Ode to Chicken in All its Forms
By – Ian Quinlan
While the rest of the world considers investing in presumably useful fields such as water reclamation and sustainable farming techniques, I walk a lonely path and look back to our collective pasts for answers to the future – the future of food. In all of my exhaustive research spanning the last five minutes, I have deduced that one singular animal alone is responsible for, and has been a tangible force present during, all major paradigm shifts regarding Good Eats since the Bronze Age.
The humble chicken: one species, hundreds of breeds. From the fable of Chanticleer and Renard – the Middle Ages equivalent of Batman versus the Joker (but actually good) – to celebrated kitchen decoration of Middle-Aged housewives, the versatile and terrifying visage of the chicken spans generations and dinner tables the world over. A central staple of your mothers’ cooking, chicken is best known for its array of flavors both subtle and bold. Summarily describing the taste of chicken by one self-identified connoisseur as “like chicken,” this Tuna of the Earth has the uncanny ability when cooked to change colors in order to better camouflage itself around pastas and salads. A slow metamorphosis from pink to charred black ensures the chicken meat has a chance to hide itself in its preys’ favorite foods, and in so being consumed guarantees the bird a chance to spread its spores and begin life anew. Beginning its life cycle as a nymph, the chicken spawn will slowly lose its gills over the course of adolescence and opts instead to grow wings – vestigial limbs that serve no purpose, but which scientists theorize once allowed the bird to swim in shallow river beds and marshes. Thankfully this adaptation, while useless to the chicken, is considered to be a delicacy and favored amongst proponents of chicken. Indeed, most if not all aspects of a chicken’s body render it unfit for life in the Serengeti – its short and thin legs do not allow it to give chase to larger, more docile prey. It has two beady black eyes on either side of its tiny head, which make it ill-suited to see in three-dimensions and thus ineligible for most feature films utilizing 3-D glasses. The feathers of a chicken suggest that at one point this bird might have lived closer to humans in an rural environment, used perhaps as a substitute for synthetic foams or padding in pillows, yet the cruel passage of time and subsequent changes in the environment forced it into more arid, desirable locales such as volcanoes and the surface of Venus. This handily explains why modern chickens are so commonplace amongst stovetops and the inside of ovens.
Rumored to be the disparaged descendants of dinosaurs, chickens nowadays have lost all dignity, respect, and incisors; how then can such a helpless and alien creature be the inspiration behind human technological advancements and cultural renaissances since time immemorial? A recent internet poll conducted between Dell Inspiron 1545 users 22-23 years of age living in the Athens Area on Saturday and who do not currently attend football games reveals that chicken almost certainly was consumed at some point during the lives of literally everybody. Ipso facto I cannot redact-o: chicken not only invented tennis shoes, but it may have also invented its own recipes.
What is more, a 1535 manned mission to the Sun revealed that along with Hydrogen and Helium atoms composing the majority of matter inherent in stars, trace amounts of elements – the same elements which can be found in chicken – also are created during the process of fusion. In fact, chicken shares anywhere from 1-100% of DNA with other creatures on Earth including seaweed, pebbles, and other chickens. This smoking gun led renowned atheist and two-times divorced evolutionary technician Richard Dawkins to theorize that all life must have originated from chicken, prompting the famous “which came first” philosophical and ethical conundrum.
While you may not have been aware of the storied history of Gallus gallus domesticus, you almost certainly have heard of its fabled healing powers.
“I have a glass of chicken at least three times a day,” Space Yeti Café contributor Ian Quinlan wrote, in his most recent and only write-in to his own article. “My heart is screaming and my degree has got me nowhere, but I’m still alive, so chicken is definitely responsible for getting me through these hard times.”
“We have to be careful of wonder claims such as these,” chicken expert Ian Quinlan (no relation) warned in deference to the previous attribution. “Chicken isn’t some kind of miracle beverage, you can’t expect to just have a sip every day and get the full benefits – you still need to incorporate exercise and other chicken products such as nuggets or sausage into your diet in order to see real change. Even imitation chicken products such as turkey or pheasant can help in a pinch, but nothing beats the real deal.”
Chicken chicken chicken, chicken chicken chicken chicken. Chicken chicken? Chicken; Chicken chicken, chicken- chicken chicken.
1. Marinate the chicken: In a medium bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the chicken and stir gently to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
2. Prepare the sauce: In another bowl, combine the black vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, and Sichuan pepper. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved and set aside.
3. You may need to turn on your stove’s exhaust fan, because stir-frying dried chilies on high heat can get a little smoky. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the base. Add the chilies and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, or until the chilies have just begun to blacken and the oil is slightly fragrant. Add the chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add the scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Pour in the sauce and mix to coat the other ingredients. Stir in the peanuts and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle the scallion greens on top, and serve.*
*Chicken chicken chicken