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Why Doesn't Chicken Have A 'Food' Name?

Think about it — cows are called ‘beef’, pigs are called ‘pork’, calves are called ‘veal’. Even rubbish meat like sheep and deer get their own special food names (‘mutton’ and ‘venison’, respectively). But chicken is just plain old ‘chicken’. Clearly, something needs to be done about this.

Chicken picture from Shutterstock

As far as we can tell, the English speaking world hasn’t bothered to put a culinary stamp on one of the most popular meats on the planet. Meanwhile, there’s about fifty food words for egg depending on how you cook it. What’s all that about, eh?

Now before you storm the comments section with screams of “poultry”, bear in mind that this word is used to describe all manner of farm bird (turkey, quail, duck, emu, goose; you name it.) Plus, it actually refers to the living animal rather than the meat — it’s basically the avian equivalent to ‘cattle’. So we can confidently cross poultry off the list.

Likewise, ‘fowl’ is a generic word for bird that has nothing to do with meat or food. And KFC is just a brand name, natch. The only culinary phrases for chicken we can think of are the US words ‘fryers’, ‘broilers’, and ‘roasters’ — but these are just cooking methods that relate to the size of the bird at hand.

This is poor form on a number of levels. Firstly, it makes our language look lazy and stupid. Secondly, it serves as a constant reminder that the delicious meal in front of us was once a living creature. You’d never see a restaurant put ‘roast cow’ or ‘braised sheep’ on the menu — why aren’t chicken eaters afforded the same level of respect?

We think it’s nigh time that this linguistic oversight was rectified, which is where you come in. Just as we did with the afternoon equivalent of ‘brunch’ (AKA ‘betwinner’), we’re enlisting our readers to come up with a suitable food name for chicken.

Once our feathery friends have been rendered into finger lickin’ meat, what should they be called? The winning entrant can have an Oporto burger on us. Unclip your wordsmith wings and let the suggestions fly!