The Poultry Problem

Because the truth is, Chicken clucks

I am done with chicken. It’s the 1980s sitcom of food, the Least Objectionable Menu Item. It has no discernible flavor and a texture prized by a culture so lazy, it doesn’t even want to chew. You know why all exotic meats—alligator, iguana, opossum—taste “just like chicken”? Because after a millennium of experimentation, those are the animals humans decided not to eat because they taste like crap.

I know that a restaurant is going to be bad if it has chicken breast on the menu. Chicken breast is food for people who don’t really like food. It’s the meat that doesn’t look like an animal, the sole choice of the squeamish who are always on some fad diet. Yes, its blandness makes it a great vehicle for sauces, but if you feel that strongly about sauce, just drink some sauce. Is fried chicken delicious? You bet. But if that’s proof of deliciousness, then fried dough powdered with sugar should get three Michelin stars.

I’ve tried your jidori and your tiny black Silkies, and they still don’t taste like anything. Sure, the blue foot and the poulet de bresse—which cost more than $20 a pound—have a vaguely gamy, ducklike taste. But for that much money I’d rather eat duck.

Why does Chick-fil-A hate gay people? Because, unlike chicken, gay people are interesting. Why did Jim Morrison sing “I eat more chicken than any man ever seen?” Because he wasn’t really talking about chicken. Bad American canned tuna is called Chicken of the Sea. In Italian, “Jay Leno” means “Chicken of Late Night.”

Yet I can’t escape chicken meat: It’s in sandwiches served at meetings, given away practically for free at Al Wazir, and offered as a salad topping at Cheesecake Factory, as if all the patrons are training for bodybuilding competitions. But I shall wage my war against chicken meat while choosing to value the birds for the perfect food they do deliver: eggs. Chicken is a food that is better never born.