Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Mysterious Evolution of the All-Boob Chicken

I think that much of what passes for *healthy* eating often is the result of fashion rather than science. That the fashion appears to be driven by science, when it's not. Junk science, perhaps.

I know there are people who truly prefer the taste of breast meat on their fowl, as opposed to those of us who like the dark meat. We're lucky here in the Northwoods: Livey genuinely likes the breast meat, and I don't, so you never ever see us poking each other's hands with our forks on the way to the chicken plate.

There are also many people who eat breast meat only because they feel like they're Supposed To. Breast meat is much harder to cook. It gets dry so easily and often it isn't as flavorful as dark meat. Then those people end up not eating much chicken at all, because they don't actually like the breast meat and they feel guilty if they eat the dark meat. So they end up back at McDonald's for dinner.

People. Honestly. This is SILLY.

One of the most important factors in eating right, and keeping one's weight under control, is to NOT eat food you dislike, and DO eat food you DO like.

I mean reasonably healthy food. If all you like is McDonald's? Well. I better not even go there, okay? Except to say, while moderate amounts of fast food (or most anything else) is perfectly fine, a diet of nothing but fast food is truly not good. A steady diet of nothing but candy isn't, either.

But that's a rant for another day. Today I feel an overwhelming urge to study up on the Evolution of the All-Boob Chicken.

Check it out. Here's a nice little whole fryer I bought and cut up to cook.

I've been doing this for many years. Cutting up your own chicken is very easy and fast, it's much cheaper per pound, it's *homey,* and I get much more use out of it. I use the neck and wing tips and tail and some bones to make chicken stock or soup. I can freeze any meat I don't want to cook at the time, which I often do with the backs. Once I have several chicken backs in the freezer, I take them out for a nice chicken back bake. Yum! Or use them for soup.

Plus, that way I can clean out the chicken backs. It's the lungs and stuff in the back that make some nutritionists say backs and/or dark meat have more cholesterol. If the silly twits would clean out the organs before testing, their readings would be hugely altered. Organ meat is full of cholesterol - a type of cholesterol I don't like the taste of. So why eat it?

The same point goes for the so-called *fattier* dark meat. When they do those food tests for fat content, they leave the fat inside the thighs. Eeeew! Not me. I trim it out both before and after cooking, and cook it in such a way that much of the fat is rendered out. Eating some fat is not bad for you. In fact, if you include some fat in your meal, you get full faster and don't overeat as much. Me, I just make sure I don't eat the fat I don't actually want to eat. Big chunks of fat in chicken or beef or pork is very unappetizing to me.

Another important point: the less handling any meat gets at the meat factory, the less bad stuff it picks up before you, the final consumer, eat it. I'm talking everything from rat hairs to e. coli and salmonella. Meat recalls are usually for products like hamburger. That's gone through a lot of processing, and had many more opportunities to pick up germs and other contaminants as a result.

It isn't wise for us immunocompromised folks to eat processed meat, especially when I can do it much better at home, for less money. I like to see what gets put into my food, okay? And I'm on a seriously limited budget, and disabled. Cooking saves me about $500 per month. That's big dough when you're broke, and a good *occupation* when you can't contribute to your own income by working outside the home.

Think how much harder employed people have to work to get that extra $500. Then, they spend a lot of time picking up pre-cooked food elsewhere, not to mention the added stress of more traffic, etc. Wouldn't you rather spend that time cooking, with your family, instead of working more hours to pay more money for food that's lower in quality?

BTW, if you buy boneless chicken - hugely more expensive - you've just wasted good money in order to deprive yourself of a source of dietary calcium. Now you gotta buy more supplements, too. D. U. M. Leave the bones in. Tastes better that way too.

So: here we go, with more and more people eschewing dark chicken meat for breast meat, even though many of them don't actually like it.

Chicken manufacturers, of course, want to satisfy the demands of their customers, whether those demands are sensible or not. Sensible customers aren't necessarily good for the bottom line.

Ergo: chicken companies have worked hard on developing chickens with bigger and bigger breasts, and smaller and smaller thighs and drumsticks.

Okay. I can see how gross raw meat pix look on a blog. But I only cooked one half of the breast and froze the rest for Livey to have later on. I wanted to show In Living Color what this weirdly proportioned bird looks like.

The pic of the fried chicken only has one half of a breast, at the upper left, and look how large that is in proportion to the rest of the bird.

The upper right of the raw chicken pic shows both breast halves. Can you see how the breast is almost as much as the WHOLE REST OF THE CHICKEN?!?

Did you know that chickens didn't used to look like that?

For many years I've been cutting up whole chickens. And roasting them whole, and doing all sorts of other interesting things with them. I have seen many a chicken in my day.

And I tell you, this All Boob Chicken thing is just...strange. It's unnatural.

How do they walk around? Don't they, like, fall forward all the time from the weight?

Oh. Forgot. Most of them are raised in those little cages or something. Okay. They probably can't move much anyway so maybe that's a non-issue.

Oh! Until...Did you hear about Florida's Pregnant Pig amendment? We passed a constitutional amendment that required pregnant pigs be given a cage large enough for them to turn around in. They Friends of Preggers Pigs couldn't get the ag department to pass a simple regulation, so they put it on as a constitutional amendment. In Florida the people have a right to amend the constitution by vote if the legislature or state departments don't act in accord with the will of the people. It passed. Today, all Florida pregnant pigs can turn around in their cages just as they please.

Now I wonder if they'll do an All Boob Chicken amendment.

If chicken boobs keep developing as rapidly and ardently as they've been, it could be the only way to save those poor chickens from hopping around backwards, dragging their boobs behind them in the Free Range dust. Or sitting in their mini-cages, boob down, and unable to do much besides lift their underweight little heads for some more chicken feed.



Moobear said...

hello k
Interesting reading. Now I am like Livey, I just prefer the breast, but I hanker for a leg ever once in a great while. I can eat the dark with no problem, but just do prefer the breast. However, I ain't never cut up a chicken in all my 63 years. :) Enjoy the good eating.

k said...

WOW!!! A nice suthrin lady who never cut up a chicken?!? Well I never!

Of course, if you were here, it would be a perfect Chicken Division. You and Livey could split the breast and I wouldn't have to freeze anything but the back.



Desert Cat said...

Chicken boobs.



That just sounds funny to say.

Walrilla said...

You know, them chickens was probably from Miami, or even California. I heard there's lots of... "enhancement" going on in those places. B-)>

Kenny said...

I like chicken and I perfer the dark meat, same with turkey. But nothing is better then the skin. My goodness if they could just make a chicken or turkey with all skin I would be a very happy camper

pepektheassassin said...

I prefer my chicken already cut up...although I have cut up my own before. But, then I always *see* the chicken as a little bird, skwaking and running for her life, and it makes me feel guilty and sad.

However, when it is already cut up, it's easier to imagine them as little chunks of pink stuff somehow removed from a living thing...well. I have trouble with the turkey at Thanksgiving, too.

k said...

Yes. It IS funny, DC. That's why I like to say it. I've been running around for days now giggling to myself about Chicken Boobs.

Walrilla, eeeekkk! Now I'll be haunting Chicken Boob blogs for secret news of Chicken Pumping Parties. Or poking around in that there breast meat, seeing if those chicken boobs contain Inedible Bits.

Uhhh...well, perhaps not entirely inedible. At least to the boy chickens. Ummm...non-comestible? Unpotable? ;-)

Oh, kenny, I'm the same way! But I do like the skin crispy. Sometimes if there's too much chicken fat left under the skin after cooking it, I just scrape it away. The skin is another part the Food Police are always after us about, right? So I only eat the part I LIKE.

Doing those Chicken Back Bakes is SO good for that! Thighs too. I cook them at around 300 degrees for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, in a glass pan with no rack, turning once to get that skin really crispy.

Sometimes I put garlic cloves between the skin and thigh meat, or what little meat remained on the back. Or, some Tony Chacheries cajun seasoning. Walter LOVES that. Oh, tasty!

And any chicken skin I don't use when I cut up that chicken? I freeze that too, and toss it in to bake with the Real Meat.

k said...

miss assassin, I've wrestled with that too. Since my earliest memories.

As much as I can, I've tried to adopt the philosophy that since life is composed of living things eating other living things, it's more the manner than the fact that matters.

I think of a hunter waiting and watching, and knowing when the moment arrives that a food animal seems to simply offer themselves up to the hunter. I've seen this in hunting and fishing, both.

I thank whatever beast I'm eating for the fact that it's feeding me. I try not to waste it. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't. But I try to show respect in that way too.

And, in a way, to acknowledge the real animal that gave its life to feed us is a sign of respect, too. I try not to reduce it to its isolated meat parts for that reason.

I'm eating the flesh of an animal, and I love animals. To deal with that, my instinct is to *depersonalize* that animal.

But in order to respect what it really gave me? For that, I must allow it its full import, its complete self. Not depersonalize it at all.

I figure that in losing its life, it gave up more than I give up by making sure I look its truth full in the face.

sue said...

I, too, "home cook" more than not... and am amazed how often people go with the more "processed" foods just for convenience. I do like to cook, however, so maybe that's part of it. We won't even discuss how much I like to EAT. lol!

k said...

Well. I love to cook AND I love to eat! Unfortunately, eating is not something I can do much of. Thus, all the food giveaways, the bread and sin rolls especially.

Livey said, and I've heard this from others too, that where she thought she hated to cook, it was actually the cleaning up that she hated.

Now that makes perfect sense to me.

And see? Even though you work full time, you still find a way to cook.

I guess I've never been convinced that *convenience* food is actually more convenient.

pepektheassassin said...

k, that's one more reason I love you!