Black: A pox on this column
A man in Wahoo, Neb., said he ate all the eggs he could. He felt it was his contribution to beef sales; every egg he ate was one less chicken!
People take chickens personally. My brother Bob had a rooster named Oscar. They hated each other! Lots of kids like Big Bird on Sesame Street. The state birds of Rhode Island and Delaware are both chickens; one red, one blue. Oklahoma has two cities named after the humble poult: Chickkasha and Henryetta. Toledo had a minor league baseball team called the Mud Hens.
Some folks love chicken. But it’s hard to find anybody who loves a chicken. Chickens don’t make good pets. It is hard to housebreak a chicken. They don’t respond well to training. Maybe that’s why we don’t see more chicken races, trained chicken acts or seeing-eye chickens.
Chickens come several ways: as hawks, peals, pox and coffee-flavored (chicory), BBQed, fried, in past little lumps called McNuggets and with their tail between their legs. You can get them in a basket, in a bucket or in a coop with fries.
The poultry industry has done well in marketing its product. Beef is distinguished in its advertising by its unique flavor, i.e. “nothing satisfies like beef.” Did you notice that everything tastes like chicken? When one doesn’t know how to describe the taste of some edible tidbit they claim it tastes like chicken. Octopus tastes like chicken. Rabbit, squirrel, armadillo, alligator, frog legs and squid have a chicken-like flavor. Even rattlesnake meat tastes like chicken. Some may think this comparison is fowl play but I think it adds a little glamour to the pore ol’ chicken. It adds pizzazz to the chicken to be associated with these exotic creatures.
Chickens have made at least two historical contributions to modern civilization that I can think of: The pecking order and the chicken-fried steak. But on the whole, the image of chickens is less than flattering, i.e., henpecked, bird-brain, egghead, chicken-hearted, chicanery, henchman, fowl-mouthed and Henry the Eighth.
In veterinary school we had to take an extensive 20-minute course in poultry surgery. I had trouble with the class. I kept calling the pectoral muscle white meat. I intended to get a master’s degree in poultry medicine but Colonel Sanders was closed when I went to enroll.