This vintage kitchen item once turned scraps into chicken legs

In the early 1900s, poultry was reserved for the posh and not readily available or affordable to people living in the city.

Knowing that “we eat with our eyes first,” today’s mystery item – a bit of a trickster – was the solution in providing a budget-friendly alternative to chicken, once considered a luxury food product, to working-class people.

Keep reading to learn more about this vintage kitchen tool!

Read More

Before the rise of industrialized poultry farming and commercial operations in the mid-20th-century, chicken was considered a luxury item, especially in urban areas where access to fresh poultry was limited. Unlike today, where chicken is one of the most affordable and widely consumed meats, back then, the cost of raising, slaughtering, and preparing a chicken for dinner was relatively high compared to other meats like beef, pork, or veal.

As a result, many families reserved chicken dinners for special occasions like Sunday dinners or holidays.

The introduction of mock chicken, or city chicken, provided a more budget-friendly alternative for those who couldn’t afford real chicken, allowing them to enjoy a similar taste and experience without the high cost.

And this vintage city chicken mold made it all happen!

What is mock chicken?

Mock chicken originated during the Great Depression when chicken was expensive and hard to come by for many families. To replicate the taste and appearance of chicken without the high cost, cooks would use more affordable meats like pork or veal and shape them into drumstick-like pieces with a mold similar to this.

Sometimes battered, breaded, or dusted with seasoned flour, the molded scraps could be pan fried, deep fried or browned and baked, and served with pan gravy and a side of potatoes.

The dish provided a way for people to enjoy the taste of chicken dinner without breaking the bank, making it a popular and economical choice during difficult times.

Decline in popularity

While city chicken was popular in urban areas, its popularity declined over time, likely due to changes in culinary preferences and the availability of affordable chicken. While it is less commonly found on restaurant menus today, some home cooks and nostalgic eateries still prepare and serve city chicken as a reminder of traditional American cuisine.

Also, it still holds a place in the hearts of many who grew up enjoying this classic comfort food.

Today, these molds are popular among collectors who are interested in antique culinary tools that provide insights into past cooking techniques and cultural traditions.

The mock city chicken handled mold reflects a culinary tradition of resourcefulness and adaptation, where cooks found creative ways to replicate or reinterpret popular dishes using available ingredients and techniques.

Have you ever heard of mock chicken? Please share your comments with us and then share this story so we can hear what others have to say!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *