Written by Mark West, Tractor 2757
So after battling the weekly escape by Los Angeleons up the 15 to Vegas today, I hung it up for the day at the Petro next to the track. Not being especially hungry, I never the less wondered into the restaurant for iced tea and a chance to get away from the truck for a short bit. Naturally, I checked out the buffet. Lets see, we have alfredo sauce, noodles, corn, mashed potatoes and….fried chicken.
Fried chicken- what a surprise.
I seriously must be missing something. Is fried chicken of so critical an important and necessary staple that it must, by some federal statute, be a ever present part of every buffet? Every Petro- every one with a buffet, always has fried chicken as an offering. Never fails nor does it matter what the stuff is sitting next to.
Enchiladas, tacos, and re fried beans and- fried chicken.
Spaghetti, meat balls, garlic toast and- fried chicken.
Sushi, unknown vegetables from some far off eastern land (not New Jersey), green tea and- fried chicken.
I have no idea why this is so nor could I entice anyone connected with the Petro to come forth to explain it to me. I don’t think they actually know. I think it has so long been the center piece of every buffet that the original reasons for it have been lost in the foggy mists of time. Yet there it is, inscribed immortally on the pages of the buffet battle manual- thou shall set forth fried chicken on thy buffet on pain of dire consequence.
Or, it’s something so simple yet vile even in it’s seemingly harmless execution? Could it be that the chicken on the buffet today was there yesterday? And could it be that if it was there yesterday it had been there the day before? Might it be asked indeed, how many generations of short order cooks has that one plate of chicken passed through like some odd family heirloom that has passed like a right of passage from the old wizened senior cooks to the next generation.
Or could it be even worse- that in their despair they must keep it constantly available, desperate to avoid the wrath of some suit wearing genus’ decree that all truckers must have fried chicken so therefore it shall be place at the place of honor- the buffet. Only that a horrible miscalculation by said genus over estimated the demand, leaving uncountable tons of fried chicken to rot in far off warehouses guarded by men with guns to protect the ” secret recipe”. Men who haven’t seen the light of day for decades whose eyes have indeed lost their ability to see and whose ears have grossly adapted to echo range the dusty and darkend halls of chickendom? Men whose very existence is depended on others so disconnected by reality that they don’t even like fried chicken?
All is mere speculation however and so we may never know the truth if indeed, truth can be grabbed from beyond the myths. It remains a constant in a world where the only constant thing is change. For no matter where we roam and travel one thing is sure to be true. There will be fried chicken on Petro’s buffet. And in this, we can take a small measure of solace. So let us not ponder the chicken but order- a salad.