Heart Nugget

Digging deep into my freezer tonight for something easy to make for dinner, my fingertips grasp a buried, softball-sized clear-plastic bag full of clumped, pale-yellow blobs with almost too much freezer-frost on them to call them good. I’m willing to give it a closer inspection, so after plastic bag is unceremoniously unraveled, a loud echo from dumping the contents onto on a years-old darkened-metal pan interrupts thoughts.

I discovered that the frost crystals are mostly on the inside of the bag, however the solid chicken-geode needed some encouragement to break apart into the more recognizable nugget forms and a little patience to make an acceptable arrangement to fit the pan. The last piece turned over and into position revealed a slightly-frosted heart shape, affixed-atop another rounded shape below. Of course. Of course I’m seeing a heart-shaped chicken nugget.

My eyes traced the outline of this solid, frozen heart, and I’m suddenly in a rush to pop this pan into my little toaster oven without even waiting for it to pre-heat. In between pulling other items out of the refrigerator for continued food prep, I stop at the oven for nearly every lap around the kitchen island. Peeking through the glass of the toaster oven door, I began to feel less anxious as the once-almost-white, bread-coating slowly turned to a golden-yellowed-hue as if life was being revived at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mid-baking, just before the turning-over to complete even-browning, it was time to take a photograph of what in about 10-12 more minutes would become the crisped, salty-protein topping to my now “heart-healthy” dinner salad. ❤️~P.

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