I need to buy a chicken. 2 chickens. As in I have 7 people coming for dinner in 3 hours kind of need to buy a chicken.
I’m at the grocery store. A good place to be, considering my need, but I’m experiencing an all too often occurrence- playing hide and seek with the item on my list.
I find the meat section, and narrow it down to the poultry. I see really little birds. They probably are the culprits responsible for those miniature brown speckled eggs for sale in the dairy section. Nowhere do they say chicken in any language I can read, so I move on.
Ducks. At least I think they are. Whole ducks. I have even less knowledge about how to cook duck than my scant knowledge of roasting salt and pepper chicken.
The little birds and the ducks were whole, and I’m looking for a whole chicken. And whole chickens aren’t there.
So in my experience with grocery hide and seek, I know it’s entirely possible that chickens are in a different section. Hello, peanut butter between the cereal and canned corn.
I take a sweep through the beef, pork, and seafood. and more seafood. What is that thing in the tank, exactly? How can it even swim, it looks like poop!? Definitely not chicken.
I entered the store on a run, and I’m still feeling that urgency of guests arriving later, so I decide to just ask someone. The sample lady, she’ll do just fine. The Korean conversation went like this:
Sample Lady: Hello, eat some delicious dumpling! You can buy it right here, only 13,000.
Me: No thanks, I’m okay. Excuse me, where’s the chicken?
Sample Lady: *blank stare*
Sample Lady: Oh, you’re so pretty!
Time to finish this. Game of charades in order. Put hands in armpits, flap imaginary wings, and *again* say word for chicken.
Sample Lady: *loud laughter* Oh, chicken! Over here. *Leads the way to poultry section I originally checked out. Points at chicken in strange shapes. How can she tell that even used to be a bird?*
Me: Thank you!
Sample Lady: *Loud laughter and muttering chicken to herself as she half flaps her own imaginary wings on her way back to the sample cart.*
I admit, the spelling of the words for chicken and rice cake are only one letter different- a letter which I often mispronounce. But I’ve been practicing lately, saying chicken and rice cake to myself in the shower. I can’t be sure it’s my pronunciation at fault or the fact that I scare service workers with questions. That is, until I start doing the chicken dance.
Next time I’m in the grocery store, please don’t remember me, Sample Lady. But if you do, please say hi and allow me to do the chicken dance with you as we laugh together. Who knows? Now that we’ve broken the ice, you may become my go-to secret weapon for questions.