Thursday, April 30, 2009

A chicken out of every pot

I'm crazy with 'roid rage. No, I'm not hanging with A-Rod or Barry Bonds. It's all about the chicken in my freezer.

I picked up a package containing two, bone-in chicken breasts at the grocery store yesterday. Unwrapped at home, these big-boned wonders looked like they peeled off a turkey or a pterodactyl. Huge is not the word; artificially plumped are the two words.

I thought back to the playground days when we used to refer to the smallest kid around as "as skinny as a plucked chicken." My plucked chicken had the pecs of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

How has chicken reached gargantuan proportions here in the 21st century? OK, people have gotten taller and stronger over the decades through better nutrition and better health habits. But that gradual growth for humans seems to have been eclipsed by the exponential growth of domestic fowl. I don't think the chickens have been pumping iron, downing Clif bars, jogging across the road or popping iron supplements.

Mom made baked chicken back in the day. But I remember the protein on my plate was the size of a deck of cards. My new-wave protein chicken breast will barely keep itself anchored on my dinner plate. I also remember she made veal chops for my father. Those little chops were barely bigger than my youthful clenched fist. I bought some last week that would make fine door stops. Bigger than ever -- but better?

Don't get the wrong idea. It's been a wonder that the geeks of agriculture have been able to increase the yield of essential grains and livestock to keep foods as widely available as possible and as cheaply as possible.

In the case of my chicken, however, are they also keeping the taste and texture at the maximum and the artificial enhancements at a minimum? I'm doubting it.

Let's keep the 'roids in the stadiums where they belong.

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