SHOULD you be able to cut chicken with a fork?

So I was at a press conference re: humane hog farming yesterday, and Bobby Kennedy Jr. spoke. In addition to the pollution and cruelty issues of factory farming, he brought up the quality of the meat itself, saying: “You know, we forget that you aren’t SUPPOSED to be able to cut chicken with a fork. It should have some texture … not be some sort of sponge.”

Is this true? Obviously the statement has to be qualified in terms of how it’s cooked, etc. (I can cut most meats with a fork if they’ve been cooked long enough; i.e.–beef stew.) But let’s say for your average grilled/sauteed chicken breast. Should we have to (that is, did they back in “the old days”) use a knife to take it apart, as we do with a similarly-cooked pork chop or steak? Or, chicken being chicken, was it always possible to separate the meat into bite-size pieces using just the edge of your fork?

I’ve eaten a lot of free-range chicken raised by campesinos in the Panamanian back country, usually stewed but sometimes fried. It’s usually pretty stringy, including the breast meat. Although I’ve usually eaten it off the bone, I imagine it would be pretty hard to cut with a fork if you fileted and sauted it. If you stew it long enough, it’s softer but still stringy.

Generally, the sauteed or fried chicken I’ve always had CANNOT be cut with a fork, unless you really, really try. That said, if it’s boiled or roasted until its falling off the bone then, yeah, a fork’ll do. But I cannot remember a time where I’ve been able to eat fried chicken breast without the use of a knife (or my fingers.)

If you really try, you might be able to cut it on the grain, but against the grain, no.

Maybe what he really meant was “Back in the good old days, when people were taught to use a knife and fork at table, we didn’t have any of these sissy marshmallow chickens that have led to the recent decline in table manners…”