August 2013
On the Edge of Common Sense

Boneless Chicken

KFC, formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken, is one of a handful of fast food pioneers that changed the world’s eating habits. For over 60 years, they have staked a claim on the cheapest meat commodity you can buy.

The chicken my children grew up on is vastly different from the chicken I ate as a boy. Both are equally nutritious, yet the new chicken is so much more convenient. I can remember cutting up the whole chicken and fighting over the parts! Nowadays, eating a box of chicken nuggets is as simple as sticking coins in a soda pop machine.

KFC has now announced a new plan to make all their chicken boneless! I guess I assumed it was going to anyway. Their surveys show 60 percent prefer it that way. The holdout is the popular "Big Bucket" with real pieces of the carcass, bone-in.

There’s a mind switch when I hear "boneless chicken." I’m reminded of the cartoonist Gary Larson’s drawings of limp chickens lying about the barnyard. But if the market goes completely boneless, I can see poultry breeders embarking on a course of eliminating as many bones as possible from the live chicken. For instance, why do chickens have wings? They are as useless as arms on a Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Another tack would be inventing an invertebrate chicken. It could have an exoskeleton such as lobsters or big beetles. Or they could be planted like oysters in a shell or barnacles on a pier. How ‘bout chicken meat in a shell like a five-pound egg? Basically an egg with a head. Easy to feed, easy to gather, easy to entertain. Or possibly a genetic combination of hen and fruit … all natural. Imagine boneless chicken you could peel like a banana! We already have chick peas, Chiclets chewing gum, chicken fried steak, Chicken of the Sea and Rooster Cogburn … why not chickmelon? The possibilities are endless.

It’s been a long time since I had fried chicken like Aunt Effie used to make. She used Crisco. I liked the heart and "second joint," as Mother called it. It had a flavor of its own. Now it seems chicken tastes like whatever you put on it such as feathered tofu.

Well, good luck KFC. As I’ve always said, "I eat all the eggs I can, it’s one less chicken I have to contend with!"

Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television and also through his books, cds, videos and website,