So my mother bought a roasting chicken for us to have for supper. This chicken was labeled “all natural”, which should have been a clue. My mother split the chicken in half (butterflied it) to make it cook faster and more evenly, and put the chicken in the oven for about 2 hours based on its size.

When it came out of the oven, it was basically inedible. It wasn’t even close to being cooked through. The skin was the consistency of leather — you literally couldn’t chew it. WTF.

Okay, so dinner was kind of a write-off as far as the chicken went (luckily the rice turned out yummy, and we had just received a box of fresh pears from my in-laws). My mother put the chicken back in the oven too cook it some more.

And more.

And more.

Finally it came out done, as you see above. That bird was in the oven for a total of four and a half hours before it was done enough to be eaten. Here’s the kicker: it was a roasting chicken. It was specifically intended to be easy to cook and tender when done. Classic. My mother pithily commented “This bird must be 20 years old.”

There’s a reason chickens we eat have been specially bred and pumped full of vitamins, hormones, and other goodies. There’s a reason they’re kept in a barn and not allowed to run freely all over the place. It makes them fat, tender, and tasty.

Whether the problem lay with the chicken being “all natural”, or whether it was just an unusually tough specimen, is unknown. But personally I’ll stick with the kind that hippies say will kill me slowly. Life’s too short to eat (or not eat, as the case may be) a tough, rubbery chicken.

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