route to the cocktail (or jumbo) shrimp at a reception? The website fishnavy.com notes that Americans consumed four pounds of shrimp per capita in 2013, and more than one billion pounds of shrimp is downed annually in the U.S. Someone is eating my share, and then some.
And May 10 is National Shrimp Day, or so I’m told. But hey, we can save the shrimp feed discussion for later.
Just pass the guacamole and I’m good.