How did chicken achieve the culinary ubiquity it enjoys today? It’s hard to imagine, but there was a point in history, not terribly long ago, that individual people each consumed less than ten pounds of chicken per year. Today, those numbers are strikingly different: we consumer nearly twenty-five times as much chicken as our great-grandparents did.
Collectively, Americans devour 73.1 million pounds of chicken in a day, close to 8.6 billion birds per year. How did chicken rise from near-invisibility to being in seemingly "every pot," as per Herbert Hoover's famous promise?
Emelyn Rude explores this fascinating phenomenon in Tastes Like Chicken. With meticulous research, Rude details the ascendancy of chicken from its humble origins to its centrality on grocery store shelves and in restaurants and kitchens. Along the way, she reveals startling key points in its history, such as the moment it was first stuffed and roasted by the Romans, how the ancients’ obsession with cockfighting helped the animal reach Western Europe, and how slavery contributed to the ubiquity of fried chicken today.
In the spirit of Mark Kurlansky’s Cod and Bee Wilson's Consider the Fork, Tastes Like Chicken is a fascinating, clever, and surprising discourse on one of America’s favorite foods.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
A Fowl Introduction ix
1 The Early Bird 1
2 A Healing Broth 12
3 The General Chicken Merchants 27
4 Of Chicken and Champagne 40
5 The Poor Man's Chicken 55
6 America's EGG Basket 68
7 Calories and Constituents 84
8 The Kosher Chicken Wars 95
9 Celia Steele's Modest Endeavor 108
10 They Saw in Hens a Way 121
11 A Chicken for Every Grill 130
12 A Nugget Worth More Than Gold 149
13 The Tale of the Colonel and the General 166
14 The Modern Chicken 181
The End and the Beginning 193
Recipe Citations 239
Photography Permissions 245