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  #51  
Old 09-24-2019, 07:29 AM
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I grew up in the 60s and 70s and don't specifically remember mom fixing a lot of chicken for dinner. Most times that we had chicken it was the occasional bucket of KFC. On the other hand, my folks had a freezer full of beef in the basement, which explains why beef was usually what was for dinner. (Cue "Hoedown"...)
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  #52  
Old 09-24-2019, 08:18 AM
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In terms of the amount of chicken being supplied - the poultry industry output has increased massively in the last 10 years to the extent that is supplies more meat than almost all of the rest of the meat industry put together.

I expect that this huge supply, perhaps oversupply is why chicken is so cheap.

I was talking to a guy who is a senior financial controller for a very large UK industrial food producer, trade, processor and supplier, and his comments were that although total meat production has increased, it has been dwarfed by the expansion of poultry - worth also mentioning that other poultry related products have increased massively - these products might not be quite what you imagine since they are used widely in other processes, not just human consumption - for example in pig and cattle feed and other industrial processes.

Where is it al coming from? Well you might imagine it has something to do with genetic modification - but that's only true in part in the feed used to produce chicken.

Here is a little info on world production, the largest percentage increase is from Latin America especially Brazil at around 6% per year whereas most of the rest of the world is less than 3% increase. Even though EU has moreorless doubled its production this is still a slightly smaller share of the market than in year 2000.
Interesting to note that Argentina has also increased chicken production hugely whilst the corresponding beef output has been fairly stagnant until very recently.


https://thepoultrysite.com/articles/...million-tonnes

Although this does not necessarily prove that chicken prices have fallen in real terms - since demand has increased and is projected to increase further, it does provide one part of the equation.

Wholesale prices fluctuated just like any commodity but there have been many warnings over the last few years that prices would increase, but these have largely not materialised
  #53  
Old 09-24-2019, 09:00 AM
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My paternal Grandparents had chicken houses. Some for meat and some laying houses. At their house it was fried chicken everyday, morning, noon and suppertime. Sometimes Granny did a roasted hen. Or chicken and dumplings (my fave) She canned chicken for the lean months.
I guess I don't have to tell you where all the chicken came from.
The supermarket!

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  #54  
Old 09-24-2019, 12:50 PM
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There was a time when steak was cheaper than chicken?
I wouldn't say steak as such... but certainly beef. I came from a large family in the heartland and we bought plucked and gutted frozen chickens in a plastic bag from Mennonites $2-3 each. Organic, local, fresh, free range. We'd buy 3-4 dozen at a time when they stop at our house.
But we also bought 1-2 4H cattle per year, that would be processed at the local locker. And we'd 95% of it as hamburger meat (as discussed above by AHunter3). And our standard dinner used 3+ lbs. of beef per night. Chicken was always more of a sometimes meal.
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Old 09-24-2019, 01:16 PM
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It’s prevalent in Europe, but rare in America. Because Americans are fussy, prissy, squeamish pussies. “Oooooo, I can’t eat Bugs Bunny!!!!”

Neither do Americans eat much lamb, or duck or goose, or game or game birds, or offal. Because Americans are fussy, prissy, squeamish pussies.
And prior to WWII wasn't eating horse meat at least somewhat common? The Wikipedia article on horse meat makes no mention of it ever being eaten in the US, although it discusses its use in the cuisine of many European countries. I would expect that many immigrants from these countries would have continued eating it after arriving in the US. It does mention it being used in dog food in the US prior the the 1960s.

Years ago some of my neighbors had a big banner hanging on their garage door that read "Obama legalized horse slaughter!", which presumably they considered a bad thing.
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:29 PM
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In the US, especially in frontier days in the west, a horse was more valuable as a beast of burden and as transportation than as food, so a cultural taboo developed regarding eating them. Or that would be my guess.

Certainly, in desperate times people did eat horse meat, but it was seen as a last resort.

It's perhaps somewhat like the ban on eating cows in India, where their use as dairy animal and beast of burden far outweighed their value as food animals, so a taboo regarding eating them arose.

In both cases there were probably additional factors at work, too.
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Old 09-24-2019, 06:35 PM
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In the US, especially in frontier days in the west, a horse was more valuable as a beast of burden and as transportation than as food, so a cultural taboo developed regarding eating them. Or that would be my guess.

Certainly, in desperate times people did eat horse meat, but it was seen as a last resort.

It's perhaps somewhat like the ban on eating cows in India, where their use as dairy animal and beast of burden far outweighed their value as food animals, so a taboo regarding eating them arose.

In both cases there were probably additional factors at work, too.
My mother tells me that in the 40's, horsemeat was a common substitute for beef. She says she cooked a lot of it for my father. So, in California, it was pretty common and definitely not taboo.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:15 PM
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My mother tells me that in the 40's, horsemeat was a common substitute for beef. She says she cooked a lot of it for my father. So, in California, it was pretty common and definitely not taboo.
This might have had something to do with the wartime rationing of beef.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:18 PM
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I recall having horse meat in the late 70's in Michigan. This was brought to a camp-out by some hispanic friends.

And I also recall seeing horse meat butcher shops in Paris recently.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:55 PM
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And I also recall seeing horse meat butcher shops in Paris recently.
There have been horsemeat butcher shops in Paris since the 1869 Prussian blockade.

The French are not squeamish about horsemeat. Which horrifies the Brits, who adore their horses.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:14 PM
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The French are not squeamish about horsemeat. Which horrifies the Brits, who adore their horses.
The French adore their horses too. Preferably with sauce béarnaise.
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:43 PM
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Doc Severinsen was (and presumably still is) an aficionado of horsemeat. He once brought a horsemeat hamburger onto The Tonight Show for Johnny Carson to try.

Carson said the only difference he could tell between horsemeat and beef was that horsemeat was a little bit sweeter.
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:54 PM
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Born in 61 and remember chicken as being a standard staple in all of the households I was aware of. Midwest so maybe other areas were different.
  #64  
Old 09-25-2019, 12:58 AM
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We got fed City Chicken on a regular basis when I was a Cleveland kid in the 1960s. Hated it; mom stuck it in the oven and it came out dry as the Kalahari. She never seemed to season it, either.

In those days it was made out of VEAL. Wrap your head around THAT.

We never had chicken because my father hated it. He’s the only non-vegetarian I’ve ever known who didn’t like chicken.
In the 70's to early 80's in Pittsburgh, city chicken was chunks of pork alternated with chunks of veal on a skewer, breaded and fried in a pan. As time went by, it changed to pork only, due to costs, I suppose.
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:27 AM
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In the 70's to early 80's in Pittsburgh, city chicken was chunks of pork alternated with chunks of veal on a skewer, breaded and fried in a pan. As time went by, it changed to pork only, due to costs, I suppose.
In Minnesota, it was ground veal, breaded and on sticks, like pronto pups. As noted above, it was tasty when deep-fried.
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  #66  
Old 09-25-2019, 05:24 PM
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Really? Here in the Chicago area I always heard that "city chicken" was pigeon.
I lived in Pittsburgh for several years (1980s) and City Chicken was common and always pork.

During the Depression though, who knows what went in there?
  #67  
Old 09-26-2019, 09:40 AM
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"A chicken in every pot" was a 1928 campaign slogan during Herbert Hoover's presidential campaign.

From here
Correct. There is a well known recipe from the original King Henry IV (the Good One, as he was known)
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  #68  
Old 09-26-2019, 10:44 AM
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I lived in Pittsburgh for several years (1980s) and City Chicken was common and always pork.

During the Depression though, who knows what went in there?
I've never had city chicken, but from old cookbooks I have, I do know it as the mock chicken dish made from veal, as Ukulele Ike mentions. Which, to me, seems really crazy in this day and age and comparative prices.
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Old 09-26-2019, 04:20 PM
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Here's the thing - in the bad old days when dairies were small and often local the cows had to be bred every year to keep producing milk, and 50% of those calves (being pre-artificial insemination/sperm sorting times) were males, which were largely useless, and probably they didn't need all the females, either. These days, a dairy cow lives about 5-6 years (then they're culled - absent such a premature death they can live up to 20 years) but in the old days they might have been kept longer and, assuming pregnancy/calving every one-to-two years you'd wind up with a cow giving birth to a half dozen or maybe even a dozen calves instead of just one replacement so... lots of extra calves. Which, even at birth, are larger than chickens. And you gotta do something with those extra calves, and feeding them is a cost, so....

... that's how we got veal. Extra, unwanted, unneeded calves but you wouldn't want that much meat to go to waste, but when you slaughter a calf that's quite a bit of meat so you need to do something with it quickly, and at the same time there'll be a lot of other veal calves being slaughtered so you'll have a glut, which drives the value down.

Meanwhile, a laying hen these days lives maybe 2 years before being culled. Maybe in the old days you'd get 3-4 years if you didn't mind a fall-off in number of eggs, but thing is, there are no surplus eggs/chickens in the sense of being unwanted/unneeded. Humans will happily eat all the eggs produced, and to replace any old/deceased hens you just hatch a few eggs out instead of snatching them early. A good laying hen is valuable, and everything she produces is valuable. But chickens don't weigh that much. You can keep 'em around, slaughter one or two as needed, feed the rest on scraps and let 'em root for bugs on their own. You can avoid a glut of chicken meat that needs to be used up quickly. Chickens lay eggs all year long, so you can incubate and hatch new ones more or less as needed instead of having annual gluts - unlike cows, which all tend to calve around the same time.

So you'll have fewer "surplus" chickens, given that so many potential chickens will be eaten as eggs. I could see a good laying hen being worth more in some ways than an unneeded veal calf.

These days, though, we produce so many eggs and chickens that individuals are no longer precious. Meanwhile, thanks to modern artificial reproduction, the only time a dairy cow is going to produce a bull might be when the farmer decides he needs a new bull, all the other dairy calves might well be female and therefore more likely to be retained as part of the future dairy herd. Even those slated for the dinner table, though, are fed and allowed to grow for 6-8 months to produce the maximum amount of veal-like meat per animal so, unlike in the past, those animals actually have value and the cost of sustaining them for half a year is now incorporated into their price tag, which increases the cost to the consumer. We can also keep meat safely for a lot longer than a 150-200 years ago, so when all those "extra" calves are slaughtered the meat doesn't have to be sold immediately, which avoid seasonal gluts and also helps sustain the price of veal in a steady manner.
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Old 09-26-2019, 04:34 PM
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It also doesn't help when the public gets a hair up and decides you shouldn't cure sick chickens with medicine and you have to slaughter and burn somewhere between 500,000 and 2 million a year worldwide because of bird flu and other illnesses .. which ended a glut on the poultry market a few years back
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Old 09-26-2019, 04:37 PM
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inspired by comments in the "American food in an ethnic restaurant thread" https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...d.php?t=882468

I was born in the late 70s and remember until I was about 8 or 9 that chicken for dinner was a rare "Sunday dinner" occurrence (it was usually a whole stuffed chicken with au gratin potatoes and fancy frozen vegetables with biscuits" and usually pie

fried chicken was for special occasions like birthdays church picnics reunions ect or when someone brought KFC or pioneer home (lees famous in Indiana) because chicken was almost more expensive than steak


I know at some point chicken became so cheap that they couldn't give it away and instead of "yay!chicken!" it became "chicken again really?" but when and why?
I was born in 1961 and can never remember a time when beef steak was cheaper than chicken. If it had been, we would have had steak regularly. In the early to mid 70s, cheap chicken led to the dreadful abomination that is the chicken frank. The taste wasn't much worse than cheaper brands of franks, but the texture was rubbery.
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Old 09-27-2019, 01:59 PM
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I saw a list somewhere claiming fried chicken was the single most common meal during the 1970s. While I have no idea if this is actually true, many family meals included Shake & Bake and rotisserie chicken.

I suspect chicken was always relatively available to the middle class after the 1920s, except when depressions supervened.
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:35 PM
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We got fed City Chicken on a regular basis when I was a Cleveland kid in the 1960s. Hated it; mom stuck it in the oven and it came out dry as the Kalahari. She never seemed to season it, either.

In those days it was made out of VEAL. Wrap your head around THAT.

If your city chicken was dry, your mom wasn't cooking it right. My mom used alternating cubes of pork and veal and then browned it in oil before putting it in the oven to bake.

The other local dish cooked on skewers, spiedies, was originally lamb or beef, but is now mostly chicken with some pork.

When did James Garner start doing those "Beef. It's what's for dinner." commercials? That would probably be a good indicator of when chicken became the main meat. Why make those ads otherwise? The same thing with those pork commercials pushing "the other white meat".

I'm too old to remember, but in the early 70s, there was a big price in the spike of beef that led to Nixon trying to put price controls in place. That probably got a bunch of people to switch from beef to cheaper chicken.
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Old 09-27-2019, 11:31 PM
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We never had chicken because my father hated it. He’s the only non-vegetarian I’ve ever known who didn’t like chicken.
My husband pretty much refused to eat poultry in general when younger. In recent years, he's developed more of a tolerance for chicken, but still doesn't care for turkey. His preferred meat is ground beef.
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Old 09-28-2019, 12:42 AM
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Eating rabbit was far more common than it is today, though the animals seem to be making a comeback. I see them often in supermarkets in both Canada and Russia.
Rabbit is a common meat in much of Europe; there are recipes for which rabbit is more popular than chicken, others where rabbit is more popular (it stands stewing better than chicken), others that can be used with both if maybe a little tweaked (roasted rabbit can end up too dry on the legs if you're not careful), and even some which use both together. To me it seems as if it's the US that tends to be the outlier when it comes to food.
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  #76  
Old 09-28-2019, 01:14 AM
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Rabbit is a common meat in much of Europe; there are recipes for which rabbit is more popular than chicken, others where rabbit is more popular (it stands stewing better than chicken), others that can be used with both if maybe a little tweaked (roasted rabbit can end up too dry on the legs if you're not careful), and even some which use both together. To me it seems as if it's the US that tends to be the outlier when it comes to food.
I was watching a show on Italian cooking Friday night, in which the old dude with the English accent stewed rabbit in a sauce with vine-ripe tomatoes and lots of olive oil. It looked yummy!
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Old 09-28-2019, 04:04 AM
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my foster parents raised rabbits for meat ... I miss southern fried rabbit

i had a crash course in skinning and butchering one day .....foster mom was away for the weekend So foster dad said well we can have chicken on Saturday and ill fry us up some rabbit for after church on Sunday


me and bro were like yay!....... so we wen tout to feed said rabbits and chickens and were playing with them like little kids do but there was one specific chicken i didn't like and she was nice and plump and she pecked me for the last time ...he walked us over and had us dig a hole ...then we boiled a huge pot of water ....

I asked " what's all this gotta do with getting dinner .... he just said "patience boy" he grabbed evil chicken flopped it on a stump whacked its head off let it run around then picked it up plopped it in the water handed me a pair of needle-nose pliers and said put the feathers in the hole ......

And he brought over the older rabbit that was separated for trying to kill its offspring and he hung it by the leg from a noose and bopped it twice with a length of pipe over a bucket he took a knife and slit it open innards went in the bucket and I retched and fainted cause ..well barf ..

after I picked up myself offa the ground he kept I think the liver heart and something else for gravy (it was yummy) handed me the bucket and pointed to the hole where the chicken remains we weren't eating went in and I started filling the hole as he went to find my 5-year-old brother who was having a fit about we killed the bunny.........


after that we were jaded about such things because wed had that scenario a dozen times...i hated plucking chickens tho .......

Last edited by nightshadea; 09-28-2019 at 04:08 AM.
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Old 09-28-2019, 04:36 AM
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Born in 1960 (Australia) and chicken was indeed a very special meal, reserved for Xmas day and sometimes, if the family was flush, for a Sunday roast. The most common meal was lamb (chops or roast) as lamb was cheap and plentiful.

Nowadays it's the other way around, and you virtually need to take out a second mortgage to buy a leg of lamb or even some decent loin chops, whereas chicken is cheap and more versatile.

As to WHEN it happened? I'm thinking late 1970's, early 80's here in Australia.
My experience in New Zealand matches this exactly. One of those cultural touchstones the two countries share, I guess.
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Old 09-28-2019, 09:54 AM
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There was a time when steak was cheaper than chicken?
You can find old cookbooks from the late 19th and early 20th century with recipes for disguising veal as chicken. Chickens were more valued for their ability to lay many eggs over their lifetime than they were for their meat which you could only eat once. Fried chicken, which is made from a young hen, was something of a luxury item. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise started in 1952 so I would imagine by then chicken was fairly common.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:31 PM
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We made city chicken from veal in Cleveland in the ‘60s. I don’t remember it as being either "cheap eats" or a luxury; it was more of a novelty when it occurred to us we hadn’t had it in a while. Hey, let’s have city chicken!
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