Food Safety Meets Chicken Sashimi, Or How I Made My Dinner Guests Barf

I'd just written a post on food safety and ever-so-slightly under-cooked chicken when a blog post from Esquire landed in my in-box. "How to Eat Raw Chicken" is the title. Unsettling? Maybe. But maybe not.

The Japanese love all sorts of raw things, poultry included. This short number in The New Yorker, written a few years ago, describes the a chicken sashimi delicacy:

...Something like yellowtail sashimi in appearance and texture, but with a flavor less distinctive than that of most raw fish, the raw chicken is best served with an accompaniment--a marvelously aggressive wasabi, chopped very coarse, or pickled plums that impart a smoky flavor.

The Esquire article is somewhat less refined. The author uses vodka to pummel bacteria and then eats several samples, from completely raw to cooked completely well done. Her favorite?

By contrast, medium-well chicken is supple, glossy, warm, and explosively juicy. Riskier to eat than well-done? Maybe. But worth it. Plus: one less thing to worry about.

Precisely how I like my bird, to be honest. I've been known to slice the breasts off a slightly under-cooked roaster before putting the carcass, still toting wings and legs, back in the oven for a few. Breast meat always cooks more quickly on a whole bird, and that was my way of circumnavigating the choice between bone dry breast meat and squicky bloody thighs.

I originally thought the move was ridiculous. Now I feel validated.

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