Messing With Mother Nature 

Unless they shut the lights off in the coop, expect egg production to plummet.

The science behind this achievement, which was developed in Israel, is impeccable. (Sorry again.) The idea is that featherless chickens could be raised more cheaply and efficiently in tropical climates, and with less harm to the environment, because resources would not be wasted to keep them cool.

By that logic, we could also save the zoos a lot of expense by developing a hair-free polar bear. But they probably wouldn't look much better naked than the chicken does. Attendance likely would plummet, and small children would be traumatized.

It takes a lot of pluck (arrrgggh) to mess with Mother Nature, but once they've conquered the featherless chicken, I hope the noble food scientists keep going. They've only scratched the surface. (Errrrr) Next on their menu should be permanently soft-shell crabs.

I recognize that some of you consider the process of pounding your dinner with a wooden mallet to be integral to the fine-dining experience, but over the years I've gotten bored with doing an hour's work to get a couple of ounces of crab meat.

Besides, why should crabs get to molt when they choose? You and I weren't given that option.

Or maybe the researchers could develop ready-aged grapes. Some of you wine snobs might enjoy waiting a couple of years as your stash takes its good ol' time getting ready for dinner. But, frankly, I'm losing patience with the process.

We need a good skinless grape — a Chardonnaked, maybe — that yields a decent bottle of wine right from the get-go. It would team up nicely with a grilled featherless chicken. The secondary payoff would be the thrill of shutting up those stuffy, overpriced Napa Valley boutique vintners. Let 'em go back to picking cabbages for a living.

For now, though, we'll probably have to settle for some time spent perfecting the featherless chicken — and its cousins, the featherless duck,the featherless pheasant and the featherless goose.

That last one could prove a challenge: Would a goose with fewer feathers on its pate produce a finer grade of pate?

To us gourmands, the answer ain't just chopped liver. And that's the naked truth. S

Copyright 2002 HamptonRoads.com/PilotOnline.com

Dave Addis is a columnist for the Virginian-Pilot. Contact Dave at 757-446-2726, at dave.addis@cox.net or at www.pilotonline.com

Opinions expressed on the Back Page are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Style Weekly.


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