Meditations on Harold’s Chicken ShackPosted: January 20, 2011
Some people are surprised to find out I’m a huge fan of Harold’s Chicken Shack. I spend week after week traipsing around the city in search of the most innovative and complex offerings put forth by the city’s most qualified chefs, but lately I’ve just been craving a half dark meal with hot and mild sauce.
Of course, some people don’t understand this. Some people think Harold’s is just a greasy bag of fried fat, protein, and carbs. They’re right. They also tend to be women.
I’ve been told by multiple people on separate occasions that I “eat like a man.” What does that even mean? I think it was intended as a compliment, and I take it as such. But I wonder if a woman can ever really eat like a man. At the end of the day, the closest I think I can get to eating like a man is eating like a woman who eats like a man. I’m very cautious about this association and only really comfortable with the tautological conclusion that I eat like myself.
I eat to be sated, to experience, and to appreciate. For a lot of people, eating at Harold’s is undesirable, since they eat for different reasons. If you eat to keep your figure trim, Harold’s is not for you. If you take yourself very seriously and don’t want to be seen gnawing away indelicately at a chicken leg, you’re probably not going to have a good time at Harold’s. I feel as though for the most part, women tend to have a more negative association with food. And maybe with good reason. Women are much more likely to refer to indulgences as “guilty pleasures”. We’re expected to act with more restraint and dignity. Why do we do this? Is it for men, other women, or ourselves?
Even the acknowledgment and conscious rejection of this attitude seems to be an admission of defeat, in a sense. Now, rather than succumbing to the stereotype, one is forced to identify it and act contrarily. I try not to do this when I eat. I try to just eat. I think it’s the only way to get away the from oppressive expectations of feminine eating habits.
Taste is always a subjective matter, but there’s a primitive part of our brain that will always light up when we experience the savory, juicy, crunchy sensation of biting into a freshly fried piece of Harold’s chicken. It’s what we’re hardwired to do. And I understand that everyone is entitled to their own agenda. And eating delicious food isn’t anywhere near the top of the list for most people. But at the very least, love what you do eat.
Dinner at Harold’s – $3.03
Three and a Half Stars: