Tastes Like Chicken

Pounded-Chicken-BreastsSince food became business for me, I don’t cook for my family nearly as much as I used to. I do miss it, but I just don’t have as much down time as I used to. A few days ago, I did get the opportunity to cook and something happened that stuck with me. It really shook my cage actually, so I thought I’d share. I was in the mood for Mediterranean. Chicken sautéed in a nice, spicy tomato sauce along with Lemon Cilantro Couscous that I added some sautéed green beans and yellow squash to. It was fantastic if I may say so myself but something happened on the way to preparing my chicken breasts.

When it comes to boneless chicken breasts, I’m a pounder. Bottom line. I don’t care for giant, plump breasts that look like softballs. I like to pound them out thin before I cook them. Not always, but usually. I can be picky with my chicken breasts as well. There are some brands out there I won’t touch. They taste like rubber. They don’t taste like anything. If for some reason my wife buys them, I won’t eat them. They’ll sit in the freezer for weeks or months until someone else does something with them because I won’t. But back to my Mediterranean feast.

My wife tells me she has been trying to purchase “Antibiotic and Steroid Free” chicken when it is on sale. It is still more expensive than your regular buys at the grocery store, but it’s cheaper than $7 a pound. She bought these chicken breasts at one of Savannah’s high end grocery chains. So I dig them out and started pounding like I always do. They were huge. You know that feeling you get when you’ve done something so many times you just know how long it takes to finish without even paying attention? That’s me pounding chicken breasts. I’ve pounded some chicken we’ve had quite a bit and still struggled to get them to where I like them. By the time I lifted up the wax paper with these to see how far I had to go, I noticed I had obliterated one. That didn’t make sense to me. It usually takes much longer. But these chicken breasts were lighter, had better color and pounded out in about 15 seconds. As easy a job as I can remember in years, seriously. So where am I going with all of this?

As I write this, it’s now two days after that meal and I’m still wondering why some chicken breasts are so unbelievably hard to flatten out while those from the other night felt fresh and easy. I’m not a scientist. I’m not as well versed on organic and “healthier” options for food as some people might be, but I am a curious consumer. Because of what I do for a living, maybe a little more-so.

My household doesn’t buy or eat organic all the time. We can’t afford it. It can be extremely pricey. $6 gallons of milk and $5 dozen eggs will light you up pretty quickly, so I’m not about to try to convince anyone to go that route. We drink regular 2% milk like everyone else. I have friends who have slowly made the switch to almond milk. There’s a lot of bad out there and there are plenty of resources that have taken the time to show you where a good bit of that bad is. I recently read an article that Tilapia is worse for you than bacon because the fish is raised in farms in Asia and it’s fed feces to fatten them up. Yet, how many people will opt for a fish dish because it is “better for you”.

Ok, off the soap box. I’m not an advocate for anything other than awareness. Your family is likely going to buy, cook and eat what they can afford. An occasional splurge of course, but for the most part we are who we are. That doesn’t mean you can’t make some wise choices here and there, especially if you know it is better for you and won’t break the bank.

Does anyone remember talk about GMOs in the 70s? If I recall, when I was a kid, the big thing to debate was the dangers of smoking. We know how that turned out. Regulation of advertising, cigarettes on TV and the whole nine yards. To this day, it’s kind of strange to see an old Johnny Carson show with one of his guests lighting up. Or a cigarette in an ash tray. Once upon a time everyone smoked and it made you look cool. I can’t help but wonder where our food sources will be 20-30-40 years from now if enough people stand up to what is becoming more and more of a social issue as time goes by.

See you on TV.


Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.