Friday, November 25, 2005

Organic, Free Range…

Although in theory I’ve always been completely in favor of the idea of free range anything (although we’re usually talking about chickens here…), the only free range product I ever bought was free range eggs. I think that means the chickens that laid them were allowed to range free outside the proverbial coop.

Not that I was satisfied with my chicken. In fact, I’ve been hovering on the edge of giving up chicken altogether because it’s usually so tasteless. And when I get really ambitious (as in – I have a dinner party) I buy kosher chicken because it’s usually a tad better, at least it doesn’t have all that nondescript chicken fat that I wholeheartedly dislike. So why didn’t I try free range chicken? Because the free range eggs didn’t seem to taste any better than regular eggs, so I didn’t hold much hope for the chickens that laid them.

Until, that is, last week, when out of necessity I bought an organic, free range chicken at Trader Joe’s. I needed it to make chicken broth, the first ingredient in my annual thanksgiving butternut squash soup, and this was the only boiling chicken they had.

Well, the difference between it and virtually any chicken I’ve ever tasted was extraordinary. None of that (to me) repellant chicken fat, and breast meat that for a change had somewhat more flavor than cardboard, and a somewhat darker color than milk. I’m not claiming that it competes with marbled beef, but still, a huge improvement over regular chicken.

Which means that from now on I can enjoy my chicken more, feel a little more ethically ok, and have a somewhat emptier wallet…


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