Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A tale of two chickens

I sent B to a large supermarket (yes, that one, you know what I'm talking about but they're not paying me for this post (quelle surprise!) so I'm not giving them any free advertising) the other day to buy a chicken.

He fulfilled the task admirably, coming back with a lovely yellow, corn-fed, happy chicken that had lived its days merrily pecking in the dirt and probably having massages and  manicures for all I know.  The only problem was that he'd bought a chicken for six and I'd forgotten to mention that we were 11.

So I went out to the local supermarket (Haldanes. They're not paying me either, but given there's only one of them, they deserve the advertising) and bought another one.  There wasn't any option: it was chicken or chicken.  I got chicken.

Now, I know B had instinctively bought the super, friendly, happy, chicken, but then that's because that's the sort of thing we can do.  We are lucky enough to have sufficient disposable income to be able to pay just shy of £10 for a chicken because we are also woolly liberal enough to worry about whether our chicken has had a nice life before it gets decapitated and stuck in a hot oven with an onion up its bum.   I appreciate that there are lots of people who don't have the luxury of that choice and to be honest, I think I would have said the difference came more in how you felt about what you were eating than in what you were actually putting in your mouth.

It turns out I was wrong.

Here are the nutritional values of those two chickens: 

Look at the calories.  And the fat content.  And give yourselves no prizes for working out which one is which.


  1. I watched the HFW chicken thing on the TV and that really made me think. I only buy happy chicken. We would rather go without than buy any other type. A happy chicken goes further, there is more meat, better stock and the bones do not break up as much.

  2. I used to keep chickens and they were very happy little things too! It isn't always possible for me to buy happy chicks though, with the recent recession hitting high street solicitors and agents (our business), but looking at that evidence makes me feel queasy....

  3. I think your second chicken has had a happy life eating crisps.

  4. wow look at the difference in fat!

  5. how does that happen then? shouldn't a corn fed chicken be higher in fat? what did they feed the other one, burgers?

  6. Playing devils advocate here - the nutritional values are for a cooked bird. Does that suggest that one place expects you to roast their chicken differently to the other? Maybe the posh one expects you to use goose fat and the other one one of those oven bags....

  7. We're hoping to have happy chickens in our backyard in a year of 2, but I'm afraid I'll get too attached to eat them!

  8. Mad Mummy - you're absolutely right. I get a little glow of domestic goddessery when I manage to make a whole second or third meal out of the leftovers too!

    Diney - I know what you mean, that's why it shocked me so much too.

    Fiona - Roast chicken flavour, naturally....

    Ang - Quite! I was horrified actually. And they really did taste different too. But then it's hard to know how much of that is in your head after you know the info, isn't it?

    Kelloggsville - I like the idea of the burger-fed chicken! Or maybe just lard - then you could roast it from the inside out?!

    Mrs T - you under-estimate me! I did think of that, but given that when they give you the nutritional values for cereal they tell you what it is with milk, I'm sure if they were roasting it in butter or low-fat spread, they'd mention it...

    Texas Red - chickens in the back yard to eat? Wow! Eggs I'm tempted by, but I'm not sure I could do the other.


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