Monday, March 08, 2004

Chicken feet blog.

Yuriko was feeling a little poorly today, so I did some grocery shopping for her this evening, to that world food emporium called Valli, which I've written about before (see Sept 9, 2003). It's full of minor marvels, for those who bother to look around.

Next to the small tubs of chicken livers -- I bought one of those -- was a selection of chicken feet. Each package had about a dozen of the things. A bundle of chicken feet wrapped up and ready to go. Not something I'd ever seen outside of China, or Chinatowns, and even there they weren't packaged in plastic like at an American grocery store. I forgot to check the price.

I'd read that there might be a shortage of chicken feet, because of the bird flu in Asia. So I would have stocked up, had I been in the market. But I've tried chicken feet, at least twice, at two different dim sum venues, and I never acquired the taste. Something like fried bones, they were.

"The foot of the bird contains only part of the ankle bones," says the University of Illinois Extension Web site. "In mammals, all of the ankle bones are included as part of the foot. Poultry raisers use the term 'hock' synonymous with the ankle region and 'hockjoint' with ankle joint. The bird does not have a well-developed calcaneum, which forms the heel of man.

"No bird has more than four toes except chickens of the Dorking, Faverolle, Houden, Sultan, and Non-bearded Silkie Bantams, all of which have five toes. In these breeds the extra toe arises above the base of the hallux and projects upward, never touching the ground. In the Silkie, the extra toes often lie nearly in the same plane as the hallux. Some birds have only three toes, while the ostrich has two toes.

"In poultry literature, reference is made to booted and booting. This refers to feathering of the metatarsus rather then to a fusion of scales. 'Ptilopody' would be a better term to designate leg feathering."


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