A Tale of Two Chickens

Group 1:   Today, we are cooking two different chickens with completely different origins. One, short-legged, fat , and slightly square, comes from an unknown factory in America. The other, long-legged and lean, comes from the backyard of our instructor, Ms.Baker. These chickens have nothing in common except for the fact the they are chickens.  The differences between a homegrown chicken and the industrialized one are great.

Local, Free Range Chicken (Left) vs. Industrial Chicken (Right)

The home-bred one has been allowed to roam in a large area, and has been fed healthily with grass and chicken-feed, and also corn on cold winter nights. This makes the chicken leaner and long-legged.

The factory chicken had only eaten corn for two months before it was slaughtered for its tender meat. It has rarely been allowed to move to maximize the amount of meat on the bird. The lack of movement gives the chicken a larger breast and shorter legs.

There is a large difference between the taste and texture of the two chickens. The home-bred chicken, though leaner, was much less stringy and had a lot more taste to it. That is probably because of the healthy diet it ate with grass and a few different types of grain. The home-bred chicken also had some juices still in it. The store-bought chicken was much more stringy, and was pretty bland and tasteless, but there was also more of it.

This would bring up the question of what type of chicken should a person buy if they wanted chicken. Well, if you wanted more chicken to feed a larger group, you might want to buy one, maybe even two, store-bought chickens. But if you are a party of two or three, a home-bred chicken would do you just fine, and you would also get the delicious flavor. All in all, I liked both chickens, though I did like the home-bred chicken a little more.

Group 2:  There were many differences between the two chickens set before us on the counter. Firstly, one was free-range, and the other was an industrial chicken. You would almost have thought that they were two different species of birds. What people don’t know is that they practically are. The ways that industrial chickens are processed before they are put into stores seem disgusting. Firstly, chickens are bred and fed to grow so fat and weak that they no longer will be able to walk and barely move. By the time they are taken to the slaughter houses, the chickens would not be able to last much longer if they were left to live.

     The visual differences included the fact that the free-range chickens had longer, more muscular legs, versus the industrial chicken, which had perfectly poised stubby legs that folded right into the breast of the bird. The color of the two different birds were also very different; the industrial chicken had almost a yellow tint to it while the free-ranged chicken was white. The holes in the skin are still left on the free-range chicken where the feathers had previously been, but on the the other chicken, the skin is very smooth and appears to not have had any feathers whatsoever.
     The industrial chick had much different proportions: the breast was much fatter and full, by far surpassing the size of the free-range chick breast, though the actual sizes of the bird revealed that the free-range was larger as a whole. The free-range chicken was much more shapely: it had more angles and more points, and was more proportional in terms of the breast and legs.
     The free-range chicken had been slaughtered and had been left with the internal organs still inside and the neck, which is used for stock, still attached. Since the industrial bird had all of these parts in a small little bag, included in the chicken package, we also assumed that it had been drained of blood before being wrapped up and sent out. The difference between the amount of blood produced by the two birds was surprising, yet most Americans think nothing of the processing that their chicken must go through before it hits their table.
Group 3:
 

The previous question regarding chickens was related to which came first, the chicken or the egg. Technological advances have allowed the human race to directly manipulate the chicken to increase yield drastically. When juxtaposing a factory chicken with a homegrown chicken, the differences are drastic. The size and shape of the differing birds is the most obvious. The homegrown bird appears skinny, with long, well developed legs. It also has small breasts and wings, the more meat around the legs. The factory chicken is almost boxed shaped, with a large amount of meat everywhere. The bird is obese, only able to be living for two months before the overfed and caged birds become so large that their legs break under the weight of their own bodies. when comparing and contrasting the two birds, one begins to wonder if the new, more important question regarding the chicken is centered around the treatment of the birds, and which is healthier for human consumption.

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stock made from each chicken.

Considering Pies

Alex:

Since I was about 7 years old, I have been crazy about pecan pie. My mom made a pie every Christmas, and I am excited to try my hand at it. We have a limited amount of ingredients, so I doubt it will be anything fancy. This is something I worry about tomorrow’s apple pie, because it lacks molasses. However, a pie does not require numerous, fantastic ingredients to be tasty. My biggest worry with the pie is burning it because I never have been a particularly gifted baker, especially because pecan pie is filled with sugar and can easily crisp up and be ruined. I’m also concerned about proportions and making sure the pie isn’t overwhelmingly sweet or nutty. However, if we follow our plans and keep a careful eye on the pie while it is baking, success should not be too hard to grasp.

Thomas:

Making pies is easy, right? Well, making a pie is easy when you just make the filling and drop it into a frozen prepared pie crust. I’m confident that today’s pie fillings will come out nicely, but preparing crust from scratch seems much more difficult. After this, I would like to see if a homemade pie crust seems better than store-bought. Ingredients-wise, it’s probably better for you, but making the crust takes a great deal of time. Since the apple pie we are making today has a crust top, it should be worth the time to make the complete pie, but the pecan pie doesn’t need such a complex crust arrangement.

Luke:

When making pies, the most “American” pie would be the apple pie. The image that comes to mind is a old grandmother pulling a delicious smelling pie out of the oven and putting it on her windowsill. My expectations for the apple pie is just that. The perfect pie: its smell making your mouth water. For the pecan pie, I’m going to try it for my first time, which is exciting.

Considering Red Velvet Cake

Zeb

I wanted to make a cake because I am not very good at baking. I figured that if I wanted to learn how to bake, I should try something difficult so that it would be easy to make anything else. We had to go through a large disagreement about what to make. Apple Pie, Lemon Sorbet, and Pecan Pie all got shot down before we decided to bake something I’ve never had before. As a group, we decided to make a Red Velvet Cake. This sounded like a great idea, and I immediately agreed. Though there was some skepticism at first, Red Velvet Cake won through in the end. Hopefully this group decision will get us to work together better, as we have had trouble in the past.

Jenna

After constant feuding between our group about which desert to make, we could not reach an agreement. Pies, ice cream, clafouti, all of the options in the world but we couldn’t settle on anything. An idea was finally brought to our attention, something classic and delicious. We decided on a red velvet cake with homemade frosting. The main goal of this project is to have our cake come out as intended, rather than having another surprise like yesterday. We want to make sure to follow the recipe exactly and achieve the perfect red velvet cake. I’m hoping that doing a project that we agreed on unanimously will help bring our group together and make something that we will all enjoy.

Ryan

After lots of bickering and arguing our group finally came to a decision.  Red Velvet Cake is what we decided to make. Red Velvet Cake is not a dessert I’ve had before, nor have I made one. I always hear people talking about how good the cake is. The mystique surrounding this supposedly decadent dessert intrigued me enough to create the cake. In doing so I hope to learn to love baking, since currently I am not very fond of it as a whole.

Considering Cheesecake

Amory –
This is not may first and certainly not my last cheesecake. I fell in love with this delectable dessert on a trip to New York, where I tasted the richest and most delicious example in Grand Central Station. My experimentations and research have turned up a number of different ways to improve the baking process. This is a recipe I adapted off of a book I found in a local fair.
Anna –
Cheesecake is a wonderfully simple and delicious dessert. My mom used to make me cheesecake as a birthday cake when I went through my “I don’t like normal cake” phase. I love the graham cracker crust just as much as I like the cream cheese filling. There are not too many places to go wrong in cheesecake.

Kathryn-

Tomorrow as a group, we are making cheese cake with strawberry jelly on top. I personally have never made cheesecake. I am really excited to do something new and different. I hear that it is not too difficult and hopefully everything will work out well. Personally I love cheese cake especially covered in strawberries. I’m really excited about tomorrow and I cannot wait to see the end result.