July 14, 2013

Out Of The Light And Into The Dark

Good morning and greetings, food lovers. A few years ago, a young friend of mine suggested I write a blog about the variety of meals I prepare for my parents, family and the bands of gypsies who always want to spray my roof or pave my driveway. I never thought it would be that interesting to hear about my adventures with chili sauce, carmelized onions and broken eggs and dreams, as I’ve never followed a recipe when preparing a meal or a lifestyle.

But then I saw an story written in the New York Times that caught my culinary attention. It stated that if chicken producers could breed a bird with four legs, this would more than delight fowl growers, as the demand for thighs and legs is growing faster than KFC spread their finger lickin’ franchises throughout China. Who knew fried chicken and fried rice could ever co-exist so nicely in the land of rising dim sum?

One thought on KFC. A few years ago In Pakistan, anti-American protesters set fire to a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant. They thought they were attacking a high-ranking U.S. military official named Colonel Sanders. Despite intense interrogation of the employees afterwards, the attackers learned nothing about the Colonel’s eleven secret herbs and spices recipe and were left with just biscuits, cole slaw and a burnt out, extra crispy building structure.

Back in this country, the demographics are shifting and the new kids on the block prefer the darker blend of the bird. This has something to do with the influx of immigrants from Asia, Latin America and the North Shore of Oahu, as the look on grocery shelves is a changin’. Now you’re more likely to see lemon grass and sriracha peppers rather than Lemon Pledge and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club spices.

Now I’ve always been a dark meat man, whether it be chicken, turkey, or carrier pigeon. In my later years I’ve grown particularly fond of boneless thighs, although I haven’t figured out how those chickens roam the free range without a bone in their legs. And after years of exclusively living on the dark side, I admit that I can enjoy the virtues of white meat, as I’ve opened my mind to new ideas and sauces. Who says a leopard can’t change its stripes?

There are thousands of chicken recipes to choose from including piccata, tetrazzini, cacciatore, catchabreak and the American favorite, nuggets, which even chickens find puzzling. And it doesn’t take years of schooling at the French Culinary Institute to learn how to make chicken surrender to good flavor. All you have to do is find any kind of juice, marinade or some concoction that turns into a liquid, pour it over those waiting thighs, pop it in the oven for forty five minutes, and voila, poultry magic. Or as we said back in the old country, “Don’t cook tonight, call Chicken Delight.”

Personally, my favorite recipe involving the boneless wonders is one of my Italian specialities-chicken parmesan. Food critics from around the world and my son agree that this is a big time winner on the scallopini front, as the chicken, when covered by a layer of mozzarella cheese and savory tomato sauce, is as tender and moist as my eyes after watching an episode of “Friday Night Lights.” Clear eyes, full heart, garlic knots forever.

Chicken Parm is just one of my Italian selections, along with meatballs and spaghetti, baked mostaccioli and my pasta a la Sophia Loren. I believe my children would be happy if I served them pasta seven nights a week. I’m just glad it’s nutritious and doesn’t pack any pounds around the the waistline. In the words of British writer George Miller, “The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.”

Now since this is a family show, I’m not going to get into the physiological or psychological reasons why there is a difference between white meat and dark meat. Let’s just say it’s all about the energy these birds are extending in parts of their anatomy and leave it at that.

Now according to a study done by the Drumstick Institute, most dark meat contains more zinc, riboflavin, flavoflavin, jennifer flavin, niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, amino acids, orange sunshine and iron than white meat. So although it may be fattier, there are some benefits to the tanner of meats. I believe it was either President Herbert Hoover or Robert Hoover from ‘Animal House’ who said, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Yes, the time has come to decriminalize dark meat chicken. The skies are not falling.

To sum up my feelings about our nation’s preference changing from white to dark, let me paraphrase Nobel prize winning writer Rabindranath Tagore, who said, “Faith is the bird that feels that light when the dawn is still dark meat.” Thank you and good night.

For today’s photo portion of our program, we are taking a stroll down the street from where I currently reside. For some reason, whether it’s the tilt of the earth’s axis or my past life karma, on two mornings this past year I failed to make it to the edge of the continent for the dawn experience, and I had to settle for shooting on a bluff overlooking the westside. I tried to take advantage of the silhouette action from the trees, as the sky lit up with color and the sun rose without paying much attention to my position. I didn’t capture the vivid color of the clouds reflecting on the water, but I did bring a little something home to talk about around the dinner table.

On to some late night humor. “Great news for NSA leaker Edward Snowden. He’s just been named Cinnabon Customer of the Month in the Moscow Airport.” –David Letterman “NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been offered asylum in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. Or as Snowden put it, ‘Prison it is!’” –Jimmy Fallon

“With Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer running for political office, New York City is changing its nickname to “The City That Never Sleeps With Its Wife.” Despite his prostitution scandal several years ago, Eliot Spitzer is running for comptroller of New York. He’s paying someone $800 a day to collect signatures to put his name on the ballot. He said it’s the second best $800 he’s ever spent.” –Conan O’Brien

“Mexico has replaced the U.S. as the world’s fattest nation. The U.S. is now number two. The Mexican government has done a lot of research. It turns out their people eat way too much Mexican food.” –Conan O’Brien “Mexicans now are trying to cross the border just to ask, “Are you going to finish that?” ‘ Jay Leno “It turns out the Pakistan police pulled Osama bin Laden over for speeding. Pulled him over and wrote the guy a ticket. So listen. I don’t want to hear any more of this nonsense about Pakistan being lenient on Osama bin Laden, OK?” –David Letterman

“One of the world’s leading scientists said he believes the human species was probably created when pigs mated with chimps. And that is how we got “Jersey Shore.” So it turns out that men really ARE pigs. There is scientific evidence.” – Jimmy Kimmel “A video has surfaced of Justin Bieber urinating into a mop bucket. Critics are calling it the best thing Justin Bieber has ever released.” – Conan O’Brien

“Last Thursday we celebrated our 237th year of independence from Great Britain. And our 10th year of dependence on the Chinese.” –Jay Leno
“It’s been a bit of a week for the Supreme Court. Yesterday they ruled that it’s okay for gay people to get married. Today, they ruled it’s okay for straight people to rollerblade.” –Craig Ferguson

“It’s now 32 NFL players that have been arrested since the Super Bowl. To give you an idea of how bad it’s gotten, now when a team says they’ve hired a new defensive coordinator, they’re talking about a lawyer. 31 players have been arrested just since the Super Bowl. In fact, a lot of teams are switching to the no-huddle offense because players aren’t allowed to associate with known felons. The show “Cops” is now on the NFL network. That’s how bad it’s gotten.” – Jay Leno

So another week has past as the summer rolls along. We’ll catch you playing in one of the most dramatic finals in Wimbledon history and giving the English fans something to boast about besides their muffins. Aloha, mahalo and later, Andy Murray fans.


  1. So many culinary delights this morning… Today, Hostess Twinkies made a sweet comeback, too! Great blog.

    Comment by Babs — July 15, 2013 @ 8:09 am

  2. What about Chicken Bangkok, Chicken & Rice and Hop Kee’s Sweet & Sour Chicken? And two out of three require cranberry sauce.

    Comment by Chick Hearn — July 15, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

  3. What about Chicken Bangkok, Chicken & Rice and Hop Kee’s Sweet & Sour Chicken? And two out of three require cranberry sauce.

    Comment by Chick Hearn — July 15, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

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