Tuesday, July 15, 2008

As everyone knows. the economy is in bad shape. Most of it is our own fault. The main culprit is oil. As the price of oil goes up, so does everything else. Corn, which is used to make gasoline, has made the price of food go up. Agricultural land is now used to produce corn. There is less land for food, so there is less food, which means higher prices. Everything is going up because oil is the standard.

Today, I heard that even the chicken business is affected. Food for the chickens is higher, therefore the price goes up. Today, Pilgrims of Pittsburg, Texas, the chicken tycoons, announced that they are closing a plant in Arkansas and there will be a large lay off of personnel. They said the chicken industry is having difficult times. In my opinion, not all the chicken problem is related to the price of feed. Chicken just isn’t as good as it used to be and it’s the breeder’s fault.

Chickens have been bred so that they are nothing but a big fat breast. The breast is the predominant piece of the chicken and the drumsticks and wings have been reduced to scrawny tiny slivers of meat. The thigh is a throw away and not worth cooking. Restaurants are peddling wings off under a new name called buffalo wings, which are tiny fragments of tasteless meat covered in a sloppy sauce for disguise. The drumsticks are mostly fat. Turkeys are the same. I heard a turkey breeder give a talk recently and he spoke about the poultry industry. The turkeys have been bred until they are, basically, a huge breast walking around on tiny legs. They are so big breasted they can’t copulate to reproduce by themselves. The poor hens must me fertilized by artificial insemination.

These huge breasts are tasteless chunks of meat even when prepared by the best of chefs, including my partner. They just don’t cut chicken like they used to. When I was a kid my favorite piece was the pulley bone. My grandkids don’t even know about the pulley bone. That’s the scrumptious morsel from the front part of the breast that is now included with the mega-breast. I haven’t had a pulley bone in years and would pay the price for a
big steak at a fancy restaurant for one pulley bone fried in Crisco.

We raised chickens when I was a kid. For a meal, we would select one from the yard, ring its neck, then dip it in boiling water to remove the feathers. After removing the entrails, the bird was cut into beautifully dissected pieces, rolled in a secret flour batter then placed lovingly into the skillet for frying in a heart unhealthy shortening. It was great. It was probably the yard-raised chickens that were nourished from worms and other goodies on the ground that gave them their incredible taste. Frying the bird fresh was also a major factor affecting the taste. None of our fryers ever spent time in the freezer to be burned or have the taste deteriorate with time. Even the thigh was good on these chickens and the neck was favored by a few. I was spoiled with the pulley bone and drumsticks and occasional a wing. I always left the breast for the adults. I never thought that the breast was the best part of the chicken and, unfortunately, that is the piece now pushed by the breeders. No wonder the chicken business is in bad shape.

Old fashioned chickens may be another market niche for me with the depressed economy. They would go great with fresh tomatoes and watermelon. I can give the chickens free rein of the back yard and they are something that, hopefully, the deer will not eat. Maybe the chickens may even serve as a deer deterrent. I can have a whole farm in my backyard and this can all be under my watchful eye from the porch. This bad economy may turn out to be great. At least I might get some good food again.


Blogger jeff ludwick said...

Boy, another thing "gone with the wind." when I was a kid my parents let me raise bantam chickens even though my mother was not fond of the idea. As I remember it the chickens won out over raising show pigs by a large margin. You are so right about the taste. When we would "fix" a couple of fryers out of the pen, usually on Sunday, it was a pure delicacy. The chickens of today serve proof to the term that everyone uses about mystery meat when they say it "tastes like chicken."

My wife will not eat chicken except on rare occasions. They, also raised chickens and it seems there was one hen named "Mookie" that had an affection for eating lizards. I think that spooked her at an early age from poultry.

I would not worry about Pilgrims, though. In a few months Obama will be in office and the goverment will be delivering free chickens and pots to every household in the nation. The demand is going to be enormous. I am going to invest my entire retirement in the chicken industry and the Coleman Pot Company......

6:35 AM  

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