Part 42: (Not) Having to share your whole free chicken at Nando’s

In January, after a twenty-year commitment to the cause of vegetarianism, I woke up one day, thought: ‘fuck this’ and ordered a steak, rare. I ate it in a pub on the edge of the Thames; overlooking the twinkly, winking lights of London, sipping whisky-on-the-rocks, as one of my favouritist friends looked on in disbelief.  It was magical, and it opened my eyes to unethical pleasures such as those that include eating dead animals with soulful moo-cow eyes and shocking your friends.

I ate that whole rib eye all to myself and I enjoyed it a large amount. But I digress; I have already written a post about steak, and I realise I need to stay fresh and relevant to keep the peeps (that means you) interested. There’s nothing worse than tedious repetition. Apart from death and taxes. So this post is about another kind of meat altogether: chicken. Specifically, the kind of chicken you get at Nando’s; even more specifically, the kind you get at Nando’s for free. A big greasy whole chicken, served with rice and/or coleslaw, spiced to a heat of your choosing.

I’m going to be honest here: I’ve not been to Nando’s since I started eating meat. I have actually only ever been to Nando’s three times in my life. On two occasions I ordered a big mushroomy thing with haloumi cheese in a bun, coleslaw and rice. On the other occasion I was in South Africa (which is, for you uninformed readers, the birth place of Nando’s), and they didn’t do a vegetarian option (apparently, Africans aren’t really into the veggie thing), so I had a couple of portions of chips, with coleslaw and rice. You can see why I started indulging in carnivorous activities again.

Look, I know that the end of this sentence is going to be a total affront to anyone of a similar age and income bracket who reads this blog and identifies with me and my being-single plight, but I don’t think Nando’s is all that. The food tastes a bit like it has been cooked without love, and you have to order and pay at the counter, rather than being served by a waiter at a table. The only thing that endears me to Nando’s at all is the fact that a friend of mine once featured on a v.catchy tune that references the restaurant chain and makes me feel all sexy. Even though it was written about someone else. You can listen to it here, if you’d like.

Because I’m not, as I hope I’ve made clear, what you would call a Nando’s regular, I’m not entirely sure what the person who suggested the subject matter of this post* (@RiaZed, you can find her on twitter) meant by ‘whole free Nando’s chicken’. I’m not stupid, before the commenters start.  I get the general gist of the idea; I just don’t know why Nando’s give away free chickens to people, or how they decide who qualifies.  In fact, I have a few questions about this particular practice: Are the chickens free range? Can anyone eat a whole chicken to themselves in one sitting? Does giving people gratis chicken eat into Mr/Ms Nando’s profit margins? If not, couldn’t he/she just charge everyone less for their meals?

My lack of first-hand experience of the whole chicken-at-Nando’s thing is essentially unimportant though, because I’m totally into not sharing food. Even if I don’t like the food all that much. I’d rather throw what I haven’t eaten in the bin, or fling it to the seagulls, than offer it to another human person**.

Perhaps it’s because I grew up as the eldest of multiple siblings. Perhaps it’s because I’m a selfish, heartless, unpleasant bitch who deserves to die alone. Who knows? What I know, is that the sight of a fellow diner shoving food that was destined for my lips into their own face makes me feel uptight and indignant. Is there anything more irritating than someone asking ‘can I try that?’ after you have obtained food bound for your own intestines?  Yes, there probably is (late running trains, the ‘insufficient funds’ message on the screen of an ATM, seeing someone from television in the street and not being able to remember where you know them from), but even so. It is minorly annoying.

I’m not sure it is possible to be in a relationship and not have to share, unless the cliché about love making you want to share things is true. I hope it isn’t, after thinking about it, because even though there’s no way I could manage an entire Nando’s chicken all on my own, I definitely don’t want to see someone else all up in something that is MINE! MINE! MINE!

And that people, is a reason to be single.

*This week I’m writing posts in response to reader suggestions – tweet me or leave a comment below and I’ll see what I can do!

**With the exception of the hungry, starving, and homeless. I do have a flicker of compassion (sssh! don’t tell anyone).

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