—Gather round, kids. Here’s something from the olden days, before the invention of chicken wings, when everything was uphill and five miles away. Before the invention of kilometres even, and water bottles, when people used to hold glasses right under the tap. Yeah, the tap. That thing you use when the dishwasher’s not working. That tap.
But back to the wings.
Used to be you only got two. You bought a chicken, you got two wings. Unless you come from a family like mine where both you and your sister like wings, then you got one. (Or if your mum bought grade B chickens [essentially henhouse fight survivors], that often had no wings, or just a sad little chewed up one.) But by god, you were happy to have it. How you savoured that wing! Made it last for hours. Nobody complained in these days of yore. Nary a whine about all the hills or the perpetual wind or locusts or snow as high as houses, and certainly no whingeing about only ever having one crummy wing on your plate. No one even knew it was possible to have more. What? There’s some kind of magic chicken out there that grows dozens of wings?? HaHaHa, the people of yore would have loved that joke.
Seems to me it wasn’t until the early eighties that chicken wings were invented. At least that’s when I remember seeing them. Maybe late seventies.
They appeared suddenly in restaurants and take-out places— and in butcher shops and grocery stores their price shot up. They were no long bones with a bit of meat on them good for making soup…. they were bones with a bit of meat on them that were perfect receptacles for blue cheese dressing and hot sauce.
All of which makes for a happy story in my world. I love chicken wings.
I’m also fond of chickens so I buy what I hope are happier than average wings from a place that gets them from a local farm where they are rumoured to be treated with respect, freedom, grass and sunshine.
I season and bake them. Much prefer that to frying.
I also prefer salad to celery sticks as an accompaniment. Most recently a pea salad made of frozen peas (from my winter vegetable monger), home-grown garlic (has lasted brilliantly this winter), Canadian shallots, arugula (the States’ Earthbound variety for now—but, yahoo!, local winter greens are catching on as demand increases), and a delectable grainy mustard tarragon vinaigrette made by the in-house chef. (Every home should have one.)
As for the chicken named Jed. There isn’t one. I made that part up.