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There’s another white meat?

Why do Americans eat more chicken than pork?

If you’re like me, this is true of you, but you can’t really explain why. So when my dinner companions asked me this the other day, I wasn’t really sure what to say. In China, pork is probably the most common meat.  It’s the fallback meat–the meat you turn to when you don’t have anything particularly meaningful for it to do. For you, it might be ground beef, but for me it’s always been chicken.

I was a little surprised that they’d even ask. So, I simply confessed my ignorance and shifted over to why we don’t really eat much mutton in America.1

Then I went shopping. For the first time in months (literally), I bought meat to prepare. Chicken.

Perhaps it was curiosity I’ve been fostering during this holiday. Perhaps it was excess time being domestic (i.e., sitting at home). Perhaps it was hunger. I decided to cook.

Saturday night, I made plum chicken and rice–a personal creation inspired by the common availability of plum juice here and my rather uncommon taste for it.  I should have replaced the rice with mashed potatoes, but I didn’t feel like going back out to the store. And the rice was pretty good too, I must say.

Sunday night, I made a sort of chicken and brocolli risotto. Sort of. While the concept is common enough, the method is personal.

Monday night, I made chicken parmesan. Drawing upon vast experience in eating it, none in making it, I created my own version, starting with crumbing my own bread (don’t get too excited–I had canned spaghetti sauce).

All from scratch. Without recipes. With nothing more than a hot plate, a microwave, and a rice cooker. I just did what seemed appropriate. None of them was perfect, but each of them was worth eating.

Now, those of you with cooking experience are waiting for the point. Those without it are rather proud of me.

I’m just grateful to the chickens, without whom none of this would have been possible.

  1. I’m glad I’ve been abroad enough to find out that mutton is good. Also, lizard.

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4 Comments

You should consider becoming a chef in addition to a journalist! I love to cook but haven’t been brave enough to set out and create a recipe from scratch. I’m impressed to say the least. I’m enjoy reading your posts (I especially liked the one about President O’s State of the Union address).

February 3, 2010 (8:18 am)

@Div: Really, it has a lot more to do with chicken’s inherent goodness than anything I did to it. But it was fun.

February 3, 2010 (12:20 pm)

Does it work backwards? Does my expectation or pride at the end determine whether my cooking undertakings qualify as ‘experience’ or ‘lack thereof’?

February 4, 2010 (4:22 am)

@Mel: There’s certainly a relationship, though I’m unable to quantify it in concrete terms. I can say, though, these meals gave me a bit of experience which will affect both future cooking attempts and their evaluations.

February 6, 2010 (5:05 am)
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