When You See a Chicken at a Restaurant, Don’t Think of It as an Animal
The word chicken came to refer to a particular kind of bird in the 17th century.
The word came from the Old English word for “bird.”
And it comes from the Latin word for a chicken.
But for centuries, chicken was often regarded as a meat source, which is why a chicken dinner could often consist of meat, vegetables, and sometimes fish.
In the United States, where chicken is widely consumed, the word chicken was a euphemism for chicken breasts, and it meant chicken, especially when it came to fast food restaurants.
The use of the word as a generalization for any type of animal—be it a chicken, fish, or whatever—was an important part of American popular culture for a while.
The popular use of chicken in fast food dishes, however, didn’t take off until the late 1800s, when the American meat industry shifted its focus to producing beef.
The American meatpacking industry, which relied on imported meat from China, expanded dramatically in the late nineteenth century.
American fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King adopted the term chicken, along with its other familiar and often-repeated terms, including bacon, hamburger, and fries.
The term chicken was also used in a wide variety of other American contexts, from slang and humor to everyday use.
Chicken was used to describe any type—beyond chickens—of meat or animal products, including poultry, ducks, and other wild game.
“The American chicken industry was a massive one, and they were making lots of money,” says William Ritchie, a historian at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ritchie is the author of The Chicken: An Encyclopedia of Food in America.
Risch is also a researcher at the Smithsonian Institute.
“It was a very profitable industry,” he says.
James Woolley, an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, agrees.
“When you go into a chicken restaurant, they’ll often say they want a chicken sandwich.
The idea is to buy a chicken meal,” he tells Vice News.
“I would say that was the origin of the term.”
What was it that made the chicken food popular?
There were two main factors at work, says Ritchie.
The first was the introduction of chickens into American homes in the mid-19th century, which was a time of rapid industrialization.
“We had to move from a factory to a market economy in order to survive,” he explains.
And, as with other industries, chicken meat was a major part of that market.
It was also a food staple.
By the mid 1920s, a chicken was considered to be a staple food, even though it wasn’t a bird.
In some parts of the country, it was considered a vegetable.
The chicken itself wasn’t considered a meat, but rather a vegetable—hence the word, he says, which also had a meaning in the United Kingdom and in France.
Another factor was the fact that chicken meat and other meats were being sold as part of fast food menu items.
Chicken and eggs, for example, were being served as part in a hamburger menu.
And chicken was being sold in salads, sandwiches, and even on hot dogs.
But it wasn