I have finally figured out the definitive answer to the age-old joke about the chicken that crossed the road; he simply couldn’t fly. This is also more than likely the reason why forty nine billion of them get eaten every year – and that‘s not counting foxes.
That’s right. According to numerous sources on Google, an estimated 134 million chickens are eaten every day in every corner of the globe.
But let’s be honest, apart from the conscientious abstainers, who amongst us can resist an aromatic chicken curry, our Mum’s roast chicken, a satay, a chicken burger, coq au vin or a glistening ayam bakar with a scorching sambal on the side? Almost every culture has their way with this humble barnyard bird. On every continent they kill, they cook and they eat chicken. A lot of it. The Colonel was sure on to something when he started frying those buggers in a crispy coating with his 11 secret herbs & spices.
How did it all begin? Well, Google doesn’t have an answer, but presumably the bird’s lack of ability to take flight may have a lot to do with it. A hungry guy back in the dark ages probably couldn’t be bothered going on a hunting expedition to chase some mighty beast or wait endlessly on the end of a stick for a fish to bite. Like teenagers, he’s going to grab the first available thing and this is probably how the drab bird became the star of the table. They breed like crazy, they don’t fly away and you can eat every damn part of it, no waste. Even the unformed fetus comes so cleverly packaged in a creamy shell, you have to love that.
Chicken can be dressed up or dressed down. It crosses all culinary, cultural and religious barriers and they even make them to suit your taste. The supermarket chickens in the West are simply terrifying; huge birds that literally spout juices while you carve it. That can’t be normal. Then we have all the controversy about Kentucky ordering wingless birds, or legless ones depending. The battery life of a chicken has horrified people the world over and yet, they are still making them like that and we are still eating them.
The chicken was clearly cursed from the start; can’t fly, can’t sing, not much to love apart from the result in the hands of a talented cook. So it is destined for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it can at least be proud of that fact. It feeds millions of us every single day and that surely is an accomplishment which can finally give the chicken cause to raise its head – if it has the space.