When people say it tastes like chicken, is it because we're used to just "chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and perhaps lamb," or is there really a "taste of chicken" that can be traced down "the evolutionary tree to a common ancestor?" Slate's Jackson Landers decided to find out:
In order to answer this question, we need to start with chickens and work our way back through the evolutionary family tree.
Does chicken taste like chicken? Don't laugh -- this is an important question. Even lifelong chicken eaters usually have a very narrow experience because the birds sold in grocery stores are usually one of a very few breeds that have been designed to grow a lot of breast meat very quickly in factory-farm settings. A Plymouth roasting hen slaughtered for market at 7 weeks does not make for the same eating experience as a 2-year-old Rhode Island Red. I once ate a bantam rooster that tasted more like iguana than a grocery store chicken.