Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Old Chicken Feet

I recently read a UPI.com article about a shipment of smuggled chicken feet from Vietnam that were seized by the Chinese police, which were 46 years over the recommended sell date.  Not days.  46 years!

Here are the issues that were floating around in my head after I read that snippet:
·         Why do chicken feet have to be smuggled?
·         Are chicken feet so rare, with a demand so large, that there is a black market for them?
·         Can chicken feet that are smuggled from Vietnam into China be sold cheaper than homegrown Chinese chicken feet?  I suppose that chicken feet 46 years over the recommended sale date can be sold rather cheaply.  But why would the Chinese look toward Vietnam for chicken feet in the first place?  Are there not enough domestic Chinese chickens with feet?
·         How do you keep chicken feet for 46 years?
·         Were these chicken feet passed down from Vietnamese father smuggler to son smuggler as an inheritance?
·         How many generations of smuggler family members are chicken feet good for?  Could the son smuggler have passed the chicken feet to his son smuggler?
·         Do 46 year old chicken feet still resemble feet?  Should we still be calling them feet or chicken nuggets?
·         How do we know the age of these feet?
·         Do people eat chicken feet?  Why?
·         Is there any chicken meat on chicken feet or do people just gnaw the talons?  If so, why?
·         If people do not eat chicken feet, why are they kept for 46 years and smuggled into China?

It seems that there is an answer to the last three questions.  According to Wikipedia, the world’s foremost authority on every subject in the world, chicken feet consist of skin and tendons.  No meat.  This gives the chicken feet a “distinct texture different from the rest of the chicken meat.”  As a result, “they are very difficult to eat”.

So, why is there such a demand for chicken feet that they are being smuggled into China 46 years after their expiration date?  Well, they are used as a beer snack, for soup, or a main dish.  They can be deep fried, or steamed to make them puffy before being stewed and simmered in a sauce with beans.

In this throw away world in which we live, isn’t it good to know that there are some things that never get too old or go out of date?


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