In just the past two days, three enlightening stories have been published which explore everyone’s favorite white meat: chicken. The first is an exposé on the horrors of industrial chicken farming, published by Salon. Here’s an excerpt from the stomach-churning piece:

“Between slaughter and nugget-ization, chicken carcasses endure a host of perversions, making chicken less of a food and more of a food-like substance. They are injected with saltwater solutions to add weight and taste. Their bodies are mechanically separated through a processed called “Advanced Meat Recovery,” stripping the meat off leftover bones and turning it into the poultry version of pink slime.”

The second poultry tale is told by the New York Times. The piece explores chickens raised on an Amish farm in Ephrata, PA, that only eat scraps from Manhattan’s most elegant restaurants, including Per SeDanielGramercy Tavernthe Modern and David Burke Townhouse.

These pampered chickens are an experiment by Ariane Daguin of gourmet food company D’Artagnan. Jean-Georges Vongerichten eloquently states: “When I tasted [the Ephrata chicken], I was like, ‘Whoa.'” Too bad the only people who will benefit from this delicious chicken—at least in the short term—are rich folk who eat at restaurants that can afford to put the high-end birds on their menu. But Ms. Daguin has a long-term plan:

“If the flavor of the birds and the spirit of the idea catch on with consumers, Ms. Daguin may add more Amish farms to the project. She sees it as a growth opportunity for her company, as well as an experiment in consciousness-raising that could influence cooks and diners around the country.”

A third story written by everyone’s favorite food nerd, Alton Brown, looks into a meat substitute that really does tastes like chickenBeyond Meat in Columbia, Missouri makes decidedly meaty fake chicken with a blend of soy and pea protein isolates, fiber, and a few other ingredients. The target market for this product is meat eaters who want to cut back—not vegetarians. Alton discusses why this meat substitute is not even comparable to Tofurky:

“The extruder with the weird rectangular box…uses steam, pressure, and cold water to knead and knit the proteins and plant fibers in the Beyond Meat mixture into a specific physical arrangement. I push for more details; Brown won’t share. This is the innovation that he thinks will make Beyond Meat different from everyone else who has tried to satisfy the world’s unending appetite for protein without killing animals. This is what separates Beyond Meat’s chicken analog from Tofurky.”

The onslaught of stories published on the current state and evolution of chicken in America is by no means a coincidence. It implies that at least a part of the population sees the industrial production of chicken in this country as something that must be reworked.

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