Value. How do you define value? Where can I start?
Well, if I define the value of a food product based on "purity" then good God I better be willing to put my money where my mouth is...literally! So I will simply ask one question before I go on.... Will I negate the highest of health and nutritional standards of buying, preparing and eating a $30 pasture raised, "vegetarian" fed, organic, and hormone / antibiotic free chicken, if I follow it up with a Big Hunk candy bar for dessert? I didn't....but I might!
I will start by saying that I know how to roast a mean chicken! Foster Farm's $2 chicken, Whole Foods "air chilled" Rosey Farms chicken, or super duper (and expensive) pasture fed whatever, doesn't matter! I know how to roast an excellent tasting, moist and tender chicken! I knew this to be true but it became even more evident at the end of this "roast off"! When it came time to taste test I cut a sliver of breast meat out from both birds, and of course I bit into the $30 bird first! But after tasting the $7 bird I found myself going back and forth equally. I then cut a wing from each bird next....and then a drumstick....and then back for more breast meat! Although there was a distinct difference both were yummy!
The pasture raised chicken was the flavor winner, but was it the value winner? Um, no. No way was this pastured chicken worth $30. $17? Maybe. I know "17" is a weird number, but that's as far as I would go for a 5-6lb chicken....but lucky me the $7 is probably good enough for me.
What might you get for $30?
The flavor of this particular pastured breed was sold to me as having "sweeter" tasting meat, and I did, in fact, detect a "sweeter" taste. There was nothing outstandingly wrong with the WF chicken, in fact nothing wrong at all, IF I had not a side by side comparison.
The meat itself was more fibrous, in a good way. I would never describe it as "stringy", but "firmer"? The "mouth feel" was more pleasing. Mark described the WF chicken as "mealy" in comparison, although not mealy, just more so, for lack of another description. Again, when you have the opportunity of a side by side test you are able to discriminate.
You can feel good about eating it. But for that matter you can choose to feel good about anything you eat. Our bodies are, scientifically, the product of the foods we eat right? I guess at the end of the day is your body, in comparison, the equivalent of that $30 chicken, or a $7 chicken? How do you treat the rest of your diet? And do your get out into the fresh pure "pasture" enough to run free in the sunlight, or do you stay caged up in an office or in front of the TV?
It was really expensive! If I were to invite company over, sure, I would want to serve the "best" that I could afford. But would company prefer a Prime Rib from a reputable market to a $30 pasture fed chicken? (or some other expensive cut of meat). Would company, be it family, friends, or work associates expect me to go beyond or extend my budget? And if I did, would I feel that I needed to present the meal to them with a full description of all the fancy smancy words to describe what I was about to serve? Otherwise would anybody notice? Or would they be thankful for a lovely home cooked meal?
Enough, enough already! Better taste, better texture, piece of mind (maybe). $30 bucks? Not when I have loads of other choices. Bottom line for me is that this chicken was not worth $30. $20, maybe...barely...maybe not. So, I will seek out other options for high quality more "affordable" chicken, and decide what am I ultimately willing to paying for? Taste, or relief of some kind of guilt? And am I taking care to hold the rest of my food choices to the highest of standards?
This was actually a ton of fun and I plan on doing more side by side cook offs! Mark is interested for me to do a really cheap chicken and compare it to WF!