Donna Maurillo, Food for Thought
How Much Chicken Meat Do Americans Eat in a Year? If you are the typical person, you eat around 100 pounds of it. This is an increase of 160% from what we ate in 1970. At the same time, our individual pork consumption has fallen by 6%, and our beef consumption has fallen again, by a surprising 31%. .
At least part of the decline is probably due to the fact that we are consuming more plant-based foods. In 2020, for example, sales of vegetable meat almost doubled compared to 2019. And sales of vegetable milk increased by 20%.
This means that we are moving in the right direction because beef production is much more expensive than chicken or soybean production — in terms of water use and environmental impact. Additionally, many people turn to poultry due to health concerns. They want foods low in fat and cholesterol.
It may also explain why so many people have become suburban chicken farmers. Fresh eggs taste much better, so you can produce your own meat. In fact, I’ve heard that one of the best things you can do to help third world families survive is to give them a flock of chickens. They will have a continuous supply of food, as well as a source of income.
But I digress. Here are some fun facts about chickens and eggs.
I bet you didn’t know
How fast can a chicken cross the road? Pretty fast, actually. Chickens can reach around 9 mph. They also have this strange habit of taking “dust baths” rather than water baths. So you will never see a chicken fluttering around in a birdbath.
Chickens actually recognize people. I don’t know how the researchers know this, but apparently someone has tested it. They also seem to prefer people with symmetrical faces who are generally considered to be beautiful. I guess that means chickens can be just as shallow as humans.
By the way, hens definitely prefer to mate with roosters which are highest in the pecking order. The poor guy who is last on the list probably ends up in a pot of cacciatore.
Why are brown eggs more expensive than white eggs? It is not because they provide better nutrition. In fact, there is no nutritional difference between them. It’s just that some breeds naturally produce brown eggs. And these breeds require a more expensive type of food. Other than that, there is no reason to pay more.
With that said, there is a breed called Easter Egger that will lay eggs in different pastel shades. My kids had chickens that laid green eggs every time they fed them alfalfa. Maybe that’s where Dr Seuss got his idea for green eggs and ham. Or maybe not.
It’s strange, but hens only use their left ovaries to produce eggs. The other is entitled to a free ride. But it is useful if the left ovary is damaged, as the responsibility will pass to the other side.
Besides corn and other seeds, chickens eat insects and even mice and lizards. So, they are quite valuable for pest control.
And scientists even figured out what happened first: the chicken or the egg. It was the egg. How do they know? Well, reptiles were producing hard-shelled eggs even before chickens appeared on Earth. So, now you have a cocktail fact that will amaze everyone.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Place a cooking rack on a foil-lined baking sheet. Arrange the bacon on top and bake at 350F until crisp. No splashing and grease flows out.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Speaking of chickens, we made this recipe in under an hour during an online cooking class with Denise Ward and Mirella Savagnano. He’s definitely a keeper! Save the extra coleslaw for lunch. For more information on their classes, write to Denise at [email protected]
SESAME CRUST CHICKEN AND Five-Spice Coleslaw
For the coleslaw:
1 tablespoon of sunflower or other sweet oil
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of sriracha (optional to taste)
1 teaspoon of Chinese five-spice
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 green cabbage, sliced, very thinly sliced
1/4 sliced red cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1 small red pepper (or 1/2 cup) thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced diagonally
1/4 cup packed cilantro
1 lemon, halved
1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Mince the grated ginger with the garlic. Incorporate into liquid ingredients. Put all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dressing ingredients to the coleslaw, reserving a tablespoon to baste the chicken. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over the coleslaw. Let marinate while you cook the chicken.
For the chicken:
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds (or ground cumin)
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons of white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup sunflower oil, or more
1. Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten with a mallet or rolling pin to 1/2 inch thick. Cut the chicken into 4 equal pieces.
2. Line up 3 shallow bowls to prepare for the chicken coating process. In the first bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and cilantro. In the second bowl, beat the egg. In the third bowl, mix the panko with the sesame seeds
3. Using two forks, dip each piece of chicken evenly in the flour coating, then in the egg, then in the sesame mixture.
4. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the pan is hot, add the chicken. Leave alone for 4 minutes. Flip and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Bake another 3 minutes or until internal temperature registers 165F.
5. Remove the chicken on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Serve with coleslaw. Pour the remaining dressing over the chicken. Squeeze the lemon juice over it.