I was once roaming the aisles of my local supermarket where I happened upon a small and hideously grotesque bottle of "chicken spread". The bottle was fairly unassuming, being of small size, and coloured with a light blue label stating to the whole world "Hey! I am a small bottle of Chicken Spread, DAMNIT!"

I was curious as to the contents of this small bottle, so as any good consumer does I browsed the contents section of the label. It was there that I discovered the seedy underworld of mechanically separated chickens. This information was printed in an easy to read, but unassuming, font. I don't think the font was Times New Roman but I could be mistaken. Nevertheless my mind raced as I saw flocks of chickens being hearded towards a thrashing device constructed from odd lengths of chain and various used car parts (in particular pieces of drive shafts and gears). I noted with particular interest the nonchalant look on the face of one of the chickens.

This event obviously had a large impact on me for as I drifted back to reality I noticed a large group of people gathered around me. It was then that I realised that I was completely naked with chicken spread smeared all over my body (as chicken spread should be). I now must confess that I am a 20 bottle a week man. This is not a warning but an open hearted invitation to other like minded souls wanting to share used pastrami, dessicated cheese muffins and other household cleaning implements.

I also believe the label pointed out the hazards of eating mechanically separated chicken which in sum was the possibility of choking on pieces of cartilage and bone that had been inadvertantly threshed by over enthusiastic mechanical chicken separators. I say, bring back the loving caress of female chicken separators (or male chicken separators for that matter). Maybe it should be a standard component of compulsory service to ones nation to engage in chicken separating for at least one year from the age of 17.

A somewhat misleading term for a far more primitive method of separating the meat from the bones. The basic mechanical separation process involves taking a really powerful hose, and blasting a dead animal with it, untill all of the edible and semi-edible parts come off, and are collected from a grate above the drain. Tasty.

Mechanically separated chicken isn't something that generally catches you by surprise.

My family was several hours early for a flight due to take off from Prestwick International Airport, which isn't exactly a jumping place. Opting not to pay a visit to the Graceland bar, or to pass through security to enjoy the choice of, um, one measly cafe, we went upstairs to the restaurant.

The selection of food wasn't great, and my dad opted for the chicken sandwich. It was apparently disgusting. As tends to happen when a prawn baguette is taking longer to digest than usual, my eye started to wander and settled on the plastic triangle which formerly housed the chicken sandwich. And the ingredients.

Mechanically Separated Chicken, it said.

All foodstuffs purchased from the airport's restaurant were replaced on the table, and feelings of queasiness spread throughout the family.

Although I now know the truth, it's a somewhat worrying description of a not-so-tasty snack...

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