You know why I love food courts? It's those teriyaki chicken people. The ones from the Japanese food counters who walk around with chunks of chicken speared on toothpicks, offering up free samples to anyone who so much as exhales their way.
I love that chicken. I can't usually bring myself to buy a whole plate of that chicken, because in my heart of hearts I know it's made out of Grade D frozen chicken thighs harvested from the bodies of beakless, toeless imprisoned fowl subjected to wartime-like tortures; and that it's smeared in a sauce whose dual base surely must be sugar and ketchup; and that a whole serving of that stuff is a gateway drug that pushes me to consume more volatile concoctions like pu pu platters and bright-pink-pork fried rice plates; and that, though my many vegetarian friends are a fairly nonjudgmental lot who even consume things like street-vendor sausages and turkey cartilege on drunken occasion, I don't trust them all enough not to cluck-cluck over my sorrowful -- nay, downright Republican -- teriyaki chicken-consumptive ways, were I to be more unrepentant about them.
And yet. I love that chicken. And so, I've found that through a combination of circuitous food-court laps and a few quick hairstyle changes, one can make enough passes by the free sample people to assemble a whole meal of the ambrosiac stuff, guilt-free. I just wish one could still purchase an Orange Julius with which to wash it all down.