The Hublet is very insistent that we try to live as cleanly and healthily as possible, taking into consideration that we live in a land where food is loaded up with sneaky amounts of salt and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), so together we start the day with a simple breakfast (cereal or toast), I send him off to work with wholegrain sandwiches crammed with an assortment of healthy fillings and I usually have fruit or a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and for dinner in the evenings we eat a tasty, uncomplicated, filling meal of brown rice, whole wheat pasta or potatoes with vegetables and fish, poultry or meat and lots of garlic or onion and seasonings.  We also try to get to the local track every week for a run or power walk, and I’m slowly building up a routine with the running machine (or Masochists Dream) that came with the house.

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that I’m some kind of saint in my eating habits as I definitely sin on occasion, but The Hublet and I made a pact that we would improve our levels of self control (predominately my levels of self control as I am, after all, the Cookie Queen) and eating habits in order to enjoy a better quality of life, however The Hublet is not a cruel and heartless Dictator and we agreed that we would have a cheat dinner once a week on any night from Thursday-Sunday, either eating a naughty meal at home or going out to eat, and that we would also enjoy a slightly relaxed weekend.

I take this cheat night very seriously because I’m still enjoying Jacksonville as a newbie and get few chances to enjoy the variety of deliciousness that the City has to offer, therefore I need to make sure that the decision is a good one.  I unfortunately have to consider The Hublet’s input as it’s our mutual cheat night, so if he passionately craves an Indian curry or Mexican burrito, despite my yearning for cheesy pasta or a meat feast pizza, we’ll weigh up who’s need is greater and sacrifices will be made (although we always enjoy whatever we eat as we’ve got similar tastes in food, so it’s not exactly a hardship).

I take a cunning approach to manipulating The Hublet into going along with my wishes, and early on in the day I start planting the seeds of my evil plan.  I normally send a text to gently suggest that I really crave a certain something; I then follow it up with another text a few minutes later assuring him that we don’t have to eat what I fancy that evening, I was just sharing my opinion; I then send my final evil text, reminding him that we still have leftovers from the previous night, and I can simply add a can of healthy choice vegetable soup (or other bland gloop) in order to bulk it out and make it stretch for another dinner.  Masterstroke delivered, he’s on board as the alternative is too horribly boring to consider.

In the UK there are few fast food chains who can offer chicken to rival that of the mighty KFC, however in Jacksonville USA there are a number of chicken chain alternatives because the South is, after all, the birthplace of fried chicken.  Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is one such contender, and the reason The Hublet favours them over KFC is because of their range of delicious Louisiana-themed sides, including red beans & rice (or dirty rice), biscuits, mashed potatoes & gravy, coleslaw, Cajun fries (The Hublet always chooses dirty rice and mashed potatoes & gravy) and so on.  I managed to get The Hublet to agree to a dinner of takeout chicken from Popeyes with the agreement that he could choose the sides (this is after all His side of the world, and he always make great food decisions), his passive agreement no doubt helped by the recent spate of adverts promoting a Crawfish Tackle Box (crawfish being a delicious crustacean resembling a small lobster, always involving a huge amount of work just to get a decent mouthful, therefore finding somewhere offering ready-shelled and prepared crawfish is always a winner) which had engaged his interest.  We made the motoring trek to the closest Popeyes we could find, and I sent The Hublet into the store to get the food, and he promptly emerged with both a box of fried chicken and a crawfish combo meal for us to try, as well as his choice of assorted sides.

The truck smelt amazing on the way home, full of spicy and savoury aromas, and we quickly returned to the house, set the table, grabbed our drinks, then sat down to appreciate our wonderfully naughty cheat dinner.

The Hublet immediately opened the Crawfish tackle box and sampled a crawfish, and was obviously not disappointed as I’m sure I saw his eyes briefly close with enjoyment.  I nibbled some of the accompanying Cajun fries (beautifully seasoned with just enough heat to warm, but not enough bite to hurt), then opened the lids of the sides dishes in order to begin distributing Papa Bear-sized amounts for Him and Mumma Bear-sized amounts for me.

We were horribly surprised to find that instead of His beloved dirty rice, mashed potatoes & gravy and coleslaw we were enjoying the triple blessing of nothing but mashed potato.  We then checked the rest of our meal and discovered that instead of the spicy chicken we had ordered, we had been given the straightforward fried chicken.

We found ourselves facing a terrible decision no cheat night couple should face: do we pack up the hot, delicious food that we’ve been looking forward to all day, and make the by-no-means short journey back to Popeyes so that we can complain, risk some irritated worker fiddling with our food in the worst possible way, and return home with exactly what we asked for; or do we cut our losses and stay where we are, making our peace with the fact that most of the order was correct and that it’s simply too hot and too yummy to tear ourselves away from the table?

The chicken massacre continued without interruption and another Cheat Night drew to a satisfactory conclusion.


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