The Adventure of Fried Chicken

October 25, 2012

Posted by Kanga.

As a young child, my first anatomy lessons came at the kitchen sink as I watched my mother cut up the chickens we raised on our farm. I would point at organs and ask “what is that?” and “what does it do?” Once the organs were extracted and sorted out (edible and non-edible) she had a very specific and methodical way of cutting up the chicken for frying. It was very similar to this:

How to cut up a chicken per Gourmet Sleuth

with the addition of cutting out the wishbone and taking out the breast bone and sternum before cutting the breasts apart. There was also a very specific way of arranging the chicken in the cast iron frying pan so that it would all fit. The cutting method makes for very easily identified pieces once cooked and served. You knew if you were getting a thigh or a breast.

This is apparently a very Western thing. In the East, it is all about a sharp meat cleaver and the cutting up is rather random. It certainly isn’t limited to separating the pieces neatly at the joints. Any and all bones may be chopped in mid shaft. This results in a guessing game as to what you are getting and the proliferation of bone shards. You might even end up with all joints and no meat.

I miss the logical, methodical, industrial revolution way of cutting up chicken. I also miss the wishbone. How does any one get their wishes around here?



  1. Your Mother needed those directions every time she jointed a chicken?
    I do agree with you about chicken dissection in ME, especially in the type of restaurants I use, however the portions I receive are nearly always similar, so possibly we just need to swing our culinary minds away from our former cultures!

  2. I think (with absolutely no research) that a chicken cooked over an open fire — a most ancient type of cooking — would naturally pull apart at the joints so the clever method is “newer.” When I eat in other countries I just appreciate recognizing the meat — chicken is chicken the whole world round. I understand the nostalgia and I pray that you aren’t hurt by the “the proliferation of bone shards.”

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