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03-20-1999, 03:04 PM
It seems that every outdoors-adventure-type movie and TV show contains this line. Is this just some massive running gag in the entertainment industry, or is it really true that chicken tastes like lizard, moose, giraffe, three-toed sloth, South American reticulated python, etc?

P.S.: Can anyone pin down the first time this was said of some exotic game?

03-20-1999, 03:46 PM
My guess would be because unless you do something pretty dramatic to it, chicken is really tasteless.

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Kathy

03-20-1999, 04:25 PM
I think you can break down the basic varieties of taste (flesh-wise)by taxonomic class. Basically Fish, Mammal (red meat), bird and reptile. Most of us have little experience beyond chicken and turkey in eating birds and none at all as far as reptiles are concerned. Since birds and reptiles are the closest related of the groups, it makes sense that the taste and texture of their flesh would be similar.
My guess is that any bird or reptile you eat is going to remind you of chicken.
I would hazard that moose, giraffe and sloth taste more like pork or beef. The fact that human flesh tastes like pork has already been well-documented in Cecil's column.

03-20-1999, 08:25 PM
In your average cut of meat, a large proportion of the flavor is in the fat not the muscle. This is one reason why meat is more flavorful than poultry.

Most of the exotic animals that people eat are wild not domestic. They contain less fat than domestically raised animals. This reduced fat content means reduced flavor. Most people when asked about these meats tend to associate it them the most fat free meat they are familiar with; chicken.

03-22-1999, 10:38 AM
Actually, Diceman, this is one of those phrases that has been mutated over the course of time. The etimology of the phrase dates back to the time of the Brothers Grimm and a huge government initiative to change the culinary habits of old hags living in gingerbread houses. The initiative only suceeded when a little remembered beaurocrat convinced the hags to try suckling pig by uttering the phrase "Tastes like children." BTW, as this is the first recorded indication that human flesh and pork share similar gastronomic qualities, this beaurocrat is rumored to be one of Cecil's forefathers. I don't know how many mothers are involved.

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Good for what ails ya...

03-22-1999, 11:44 AM
Those were more conservative times. I'd say fourmothers as well.

03-22-1999, 02:18 PM
I have a friend whose parents are Korean immigrants with a wonderful sense of humor. When they first arrived, people would invite them over for parties and inevitably tell them the ingredients of every foos they were eating. They decided to get back at Americans.

Whenever somebody told them all about this new food they "probably never tasted before" (I saw them do it with Chili at one buffet party), one would tentatively take a taste, and then jabber excitedly to the other in Korean, then dig in.

Invariably, the host would eventually ask what they had said. Deadpan, Woogie's mother would say, "He said it tasted just like dog!"

Broke me up every time.

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- Through the modem, past the router, over the firewall... nothing but 'Net -

03-22-1999, 03:50 PM
In your average cut of meat, a large proportion of the flavor is in the fat not the muscle. This is one reason why meat is more flavorful than poultry.
Most of the exotic animals that people eat are wild not domestic. They contain less fat than domestically raised animals. This reduced fat content means reduced flavor. Most people when asked about these meats tend to associate it them the most fat free meat they are familiar with; chicken.

Good grief. Where did you hear that????

FYI, wild game has MUCH MORE flavour than domestic crap. The flavour in meat comes from the meat itself; the fat enhances the flavour by just being fat. (It's why high-fat foods taste good.) Wild meat has a far more intense flavour than domestically raised animals, especially those that are fed commercial feed and not allowed to run around. The quality of the food that goes into an animal determines the quality (ie flavour) of the meat that comes out the other side of the abbattoir. Something like a moose, for example, grazes on tender sprigs of willows, succulent water vegetables and juicy mixes of organically grown grasses. Moose meat is amazing. The difference between it and farm-raised beef is kind of like the difference between cheap-ass grape juice in a tetrapak and a fine Bordeaux wine.


And moose meat tastes nothing like chicken. If you've ever had really high quality, free-range, organically raised beef, it's kind of like that, only better.

03-22-1999, 04:42 PM
I think that both the question and answer are silly. Nothing tastes like anything else, and comparisons are tenuous at best. The question is asked only because they are curious, but don't want to taste it themselves, and the question is answered only because the taster is under pressure to give some kind of answer.

Try this question, for example. Imagine someone who has never tasted beef before, and just wants to try it just once. What you you give that person, to use as a default value for "tastes like beef". Would you serve hamburger? meat loaf? steak? pastrami? from what cut? and with which sauces or marinades?

My example sounds outlandish until you realize how easy it is to tell the difference between a turkey hotdog and a chicken hotdog -- provided you have had experience with many kinds of beef and many kinds of turkey.

03-22-1999, 04:47 PM
ooops! my last paragraph was supposed to read:

My example sounds outlandish until you realize how easy it is to tell the difference between a BEEF hotdog and a CHICKEN hotdog -- provided you have had experience with many kinds of BEEF and many kinds of CHICKEN.

03-22-1999, 06:31 PM
I'm reminded of a sign I saw in a car window the other day. It said "I my cat. Tastes like chicken."

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Ranger Jeff
The Idol of American Youth

03-23-1999, 12:01 AM
You never hear anyone say turkey tastes "just like chicken". Or any other fowl, for that matter.
By the way, fried froglegs do taste ....

03-23-1999, 01:35 PM
You know, all this reminds me of something I read once (naturally, I don't recall where) about cat meat. It said that cat meat is about the only meat that tastes significantly different from beef or chicken. The obvious question being, how the hell does he know this? Seriously, are there that many people that routinely eat cats?

Of course, there's always the possibility that he was talking out of his ass, but still...


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Mr. Armageddon
Wolfpac's back with the mass destruction...

03-23-1999, 01:52 PM
Given that cats are carnivores and cows and chickens aren't, I would have assumed that cat would taste significantly different.

If you think about it, you'll notice that there are not a lot of carnivores in the diets of humans anywhere in the world. The exception to this is seal meat, which is eaten by people in northern climates. I have never tasted seal, but it apparently has more of a fishy taste than a cow-or-chicken taste.

The you-are-what-you-eat concept applies here, I think - the flavour of most animal flesh tends to reflect what that animal has been eating. Also, certain environmental toxins and other stuff tend to build up as you chow down further up the food chain, so you've got a better chance of eating a bunch of pesticides if you eat a wolf that's been feeding off a herd of cattle that graze on a pesticide-treated field than you do if you just eat one of the cows.

Something to ponder, anyway.

03-23-1999, 01:55 PM
Just a point of interest, while the subject is still hot.... There's a book that Borders carried (when I worked there some two years ago, anyway) that was called "Unmentionable Cuisine" by Calvin Schwabe. It was an amusing (and often disgusting) cookbook that had recipes in it for all sorts of vittles that most Americans would find utterly disgusting. Everything from cricket to dog to .... human. **shudder** Just in case you were looking for a main dish to serve with those faver beans and chianti. Heh.

03-23-1999, 11:45 PM
You never hear anyone say turkey tastes "just like chicken". Or any other fowl, for that matter.

By the way, fried froglegs do taste... --Mangeorge

As does deep-fried rattlesnake, but the meat's a little more grainy.

<FONT COLOR="GREEN">ExTank</FONT>
"And you get a cool hat-band to wear, too!"

03-24-1999, 01:12 AM
>>Seriously, are there that many people that routinely eat cats?<<

This is getting way off topic, but in butcher shops in France you see skinned rabbits displayed for sale. If you look closely you will notice that the fur has been left on the feet. I am told that this is legally required to prevent butchers from passing off cats as rabbits.

There may be more than one way to skin a cat, but in France there's only one way to skin a rabbit

03-24-1999, 05:43 AM
If you think about it, you'll notice that there are not a lot of
carnivores in the diets of humans anywhere in the world. The exception
to this is seal meat
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Um just about everything that is seafood eats critters hence the popularity of bait

03-24-1999, 11:53 AM
As for people eating carnivores, I saw something on the Discovery Channel that said that Australian Aborigenies eat cats. This is because cats, along with rabbits, have wiped out almost all of the small game that the aborigenies used to hunt. I guess marsupials don't breed very quickly.

03-24-1999, 04:37 PM
I guess marsupials don't breed very quickly.

So that's what she meant by "...like a 'possum, dear, like a 'possum." Hmmmm

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Good for what ails ya...

03-24-1999, 07:55 PM
I saw a cartoon once: Two frogs are in bed, smoking cigarettes. One says, "They're right! We DO taste like chicken."
--Nott

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AskNott

04-07-1999, 03:24 AM
I can verify on several different things on their chicken taste. I take in account your average breast of chicken baked with some seasoning. My extensive travel and a whole lot of daring over rounds of beer have helped me to get several of these.

Alligator-more tender than chicken but a certain hint of gameyness. Delicious if you like crabmeat

Rattlesnake-tough not close to chicken. I have been told a lot of snakes are not very soft in meat

Dog-(not eaten myself but seen eaten and description) Sorta like chicken more like beef in the way it broke down on the pallet. Not very gamey

Squirrel- Tasty if put on a spit any other way they just taste very gamey.

Most fowl I have been told tastes more like quail or wild turkey than anything. Distinct wild game has a certain taste-who knows maybe chickens have been bred to lose that gamey taste.

04-07-1999, 02:12 PM
I've had rabbit meat, and it DOES taste like chicken. White meat to be exact. You could easily pass it off as chicken to someone who was none the wiser.

04-07-1999, 02:18 PM
Harvey, that must have been a domesticated rabbit. Wild rabbit is quite a bit different from chicken, primarily in that Shake'n'Bake does NOT go well with it. And wild rabbits have darker meat, too. More like ostrich than chicken. Your rabbit was probably living in a cage and eating those pellet things, not frolicking in the woods like my rabbits. :-)

04-07-1999, 02:43 PM
The wild rabbit that I have had was whiteish meat. In fact it was cooked with pheasant and was quite similar. I think that it depends on the type of rabbit and what it's diet consists of.

04-07-1999, 02:49 PM
Sorry, Dools.
Quote
[Dog-(not eaten myself but seen eaten and description) Sorta like chicken more like beef in the way it broke down on the pallet. Not very gamey]
I had dog at a sidewalk shish-kebob stand in Mombasa, Kenya way back in '88. A bud and I were feeling adventurous and thought it was water buffalo, gnu or the like. After eating we asked what it was and the propieter told us, using many gestures and sounds.
It was prepared by chopping into 1 1/2" cubes and cooked over a wood fire (not coals.)
Though it was heavily marbled with fat, it wasn't greasy or "gamey". It had a texture like beef (a roast not steak or chop). The seasoning -- it could have been some type of a dry rub since the meat was already prepared and skewered -- overpowered any taste the flesh may have had.
All-in-all much tastier the the average McDonald's fare.

04-07-1999, 04:10 PM
You just supported my friends statement

We were in Africa ourselves and the guy who ate it said it tasted more like beef. I asked him if it was gamey kinda like wild fowl and he said no other than it was slightly chewy. He offered me some but I turned it down due to the fact that I was still fighting off jet lag and had no appetite at all.

Try snake sometime though. Tasty if it is prepared right.

Has anyone tried anything off the insectia platter or how about "aahhh chilled monkey brains" Supposedly they are still eaten though I only seen it in movies

04-07-1999, 04:31 PM
I've eaten worms and mosquitoes. Worms taste, not surprisingly, rather like dirt. Mosquitoes don't taste like anything. I'm anxious to try those grubs some people eat in Africa, the kind you can mush into something that looks and tastes rather like tapioca pudding. I figure if you added some fruit and maybe some booze, they'd probably be pretty palatable. Just 'cause something was once a bug doesn't mean it has to taste yukky.

04-07-1999, 04:34 PM
All I can vouch for is iguana, and alligator, both of which I would certainly classify as "tasting like chicken." My sense is that the phrase is most often used to describe the eating of reptiles which tend to have fairly tough, flavorless white meat. To the unrefined palate, not unlike chicken. People don't really use the "chicken" comparison for seafood, large game (bison, caribou and such), or even many game birds like duck or pheasant.

I wouldn't be surprised if "reptiles = exotic food" plus reptiles = chickeny taste" begat "exotic food = chickeny taste."

04-24-1999, 10:46 PM
Reindeer tastes like beef, or more like buffalo perhaps.
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We'll burn that bridge when we get there

05-13-1999, 12:25 AM
Crocodile steak is delicious. It tastes, in my opinion, very unique. The first words that come to mind to describe the taste are "ancient", "primordial" and so on.

Snake is good too, although I imagine there's a lot of variety between different types of snakes. And, in all honesty, I have to say that it does remind me of chicken. But they are both white meats after all.

05-13-1999, 01:34 AM
For the last decade the phrase "It tastes like chicken" has been considered a joke among my friends.
The fried rattlesnake I tried did not taste like chicken. A friend compared it to frog legs.

05-25-1999, 06:28 PM
No one seemed to adress the original point of the question, which was "When did the phrase 'Tastes like chicken' become popular?"

Am I the only person among the Teeming Millions that remember's Burger King's promotion for some imitation of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. The TV commercial showed two hunters in the woods going after a bear. One of them is nervous, but the other one says, "Don't worry, they taste like chicken." Then they hear a noise, turn to the camera and scream. We then see a promotion touting the wonders of Burger King's new chicken nuggets. When the camera cuts back to the original scene, we see two bears wearing the hunters' clothes, smacking their lips, and saying "Tastes like chicken."

This was the first time I had ever heard this phrase, and when The Lion King came out in 1994, I naturally assumed they got that gag from the commercial. If the commercial originated the gag, then I am positive that The Lion King cemented it into popular culture.

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"Interested in fashion, Harmonica?"
"There were three dusters like these waiting for a train.
Inside the dusters were three men. Inside the men were
three bullets..."
--Once Upon A Time In The West

05-26-1999, 11:36 AM
Check out this web site, it certainly applies to this thread!
http://www.cnn.com/TRAVEL/PURSUITS/FOOD/9905/carnivore.ap/

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05-26-1999, 01:54 PM
Incredible... Quite a few people have claimed
to have eaten quite a few exotic critters and
I'm stunned that they still maintain they
taste like chicken... Perhaps some people
have more discerning taste buds than others,
but I suspect that many are less adventurous
than claimed...

I've tried hundreds of different animals
myself and can attest that the only one
I've tried that taste remotely like chicken
is... chicken! In fact, of all the animals
that I've eaten, the one that comes the
closest to matching another in terms of taste
(not texture) is ostrich which I felt tasted
like beef. (though I've never tried wild
ostrich - I suspect it may taste different)

I do believe that varmits within certain
classes have certain flavor characteristics
that are common witin the class, but
discernable from class-to-class. ie. I can
usually tell you if the meat I'm eating is
from a bird, a reptile, or a mammal.

Fish have hundreds of subclasses, so I won't
even go there...

Insects... limited experience...
tried fried grasshoppers - they were supposed
to taste like peanuts - they didn't. I've
eaten a few flying insects inadvertantly on
my motorcycle... most of them were kind of
sweet.

To the individual who thought that the
expression "taste like chicken" was "cemented
into popular culture" by the movie The Lion
King... and thought that MacDonalds invented
it... well, that's just silly - hopefully
you were trying to be silly!?

05-27-1999, 12:56 AM
<<I figure if you added some fruit and maybe some booze, they'd probably be pretty palatable>>

You'd have to add a lot of booze to get me to taste a grub, but the booze would have to be in me! My father-in-law watched some program on the Discovery Channel that showed some tribe eating a roasted tarantula. :::gag reflex at work::
He's gotten off on telling us that each time the "wierd food" discussion comes up.

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Carpe Diem!

05-27-1999, 03:33 AM
Just ask Uncle Bonsai ...

06-03-1999, 10:11 AM
>>This was the first time I had ever heard this phrase, and when The Lion King came out in 1994, I naturally assumed they got that gag from the commercial. If the commercial originated the gag, then I am positive that The Lion King cemented it into popular culture.>>

Umm, yeah. Never even heard this stuff before '94. Hell, chickens were only invented in '87.

06-19-1999, 01:00 AM
OHMY!! You are all young, aren't you?

I remember this phrase from my childhood in the 1960s, when it applied only to the claim that rats tasted like chicken. This started going around in the late sixties as a commentary on the idea that the urban poor and mentally ill would be forced to eat rats they caught themselves. Ever since that usage, which was common enough on the west coast during the late sixties/early seventies, I've assumed that the "tastes like chicken" was harkening back to that.

In fact, my family took on the joke by turning it around: when anyone asks what something tastes like (or an obnoxious child asks what's for dinner on too many times), someone invariably answers, "Oh! Tastes just like rat!" Hm... Maybe that's why none of my friends ever had dinner with us twice...

Hey, I still think it's kinda funny, especially when we're having chicken!

missyzilly
12-02-2012, 06:28 PM
If it tastes like chicken then why not just eat chicken?

running coach
12-02-2012, 06:30 PM
Do chicken brains taste like other brains?

Glazer
12-02-2012, 06:55 PM
Why no user names from the post from '99?

HoneyBadgerDC
12-02-2012, 07:16 PM
In the 1950's rabbit enoyed a suge of popularity in the supermarkets. We were always told it tasted like chicken. I have eaten quite a few reptiles and I put them between fish and chicken but not chicken. Gator and rattlesnake have some similarity to chicken.
Best meat I have eaten was mountain lion, similar to pork but much better taste and texture. Beaver looks delicious but to me tastes like crap, very strong meat.
As far as I am concerned for the most part chicken is hard to beat or duplicate.

the_diego
12-02-2012, 07:35 PM
Those small monitor lizards that catch frogs and small mammals have meat that's whiter, softer and milder than chicken. Just cook it well and watch for salmonella infection.

Joey P
12-02-2012, 07:39 PM
I saw this topic pop up and before I even opened it I figured it would be a zombie thread. But I just assumed someone was bumping it because of the recent Mythbusters episode. I guess I was only half right.

EmilyG
12-02-2012, 07:51 PM
Oldest zombie thread I ever saw! Can it win a prize?

mmm chicken

Digital is the new Analog
12-02-2012, 07:57 PM
Why no user names from the post from '99?

It happens on really old threads. In this case, it doesn't matter much, because all the posters really were chickens.


ETA: I think it has do do with a database switch. I'm sure someone wiser will be along to explain.

-D/a

Colibri
12-02-2012, 09:47 PM
Given that this thread is so old that the original usernames have disappeared, I'm going to close it.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator