Monday, April 12, 2010
Free Range Chicken
Above is the Free Range Native Black Chicken of Taiwan. I don't think we understand the importance of free range chicken. My mom used to always make herbal chicken soup for medicinal purposes and free range bai chia ji. I was just used to it. When I moved out, I didn't have access to black chicken as much at College and just stopped eating chicken unless it was fried. I started to despise chicken for its mustiness, odor, and just foul smelling essence. In the winter, I still made Taiwanese Chicken Soup (like din tai fung style), but really never much else.
Above are boiler chickens. They look sickly! Commodity boiler chickens are treated like shit. I swear I think its karma. All the health problems we have from hormones/antibiotics, its what we deserve for treating animals like this. Not to mention the shitty food we eat. We also don't slaughter meat well in America for the most part. Chickens are electricuted most of the time and the blood just sits in them. Halal, they let it bleed out like in Taiwan. I'm not an expert on halal, but that's what I'm told:
Forbidden for you are carrion, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that which has been slaughtered while proclaiming the name of any other than God, and one killed by strangling, and one killed with blunt weapons, and one which died by falling, and that which was gored by the horns of some animal, and one eaten by a wild beast, except those whom you slaughter; and that which is slaughtered at the altar and that which is distributed by the throwing of arrows [for an omen]; this is an act of sin. – Al-Maidah 5:3
I'm not a religious guy, but sometimes, there are rituals that are here because its humane, or because it just makes sense. I think electricuting chickens may serve the spirit of the above quote by not having animals suffer, but the process leading up to slaughter of boiler chickens makes my stomach turn. They are kept inside 23 out of 24 hours a day so they overeat and they develop giant breast meat and can't walk by the time they're killed unless of course they died of kidney/liver failure before then already.
We need to demand free range chicken. Whether you care about the animals or just because you like the taste better or if you want the health benefits! Do people in suburbs really need 2 acres for a house? If we planned this urban sprawl bullshit better there would be no excuses for not having enough land to farm chickens. We are ass backwards and its our own fault. I'm not even saying this because I don't sell chicken at the restaurant. People complained about the price because they expect chicken at dirt cheap commodity standards. You reap what you sow people!
In Taiwan, even at roadside places, you get free range chicken! Because they have left enough land to raise the chickens and people won't put up with the commodity. Obviously, you still have boilers at KFC, etc. but if it weren't for us bringing this horrible system over, it'd be free range for the most part. Right now, restaurants are charged an arm and a leg upwards of $3/lb for free range chicken. You may say, "Hey, that's cheap!" Well, dude, we're not just gonna hand it over to you for $3! It took us 3 hours just to prep the free range chicken from marinade, to boiling, to pulling, to seasoning plus rent, electricity, etc.
But, if consumers start to demand free range, we can up our orders, we have leverage with the farms, the farms are happy to produce more, and we're in good shape! Look, thank chipotle for buying Niman! It allows them to expand and now they're even doing retail at whole foods. Soon, it may become the standard, it will spawn copy cats, and we'll have competition in the free range all natural meat sector to choose from at grocery stores. You have it with chicken, but its still not a great product. We don't get heritage breeds. If we get it cheaper, so do you. But capitalism doesn't work if the consumers are uneducated. READ PEOPLE, READ! haha
Damn... maybe college/law school wasn't such a waste of time? I don't remember Biggie doing the Ten Free Range Commandments so I had to learn this shit somewhere..... lol. On another note.... I wish the press would pick up some of these posts as opposed to the ones where I'm just venting about customers or the industry B.S. I am banning myself from trash talk, even if it kills me in the hopes people run some of this.... Hmm, maybe I could trade? Like, "Yo, I will bash whatever restaurant you want. Just tell the people to stop treating chickens like shit!" Mercenary-steez.