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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Ambiguity and an order of chicken

Paras Kapoor
Crispy chicken seems like a safe option, but grilled chicken seems better to me.

“Crispy chicken or grilled?”

Crispy or grilled? Do I want strips battered with panko crumbs and egg wash, or would I enjoy a seared slice plated fresh from a pan? It’s a circling question.

The server looks down, awaiting my response, ready with a pen in her hand. Crispy or grilled? That is all she asked, yet the world starts spinning, and I feel trapped.

I like crispy chicken. It’s a default; it’s comfortable. My friends enjoy the strips that never falter in crunch or satisfaction. They can be dipped or served with mashed potatoes and gravy or hot or eaten cold as leftovers from a fridge. Crispy chicken is versatile.

But, grilled chicken, that’s something else. It’s clean and charred; it carries a flavor I cherish. Beside it, I can request lemons and asparagus. Grilled chicken is the formal version of its crispy alternative.

Crispy or grilled? Such a question bewilders me; why are we comparing two things that are so unalike? Or, are they alike due to their origin? 

Crispy or grilled? They’re both chicken—the question shouldn’t be so complicated—yet, they are so different. One: promising, fun. Two: established, proper. One, two, three? There isn’t a third, but there should be.

When my server asked that question, I knew the answer in my heart. I wanted grilled chicken. Still, the word “crispy” stuck to my tongue, tantalizing and unyielding. I was left sitting there, speechless, and she stared.

“I’ll give you a few more minutes,” she offered. My server backed away politely, leaving me to my table and my thoughts as if my own questions were the meal I had ordered. 

A few more minutes. That isn’t nearly enough to make such a decision. Others, enjoying their plates of spaghetti and steaks, glanced at me with heady hesitancy; I knew what they were wondering: Why hasn’t she ordered? What is so hard about deciding between crispy and grilled? The pressure I felt only grew with that observation.

A few more minutes. That isn’t nearly enough to make such a decision.

I sat centered in a restaurant filled with chatter and passion and certainty while my own heart was consumed with doubt. I waited for clarity, but it never came.

Crispy or grilled? Each comes with the promise of a full, happy stomach in the end. Right? What could my issue be in this decision? Why am I spiraling? Why is it not going away?

The uneasy grin of my server returned, and I panicked. Sensing my frenzy, she began to offer, with her kind smile, to take my menu and leave me with lemon water and an empty dish. 

Terrified, I blurted, “Crispy!”

I wanted grilled.

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About the Contributor
Emalea Rooke
Emalea Rooke, Staff Writer
Emalea Rooke is a senior entering her first year on The Central Trend. Since she was little, Emalea has always had a passion for bringing her imagination to life with creative writing, and she is excited to expand her writing skills this year. Other than writing, Emalea enjoys reading, drawing, and spending time with friends. She is the head of costumes for FHC Theatre this year and hopes to use the knowledge she gains in college for Fashion Design. Favorite Song: "Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson Favorite Video Game: Red Dead Redemption Favorite Flower: Carnations Favorite Accessory: Her sun-shaped nazar necklace

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