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Chicken Trivia

Chicken is the most popular meat in this country, so I thought some chicken trivia would be appropriate. The chicken was domesticated from the Red Jungle Fowl of Southeast Asia (pictured) and was hybridized with the Blue Jungle Fowl. DNA analysis has shown this to be true; however, the birds are so skittish no one knows how they were ever domesticated. The Latin word for rooster was gallus, hence the genus for the chicken is gallus. The Celts who inhabited what is now France held the rooster sacred, which led the Romans to name the region Gaul. The bird’s status among Medieval Christians and its fierce fighting ability led to the adoption of the chicken as the French national symbol. It is even the symbol of Brennan’s, the famous New Orleans French restaurant.

Chickens are best cut into pieces for grilling because they contain both low fat white meat and higher fat dark meat. The two have different cooking requirements. Ever wondered why they have this mix of meats? Chickens are short flight birds, so their breasts are composed of ‘fast twitch' muscles that burn sugar for rapid energy. They walk most of the day in search of food, so their legs are composed of ‘slow twitch’ muscles that burn fat for endurance. Ducks and geese are all dark meat because their ancestors were migratory, requiring fat for endurance. Chicken breasts are more popular because of their lower fat content. If your concern is fat, here is a guide.

However, in my opinion the two most flavorful pieces of chicken are the thigh and wing. My March 15, 2018 BLOG post provided a chicken thigh recipe and I will post a wings recipe in the future.

Pork is currently the largest component of global meat production, but chicken is expected to surpass pork by the year 2020. Chicken is the cheapest of all meat and has rapid consumption growth in all geographical regions. It has a carbon footprint one-half that of pork and one-fourth that of beef.

The earliest firm evidence of domestic chickens comes from China in 3,600 BCE. The earliest evidence of chickens in the Americas is the El Arenal 1 archeological site in coastal Chile. It predates Spanish colonization and genetically matches chicken DNAs from Polynesia. There are now 175 recognized chicken breeds, not counting the many cross breeds that exist on farms around the world.

For further reading try:

Why Did the Chicken Cross the World: The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization

Andrew Lawler

Atria Paperback

ISBN: 9 781476 729909

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