I used to like chicken. REALLY like it. When I was a kid, my grandfather used to chop its head off, and after watching it run in circles for a while, my grandmother would pluck it and fry it. That was the best chicken I ever tasted. Sure, the whole killing thing put me off somewhat, but the smell and luscious scrumptiousness of that true Southern fried chicken (with biscuits and gravy, no less) kicked my qualms right past the proverbial curb. I would make vows – which lasted up to dinnertime- never to eat chicken again. The smell always drew me in and seduced me anew. The crispy texture and taste sealed the deal.
Not so any more. Chicken STINKS!! Literally. I am hyper sensitive to smells and tastes – in this venue, I am like the canary in the coal mine – but the chicken of my childhood never stunk like this. Eggs of low quality also stink now, so the eggs I will consume are also limited to the most fresh, non- factory farmed varieties. I had actually stopped eating eggs until last week when I found a purveyor at the local farmers’ market. At $10.00 a dozen for the giant size, $7.00 for small. I got the giant and did not regret it. Forget the study I read recent;y which claimed eating 3 eggs a week was worse for the arteries than smoking cigarettes; though I have been eating lots of cheese, butter and eggs for years, my good cholesterol is so high my doctor took a retake and told me not to worry. That I am also very slim due to years of caloric restriction could have something to do with it – who knows? I eat what I like, but comparatively very little of it – less than 1,000 calories a day, usually, because I am also sensitive to the feeling of food in my stomach and can only tolerate small amounts at a time.
I think I can smell the disease and unsavory chemicals pumped into these poor birds – even before it is cooked.
The books I read, like the latest, “Eat, Drink and be Wary”, don’t reassure me either. According to these books, even the organic chicken products test positive for salmonella and other contaminants. Food borne illness is on the rise – barely a week passes without me hearing of a new outbreak. Not very reassuring.
Some people say I am over sensitive and even feel sorry for me, but, don’t – that I intuitively turn away from the increasingly unhealthy food our society has to offer may be the smartest thing we could all do. Because if we refuse to buy it, refuse to consume it, then maybe they would not so easily push it off on us. I am fortunate in that I have both access and education to feed myself well, but there are many more who do not, who are dying from heart disease,obesity, and diabetes. Who do not have access to quality food, nor the money to buy it – though I believe it is cheaper to eat well – just eat less of it and shop smart.
Nutrition and food are a passion of mine and will continue to be as long as there is anything to be discussed; and that may be for the rest of my life.