How Chicken Used to Taste

I have a confession to make.

I turned 73 a couple of weeks ago, but I haven’t had a decent chicken dinner since the late 1950’s when my dear old Mom used to fry up a batch for our Sunday meal. Man, that chicken tasted great… in fact, it tasted so good it tasted like… well, like chicken.

And now, here it more than sixty some years later, and I’m actually drooling, thinking about how real chicken used to taste.

Today, shoot, an epicure like me can’t even find a frog leg that tastes like real chicken. Indeed, even the expensive “pasture-raised” fowl taste like cardboard and aren’t worth wasting a skillet of Crisco on. (Not that I fry with Crisco, but my dear mother did back in the daze when I walked seven miles to school after milking the cows and feeding the hogs so I still have fond memories of the nasty stuff.)

As for beef, shoot, the last time I had a steak that tasted the way tenderloins are supposed to taste I had to shell out $100, not including a side of broccoli with a slice of cheese on top that added another $15 to the ridiculous bill. And the cynic in me figured the steak tasted great not because it was beef raised the way we used to raise ’em back on the farm but because clever food scientists who concoct “natural flavors” for a living had most likely developed some kind of marinade to trick old fools like me.

As for genetic engineering to explain why chicken and beef now taste like old apple cores… now, that’s a topic that vibrates the hair on the back of my neck, but I’m already deep in babble mode so I’ll exercise restraint and not wander down that path today.

Speaking of apple cores, we get some great apples here in our neck of the North Carolina woods. You see, every fall we drive west and come back with a big bushel or two of a nice variety of apples freshly picked from the trees in a place aptly named Apple Valley, which is close to Lake Lure (where Dirty Dancing was filmed a zillion years ago, for what that’s worth. Gosh, that reminds me of the times back in the day when I was known for my ability to cut the rug with a variety of lovely young lasses. That of course was before I met my beloved late wife Ellen Schoenberger Day. But let’s save those sweet memories for another time).

And each fall when we visited the Lake Lure area, we always bought a gallon of fresh apple juice, too. Fall, you see, is my favorite time of year here in NC… when we’re not dealing with tropical storm force winds and rain, of course. Happily, I recently made it through our second intense weather event without having a tree fall on our house or intaking water from the creek adjacent to CasaDay when another big storm roared through like a banana slipping its skin.

Speaking of bananas, I confess that I consume one on a daily basis, not because I like them that much, but because they sell for an incredible 38 cents a pound at our supermarket. I wonder every time I buy another half dozen how bananas can continue to sell for such a cheap price, given how far they have to come to reach the U.S. And that’s not to mention the fungus that could attack the Cavendish variety of banana that’s sold in America should that fungus (Panama disease I think it’s called) ever reach South America, where our bananas come from. Still only thirty-eight cents a pound in 2021. Remarkable.

Finally, friends, if I’m overdoing it with these occasional ramblings, don’t bother telling me because it’s not going to do any good. I get this way when I’m close to putting the final words to another novel. For some reason, the more I write the more I want to write, and it’s just plain wonderful as a retired dude to finally have the time to sit and flood this old keyboard with the endless river of words that runs through me.

And yes, for those concerned, one of these daze I will look into seeing a counselor for hypergraphia.

P.S. Check out my novels at