Eat Zucchini! Save the Chickens!


Okay, I’ll start off with something yummy. My zucchini cakes are little pads of ooey-gooey ecstasy. Cheesy and delicious. The best part is that they are mostly zucchini, and therefore healthy, err, on the healthy, uhh, healthy-cheesy-greasy side. I like to tell myself that it’s always good to eat more veggies!

Zucchini Cakes

  • 3 medium-to-large zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5 oz. asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • oil for frying
  • salt & pepper
  1. Place shredded zucchini in bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for a few minutes and then drain excess water through a fine-mesh drainer.
  2. Mix in cheese, flour, egg, green onions and parsley. Season to taste with salt (remembering you already salted the zucchini) and pepper. Sprinkle more flour if mixture is too wet.
  3. Heat enough oil in pan that zucchini cakes can fry partly covered.
  4. Drop rounded tablespoons of mixture into pan and fry on both sides over medium high heat. Between 2 and 5 minutes per side.
  5. Shovel cooled cakes into drooling mouth.


And now for something less appetizing…

I was pleased to find an article about the horrors of industrially-processed chicken life in this month’s issue of Gourmet. The chicken is the worst treated animal of American processing plants. Their beaks are snipped off, without anesthesia, so that they will not peck and kill one another in their closer-than-close quarters. Laying hens are kept in cages so small that they cannot turn around. They are in so much pain that they rub their breasts against the cages until they maim themselves, presumably to commit suicide. By the time this would kill them, though, the hens have laid enough eggs and are slaughtered anyway. The life of broiling chickens is not much better. They are force fed extreme amounts within a short period of time. Their legs are crippled and “broilers” are so near death by the time they reach the slaughtering house (if they reach alive at all) that you might as well consider it murdering the already dead.

You may have gotten the feeling that my views are strong on this subject. Absolutely right. I am a meat eater, but one that will never buy non-cage free eggs, and will only buy organic, free-range chicken when I’m at a loss for farm grown, local product. I am seriously considering lowering my intake of meat altogether, and only eating farm-bought animals.

Nothing in the Gourmet article, “A View to Kill,” was new to me, and I was somewhat peeved at their exaggerated outrage at how the chickens are picked up from their feet (something most farmers will do anyway) without any mention of beak clipping. That said, I’m happy to see this topic explored by a mainstream magazine, and I am hopeful that the industrial processing word is slowly being kicked in the ass.

I was particularly interested in the following quotes from the article:

The research has found, for instance, that, starting in the sheds, the chickens balloon in weight so fast that their baby skeletons can’t support it well: among other problems, their tendons slip and their leg bones twist, making a large proportion of commercial broilers partially or completely lame.

Back in the late 1990s, Claire Weeks and her colleagues at England’s University of Bristol divided 120 broilers into two groups–those that were lame and those that walked normally. They then offered both groups two kinds of food–regular feed, and the same feed spiked with an anti-inflammatory painkiller known as carprofen. The lame birds ate up to 50 percent more drugged feed than did the normal ones. And the more drugged feed they are, says Weeks, the better they walked. “That suggests,” she says, “that lame birds were self-medicating because they were in pain.”

This specific study was new to me–and I am grateful it is in the article. This is a perfect example of how much people are averting their eyes from the truth. It is insane–completely insane–to tell yourself that animals, chickens, do not feel pain simply because they do not have the voice to scream “Ow!”

It’s one thing if you don’t care how much pain an animal suffers in the industrial processing world. That is your choice. It’s another thing if you are simply averting your eyes, not thinking about the animals so you can go on buying a dozen eggs for 79¢. Americans have the highest rate of disposable income per person in the world, yet we spend the lowest percentage of our income on food. Buy one less pair of shoes this year and put all of that money into buying healthier, more humane, food. The chickens will thank you!


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