The Mechanically Separated Chicken of the Woods

In the Norwegian Sea, there is the Kraken.
In Scotland, there is Nessie.
There is the Yeti in the Himalayas, and the Chupacabra of Latin America.

And Sister Madly: Chicken of the Woods, Northern Michigan.

Thanks, Bing unnamed search engine. Thanks a heap.

chicken road

As for just how long she had been a legend, she could not say, but Sister Madly is reasonably certain that it resulted from her less-than stellar camping skills. The locals, no doubt, speak of her cheerful disregard for historical relics and her pathological fascination for grilled cheese; of her ritual spaz-dancing and lamentations over long-lost fireflies. The sighting of this delinquent chicken can be confirmed by a Park Ranger, one whose liquid bronzer left him the color of a highway cone. He should be easy to find.

Why this case of the grumpies, Sister Madly? You’re a legend now, or on your way to be. You’re the Chicken of the Woods. It was one thing when you were just kindhearted, unfussy, angelic Sister Madly, but now that you are listed in the books of Northern Michigan Folklore, surely you must behave as such. You must give sightings. You must leave tracks. But most importantly: you must be featured in photos- but only as a vague figure, mind you- which experts will label as inconclusive evidence.


Because there are always experts when it comes to legends.

Now, Sister Madly is well-aware that Chicken of the Woods is a mushroom, even as Bing unnamed search engine is not. To be fair, Sister Madly is not the first result to pop up under this search- she doesn’t appear for 8 pages, in fact (yeah, she checked.) Still, there is an insult in there somewhere, she’s certain of it, and one simply does not make fun of Sister Madly.

Sister Madly makes fun of you.*

*It was worth a shot.*

And so the Chicken of the Woods, sulking at this new development thus full of snark, accompanied Tallulah to the market to fulfill the mission of making Mr. Tallulah his requested bologna and cheese sandwich- yes, Sister Madly just outed her brother-in-law as a man with nostalgic tastes.

mechanical chicken

Some say that the best way to cheer yourself up is to do something for someone else. So she decided give a recitation for the shoppers in the deli, one featuring the ingredients of that delicacy, bologna.

Mechanically Separated Chicken…

There is something poetic in those words, for it conjured up the vision of a steampunked, bionic bird on the open range. But this also conjures up questions, for if a Mechanically Separated Chicken is, indeed, a steampunked, bionic bird, then bologna is not a package of meat but one of limited edition commemorative coins, which smell. Who wants Mechanically Separated Chicken breath fogging up their car windows on a cold winter morning?

Sensing the unspoken demand for an encore, she moved on to give a moving performance with her ode to authentic American Imitation Pasteurized Process Cheese Food.* Akin to a sheet of rubber, it will seal the hull of a ship if properly melted down- the tragedy of the Titanic could have been averted had it contained an 8 inch chunk of sun and a pound of American Cheese. Or a few extra lifeboats.

*Authenticity Test: unwrap a slice of cheese and throw it at the ceiling. If it sticks, it is authentic. This was a favorite pastime of Sister Madly’s as a child.

bologna sandwich

She was soon shushed up by Tallulah, who wanted to purchase a bottle of wine without the clerk denying her this luxury, and seem to think that reciting the ingredients of artificial food products to the shoppers would prove inebriation. Alcohol would be required of her to assemble this Mechanically Separated Chicken and American Imitation Pasteurized Process Cheese Food sandwich, her first since childhood. It was a task not included in her wedding vows, but she did it anyway.

That is True Love.

But who needs True Love when you’re the Chicken of the Woods?


23 responses

  1. You never fail to entertain! 🙂


    January 8, 2015 at 5:02 AM

    • Sister Madly

      Thank you, although you’d probably reconsidered that comment after hearing my dramatic bologna reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      January 8, 2015 at 3:37 PM

  2. brilliantly mad, like an unopened christmas gift without a ribbon. loved it!


    January 8, 2015 at 5:27 AM

    • Sister Madly

      What? No ribbon?!

      (Thank you…;c) )

      Liked by 1 person

      January 8, 2015 at 3:38 PM

  3. You have again out done yourself….artistically creative with food too. You ought to patent your sandwich design as I am sure it will be a sell out! 😀


    January 8, 2015 at 5:51 AM

    • Sister Madly

      I, unfortunately, swiped that sandwich pic from the web. But it has inspired me to take on the art of sandwich monster-making!

      Liked by 2 people

      January 8, 2015 at 3:40 PM

  4. John Clift

    I know that cheese! I was confronted with it last time I was in LA, and I asked a friend o mine if there was any real cheese in America. He drove me miles and miles across dangerous looking gangland suburbs to a ‘farmers market’ where I was allowed to buy a $20 sandwich with real cheese in it.


    January 8, 2015 at 5:58 AM

    • Sister Madly

      The things we will do for real cheese!

      May all your sandwiches contain real dairy from here on out.


      January 8, 2015 at 3:57 PM

  5. I knew about throwing spaghetti at the wall. Didn’t know that about nationally identifying cheese. Thank you as always for your wit and insight(s) Sister Madly!


    January 8, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    • Sister Madly

      Oh, yes, throwing pasta- another parental frowned-upon pastime.

      The mutant cheese I’m referring to is a type of cheese, rather than simply made in America- although, what other country would make that mess available for human consumption?

      If you are, indeed, morbidly curious:

      Bon Appetit.

      Liked by 1 person

      January 8, 2015 at 4:12 PM

      • I satisfied my curiosity and went and read. Thank you. My conclusion is that a bone might be of more nutritional value.


        January 9, 2015 at 6:56 AM

        • Sister Madly

          A brick has more nutritional value- although, they are bad for your teeth. Perhaps that wasn’t the best analogy…

          Liked by 1 person

          January 9, 2015 at 1:28 PM

  6. John Thursday

    This has reminded me why I was never willing to accept bologna as food. Sandwich monsters, on the other hand, are an entirely different story.


    January 8, 2015 at 8:07 PM

    • Sister Madly

      Knowing that bologna isn’t food is what’s going to make the sandwich monsters terrifying!

      At least, to some of us…

      Liked by 1 person

      January 8, 2015 at 8:54 PM

  7. Hysterical! And though I happily ate the ‘cheese food’ as I child, I never could get past the first bite of packaged bologna. My personal favorite pic here is the mechanically separated chicken.


    January 9, 2015 at 2:41 AM

    • Sister Madly

      I think it would be awesome to have those chickens roaming free across the countryside!

      As for the cheese… well, as kids, did we really know any better? (although, like you, I knew better than to eat the bologna… hm… ;c) )

      Liked by 1 person

      January 9, 2015 at 1:26 PM

  8. I recall seeing steampunk chickens in Brazil (the movie).


    January 10, 2015 at 2:41 PM

    • Sister Madly

      Were they free range steampunk chickens? ;c)

      Liked by 1 person

      January 10, 2015 at 3:16 PM

      • I have to assume they were cage-raised, since they are notoriously difficult to catch for routine maintenance when they are allowed to run loose. But that’s only a guess.

        Liked by 1 person

        January 10, 2015 at 4:48 PM

  9. Beautiful!

    What’s not to love about a pasteurized, processed cheese-food product? They can’t even reasonably call it cheese, so it must become cheese-food. Mechanically separated is also a rather horrific idea, but the one I hate the most is extruded. I have no idea what they mean by “extruded,” but I’m pretty sure it’s not a word I want anywhere near my food.


    January 11, 2015 at 5:22 AM

    • Sister Madly

      Extruded?! That will put me off all artificial food products for life!


      January 11, 2015 at 12:33 PM

  10. Sandwich, sandwich, love the sandwich!

    Liked by 1 person

    January 11, 2015 at 7:07 AM

    • Sister Madly

      This is the image that comes to mind when I see ‘Sandwich Artist’ in the Help Wanted ads. Unfortunately, this is not what they mean…


      January 11, 2015 at 12:38 PM

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