Friday, July 31, 2009

A Wing Is Not a Breast

I don't like chicken wings. Chicken wings are bony things with not a whole lot of meat on them and it's dark meat at that. I like white meat. In fact, I love chicken breast just about any way you want to fix it. But I don't care for dark meat. So when we pulled into Wendy's drive-thru recently and I saw they had a new item on the menu - Asian Chicken - my taste buds got excited. I read their description - plump and juicy all-white meat cut from 100% whole chicken breast - and I knew that it was going to be just the thing that satisfied my appetite.

But instead of "Asian Chicken" showing on the order screen, I saw "Asian Wings". I told the young lady taking my order that I didn't order wings, I ordered the Asian Chicken made with chicken breast. She said, "Asian Chicken is wings." I again stated that I didn't want wings, I wanted the breast and she continued to insist that the Asian Chicken was wings.

Now I have cut up a chicken or three in my time and I guarantee you that the breasts of those chickens were not the wings of those chickens. To illustrate this, if you look closely at the two photos below, you will notice that the two photos are different. This is because the chicken breast and the chicken wing are two different things.

Chicken Breast

Chicken Wing

After determining that one of us was confused, I decided to forgo ordering the Asian Chicken, because the last thing I wanted was for my order to end up actually being chicken wings, as was showing on the order screen. I proceeded to order a single hamburger, even though it wasn't what I really wanted.

As we pulled up to pay for our meals, I decided I would try again and I asked the person taking our money if they did indeed have Asian Chicken breasts as described (and shown in a photo) on the menu. I thought maybe the person taking the order was new and not yet familiar with the new items on their menu. I still really wanted that Asian Chicken, as long as it was made from the breast.

The money taker looked at me with a blank stare as if to say, "I have no freakin' idea. I just take the money." What she really said was, "I'm not sure what you're talking about, let me get a manager." Well, let me tell you, the manager was in no mood to deal with customers. He leaned out the window and in an exasperated tone of voice and with an equally exasperated look on his face, said to me, "What can I do for you?"

As Romie sat rolling his eyes, I once again asked about the Asian Chicken breast that I'd seen on the menu. "Is it wings or is it breast?" I asked, "Because a chicken wing is not the same thing as a chicken breast." He looked at me and said, "Correct."

Silent stares were exchanged between us. We were getting nowhere. Well, that's not entirely true, because I was getting more confused while the manager looked as if he understood everything just perfectly and what was my problem anyway?

At this point, he asked if I would like the 800 number for Wendy's, which I politely declined. I prefer to deal with corporate via e-mail. We paid for our order and proceeded to the next window, where the person who had taken our order thrust the bag containing our food at us and said, "Here." I think maybe I wasn't their favorite customer that day, but I honestly wanted to know just what the heck their Asian Chicken really was. Is it wings or is it breast?

We left Wendy's and I got my cell phone out and called my dad. In earlier years, my dad owned a grocery store and also did custom butchering. If anyone could clear this up, it would be my dad. "Dad? You know about parts of a chicken, don't you? The wings are dark meat and the breast is white meat, and they aren't the same parts, are they?"

Dad kind of laughed and said, "Do you really need me to tell you that?" I answered, "No, but maybe someone needs to tell Wendy's that."

Now those of you who eat wings and don't give a hoot whether they're white or dark meat are probably thinking I'm making a big deal over this, but if you're a picky eater like I am and you know the difference between a wing and a breast, you'll understand the point of all of this. But right now, I'll cut to the chase. From what I can gather from their website, Wendy's takes white meat from a boneless chicken breast, cuts it up, lightly breads it, and cooks it in a sweet and spicy sauce, then calls it Asian Chicken wings even though it isn't really wings.

To that, I can now only ask, "Why?"

As I was relaying this story to a good friend of ours, he said I should have asked the manager, "If your girlfriend asked you if you'd like to feel her breast, then gave you her arm, would you be happy with that?" I nearly choked on my hamburger.

Photos of chicken parts from Cooking For Engineers.
Photos of Asian Chicken from Wendy's. Looks like breast to me. But it's wings. Sigh.


Patsy Bell said...

ME TOO. I went to Wendys For Asian Chicken. The order taker said your wings will be ready momentarily. "I don't want wings. I want Asian Chicken Like the add on TV."
Please pull forward, mam"

"I want white meat."

Yes mam.You ordered Asian Chicken mam. They are wings."

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am sure they use the term "wings" because that is the in thing to be eating when eating small pieces of chicken. Don't fret. Just get you some of those White Wings and try them. They are good. At least I wasn't thinking about whether they were white or dark meat when I tried them.

Anonymous said...

This one really made me lol! It is the continuing saga of the dumbing down of America and where our food actually comes from. Soon there will be tofu wings with no meat at all. What great service you had at Wendy's. The phrase 'The fish rots from the head' and the Manager's attitude along with his employee's attitudes is a prime example.

Dave said...

My wife ordered the BBQ "Wings" the other night. They are definitely chicken breast. My guess is that they are trying to market it as wings since wings are popular for many people. I don't think there is enough meat on a wing to make it worth my time though!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I WAS going to ask if you called Wendy's corporate, then I read the bit at the end from your friend. Wouldn't that have gotten some attention? hahaahha

Louise Hartwig said...

I had the Asian Chicken, and it seemed to me it was their chicken mcnuggets with a spicey sauce. Disappointing.

ellipsisknits said...

yeah, 'boneless wings' is something expensive that adults order in bars. 'chicken nuggets' (which is what they really are) is something cheap that kids order at fast food restaurants.
Ah, marketing.

Unknown said...

Hey, you have to remember...
Parts is parts!
I cannot believe after all that, you went ahead and gave them some of your hard earned money. I would have taken my business (and money) somewhere else.

Garden Lily said...

I think ellipsisknits said it well. It is marketing. "Wings" suggests the style of cooking or taste, rather than the source of the meat. "Asian Nuggets" would be more accurate, but not as likely to sell. It's sad that the workers there had no clue, nor interest in what you were saying. I'm guessing most consumers don't have much clue, either, how "wings" can be "boneless". Yes, a bit sad.

Sylvana said...

Thanks for the laughs! This episode could easily be compared to many of my own encounters with zombie hiring businesses.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Your friend's comeback was priceless! I feel your frustration. Let us know if you e-mail Wendy's corporate and what kind of response you get.

Kara said...

Now that was the most hilarious thing I'll read all day!
And that was just another reason why I prefer to never leave the house.

Zoe said...

Boneless wings (from Wendy's or elsewhere) are almost always made of chicken breast meat. I have no idea why. I guess they may call them wings coz they are kinda the shape of that middle part of the wing. Or they just needed another name other then nuggets or tenders... I would of just bought them and found out for myself (I find there is no point about asking fast most food employess about the food as they usually haven't got a clue .. I do stress most.. not all). I myself prefer wings. But the new Wendy's boneless 'wings' do look pretty good. Will have to try them sometime.

Unknown said...

All I can think of, when I read of something like this, is the Chickie-nobs that were grown in Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel 'Oryx and Crake.' Put me permanently off anything chicken burger/ball/wing/nugget related.

I eat chicken--in whole pieces that I can recognize. Preferably raised by someone I know. McFood isn't food, my colon attests to that! ;-)

Jason said...

Don't you remember?
"Parts is parts."

Thanks for the laugh!

Anonymous said...

i am just glad that someone agrees with me that wings have DARK meat on them!

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