All about chicken wings

bmorem@thetribunenews.comFebruary 1, 2013 

Let’s delve into a phenomenon, an American entrepreneurial dream that deals with a commodity that was once looked upon with condescension but is now an essential part of many a meal, the epicenter of epicurean edibles — especially around Super Bowl time.

I speak, of course, of the chicken wing.

Americans are expected to eat 1.23 billion chicken wings this Super Bowl weekend, which equals more than 100 million pounds.

To put that into perspective, if that many wings were laid end to end, they would stretch from the 49ers’ Candlestick Park in San Francisco to the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore — 27 times.

Another measure of 1.23 million wings? If laid end to end, they would reach a quarter of the way to the moon or circle the Earth over two times.

So, what’s the story behind our fascination with morsels so fowl? According to the Washington, D.C.-based National Chicken Council (no, that’s not another name for Congress; as the council’s Bill Roenigk notes: “We know wings are nonpartisan and politically independent … there are really no extreme left wings or extreme right wings.”), Buffalo wings were born on Oct, 30, 1964, when a Buffalo, N.Y., restaurant owner by the name of Teressa Bellissimo made a late-night snack for her son and his friends.

Seeing as chicken wings were rarely served with a chicken dinner and, in fact, were mostly used for soup stock or even tossed, she found an excess of wings on hand. She fried them up and dipped them in a chile sauce, then served them with celery and blue cheese dressing to cut the sauce’s heat. Voila!

Finally, here’s a bit of useful advice from the website “Food Wishes” by Chef John, on how to elegantly eat the two-boned, flat part of the wing during this Super Bowl:

• “Locate the nubby end of the wing with the exposed cartilage and protruding bones. This would have been the chicken elbow. You want to tear that end off the wing to expose the ends of the bones.

• “Grab the end of the little bone, and pull and wiggle it away from the bigger bone. This loosens the connection on the other end of the wing, so the little bone should be able to slide right out cleanly. If the wing is properly cooked, the bone should come right out naked.

• “Grab the remaining bigger bone, holding the other end of the wing with the other hand, and twist the bone so it also detaches and gently slide it out. Again, it should come out clean.

• “You’re left with a completely boneless wing. Dip it once, and pop the whole thing in your mouth. Or, if you’re more dainty, make it a two-bite affair. Either way, you can enjoy it thoroughly without looking like a hungry squirrel.”

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