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June 24, 2020
Chicken Has a Lot to Say

Chicken has been on our minds as of late, and not only because of Cathy Erway’s latest story about her family’s two chicken marinades, as part of her probing and colorfully reported “Know Your Chicken” column. Another highlight includes her look at the chicken industry’s struggles to get grocery shoppers excited about drumsticks. We’ve been thinking about chicken a lot because it’s an entry point to a multitude of home kitchens around the world. Wings and bone-in thighs may be the first thing some of us reach for at the grocery store during grilling season, but chicken is also a lens through which to look at new ingredients and techniques entering our vocabulary, read stories of immigration and assimilation, and even tap into American consumer habits.

Looking back at all of the ways we’ve written about chicken over the past three-plus years of TASTE, it strikes me how much can be learned from these stories. These stories stick, and not just to “fast dinner tonight” boards on Pinterest. Nik Sharma recalls moving from India to Cincinnati and borrowing elements from a local Italian restaurant when marinating a full roaster in a pesto-inspired chutney including arugula, serrano, lime, garlic, and coriander seeds. Tammie Teclemariam writes about livers as a binary of misery and luxury, yet when chicken livers are fried with a perfect golden crust, they negotiate a “practical compromise.” Yasmin Fahr debates whether to wash, or not to wash, raw chicken, and Priya Krishna wonders whether to yogurt, or not to yogurt, your bird bound for the grill. Nneka M. Okona recently wrote about country captain, a chicken curry cooking around America’s lowcountry, and how it’s been given an update between two slices of bread.

I’ve taken away so much from these chicken stories, and even more when pitching in on the edits for Cathy’s forthcoming cookbook, Sheet Pan Chicken, out this September with Ten Speed Press. You can preorder it now. The tremendously thoughtful book features 50 delicious chicken recipes from around the world and further proves, through the writing and deeply researched recipes, that chicken has a lot to say. Here are some of our favorite stories and recipes to read and bookmark. –Matt Rodbard