Monday, November 5, 2012

How The Chicken Conquered the World - Smithsonian Magazine                                      Tim O'Brien
Chickens aren't chicken "little", that's for sure. In this enlightening articleHow the Chicken Conquered the WorldJerry Adler and Andrew Lawler discuss the importance of chickens throughout history. Although the article topically swerves around the page a bit, the writers included a vast amount of information. Chicken history is so long and entertaining that it must have been difficult to cull out and lineally represent its many facets.

Here is a recap of some of the highlights of the article:

-   According to archaeologists, chickens were first domesticated for cockfighting, not eating.

-  The chicken has inspired culture, art, cuisine, science and religion for over 1,000 years.

-  The hen is a symbol of nurturance and fertility.

-  Eggs hung in Egyptian temples were supposed to insure a "bountiful river flood."

- The rooster is a sign of virility and is considered to be a heralder of the turning point
   between darkness and light. (See Chicken Women's former post, Harbingers of the Sun).

-  Chickens accompanied Roman troops during wartime and were considered fortunetellers.
    A chicken's good appetite before battle foretold a likely victory.

-  Pope Nicholas I decreed that a rooster figure should be placed on every church roof as a
   reminder of Peter denying Jesus "before the cock crows." That's why many churches have
   rooster-shaped weather vanes on their roofs.

-  An artistic rendering in a first century A.D. mosaic in a house in Pompeii depicts a

-  The chicken came from the Gallus gallus or Red Junglefowl, as theorized by Charles
   Darwin and recently proven by DNA analysis.

-  In 2004, the complete genome of the chicken was mapped by international geneticists.

- The chicken was the first domesticated animal, first bird, and first descendant of the
  dinosaur. It probably began in the Indus Valley. (See Chicken Women's former
  post, The Distinction of Extinction.)

- Egyptians mastered the art of artificial chicken incubation.

- Chickens were a Roman delicacy, including mashed chicken brains.

- A Roman law in 161B.C. limited chicken consumption to one (1) per day.

- Roman cooks discovered that castrated roosters became fat--thus, the capon.

- European chicken status collapsed with the fall of the Roman Empire.

- Some archaeologists believe that Polynesians brought chickens to the Pacific coast of the
  New World.

- Greenfire Farms in Florida sells very exotic and heritage breeds.

- Since 1987 when Kentucky Fried Chicken opened the first KFC in Beijing, 3,000 KFC's
  have been founded in China. KFC is now more profitable in China than the United States.

All these yummy facts are making me hungry, for eggs that is, not chicken. Although after looking at the Greenfire Farms website, I may just have to order another chick or two.

No comments:

Post a Comment