Once, in my student days, a very serious scholar with a very serious mustache at a very serious university looked up at me sternly from a pile of worn treatises on the nature of human progress and mused, “Chicken is an incredible piece of technology.”
Even as just a bird, a chicken is an incredible thing. With a population of more than 50 billion, the chicken is the most abundant feathered species on the planet. It thrives on all six major continents from Iceland to Patagonia, in deserts and forests, on mountain peaks, and in the midst of cities. Thanks to the Chinese, some chickens have even been to space. As the bird can be quarrelsome at times, archaeologists believe that the chicken was first domesticated for cockfighting and that the fowl is also a proud descendant of the sharp-toothed and short-armed Tyrannosaurus rex. Most incredible of all, a chicken also makes a great chicken dinner.
While the sheer scale of America’s chicken consumption is incredible to think about, it is even more astonishing considering the fact that these eating habits are entirely new.
Read the entire excerpt from Emelyn Rude's new book Taste Like Chicken and learn more about chicken in our Spring issue.
Also featured is The Sum of the Parts" by Dean Sam Pardue, Director of the UGA Agricultural College, along with his famous BBQ Chicken and Moppin' Sauce recipe - sneak preview coming soon!
• • • Emelyn Rude explores this fascinating phenomenon in Tastes Like Chicken. With meticulous research, Rude details the ascendancy of chicken from its humble origins to its centrality on grocery store shelves, in restaurants, and in our kitchens. Tastes Like Chicken takes us on a journey through American history - from antebellum steam trains, where fried chicken is hawked at every stop in the South; to the streets of New York City at the turn of the twentieth century, where we revel in the mayhem of Kosher markets; and out to the heartland, where the marvelous contestants in the "Chicken of Tomorrow" contest are on full display. Along the way, Rude reveals startling key point in the chicken's edible history, such as the moment it was first stuffed and roasted by the Romans, why chicken salad once enjoyed a lofty status, and how transforming the chicken into a simple nugget changed dinner time the world over.
In the spirit of Mark Kurlansky’s Cod and Bee Wilson's Consider the Fork, Tastes Like Chicken is a fascinating, clever, and surprising discourse on one of America’s favorite foods.
One of Amazon.com's Best Non-Fiction Books, August 2016! Nature Magazine's Best Science Books of the Week! Starred Review in Kirkus! Chicken little is doing big things!
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