感恩节后回顾一下鸡的历史

2014/12/5 10:14:00作者:来源:查看评论0条)字号:

    THIS season millions of Americans will celebrate with turkey on the table. The turkey is, after all, the native North American animal that Benjamin Franklin considered “a much more respectable bird” than the scavenging bald eagle. But while the eagle landed on the country’s Great Seal and the turkey gets pride of place at our holiday dinners, neither bird can claim to have changed American culture more than their lowly avian cousin, the chicken.
    这个季节,千百万美国人在庆祝节日时,餐桌上都摆着火鸡。毕竟,火鸡是北美本土的物种,本杰明·富兰克林(Benjamin Franklin)认为它与翻找腐肉的白头鹰相比,是一种“远更值得尊重的鸟”。尽管白头鹰登上了美国的国徽,火鸡也骄傲地成为节日餐桌上举国同享的美味,但这两种鸟对美国文化产生的影响,都比不上它们身份低微的表亲——家鸡。
    English settlers arriving at Jamestown in 1607 brought a flock of chickens that helped the struggling colony survive its first harsh winters, and the bird was on the Mayflower 13 years later. But the popularity of the Old World fowl soon faded, as turkey, goose, pigeon, duck and other tastier native game were plentiful.
    英国殖民者在1607年抵达詹姆斯敦的时候,带来了一群鸡。鸡帮助处境艰难的殖民地度过了最初几个凛冽的寒冬。13年后的“五月花号”(Mayflower)上也带了鸡。不过,由于火鸡、鹅、鸽、鸭及其他更美味的本地禽类琳琅满目,鸡这种旧大陆家禽变得不再那么受人关注。
This proved a boon for enslaved Africans. Fearful that human chattel could buy their freedom from profits made by selling animals, the Virginia General Assembly in 1692 made it illegal for slaves to own horses, cattle or pigs. Poultry, though, wasn’t considered worth mentioning.
    不过,这对从非洲贩运来的奴隶倒是个好消息。由于担心作为私产的黑奴通过贩卖动物来赚钱赎身,弗吉尼亚议会(Virginia General Assembly)在1692年颁布法令,禁止黑奴拥有马、牛、猪。不过,他们认为家禽不值一提。
    This loophole offered an opportunity. Most slaves came from West Africa, where raising chickens had a long history. Soon, African-Americans in the colonial South — both enslaved and free — emerged as the “general chicken merchants,” wrote one white planter. At George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, slaves were forbidden to raise ducks or geese, making the chicken “the only pleasure allowed to Negroes,” one visitor noted. The pleasure was not just culinary, but financial: In 1775, Thomas Jefferson paid two silver Spanish bits to slaves in exchange for three chickens. Such sales were common.
    这个法律漏洞提供了一个机会。许多黑奴来自非洲西部,在那里养鸡有很长的历史。很快,如一位白人种植园主所写到的,南方殖民地的非裔美国人,包括奴隶和自由人,就成了“常见的鸡贩”。在乔治·华盛顿(George Washington)的家弗农山庄(Mount Vernon),奴隶们被禁止养鸭子或鹅,一位来访者写道,于是鸡就成了“黑人获准拥有的唯一乐趣”。这种乐趣不仅涉及口腹,也涉及金钱。在1775年,托马斯·杰斐逊(Thomas Jefferson)花了两个西班牙雷亚尔,从黑奴手中买来了三只鸡。这样的交易颇为普遍。
    Black cooks were in a position to influence their masters’ choice of dishes, and they naturally favored the meat raised by their friends and relatives. One of the West African specialties that caught on among white people was chicken pieces fried in oil — the meal that now, around the world, is considered quintessentially American.
    黑人厨师可以影响主人对菜肴的选择,而他们自然更喜欢朋友和亲戚养殖的禽肉。油炸鸡块这道西非特色菜,就这样在白人当中受到了欢迎。而现在,这种吃法在全世界都被认为是典型的美国菜。
    Slaves laid the foundation for the American appetite for chicken, but it was the forced opening of China by the West in the 1840s that made the modern bird possible. American ships brought specimens of Asian chickens never seen in America. Breeders crossed the large and colorful exotics with their smaller but hardier Western counterparts to produce a bird that could lay more eggs and provide more meat. The results were famous varieties, like the Plymouth Rock and Rhode Island Red, that appeared just as the nation began to industrialize.
    黑奴为美国人热爱鸡肉的胃口奠定了基础,不过现代家鸡的问世,却要归结于1840年以后中国迫于西方压力而开关通商。由此,美国舰船带回了其本土前所未见的亚洲鸡。人们又将这些体格较大、色彩斑斓的鸡,与体格较小但适应力更强的西方鸡杂交,进而培育出了下蛋更多、产肉也更多的鸡种。其结果就是,在美国即将开始工业化时,普利茅斯石鸡(Plymouth Rock)和罗德岛红鸡(Rhode Island Red)这样的著名品种问世了。
    Still, chicken rearing in the United States remained a small-scale family business; American meat-eating tended toward pork and beef, with chickens used mostly for eggs.
    不过,养鸡当时在美国仍然是一种小规模的家庭生意。美国人食肉的习惯也倾向于猪肉和牛肉,养鸡主要是为了下蛋。
    That began to change with the arrival of millions of Eastern European Jews, who relied on chicken as a meat source. By 1900, New York City boasted 1,500 kosher butcher shops, stocked by train cars filled with live chickens that arrived mainly from farms in the Midwest, where rural women, who ran much of the poultry business at the time, took advantage of the growing demand.
    随着数百万东欧犹太人的到来,这一点也开始发生转变,他们依赖鸡这种肉质来源。到1900年,纽约市有多达1500家犹太洁食(kosher)屠宰铺,出售的肉食主要来自中西部的农场出产,通过火车运来的活鸡。当时养殖禽类的生意主要由农村妇女经营,她们抓住时机回应了扩大的需求。
    Their market soon extended beyond immigrant Jews. Millions of people were leaving their Midwestern and Southern farms for factory jobs in the expanding cities in the North. Finding a reliable and cheap source of protein was critical. Pork and beef were expensive for urban shoppers, and there were not enough eggs produced in the United States to satisfy their appetites. The chicken business started to take off.
    市场很快就拓展到了犹太移民社区之外。千百万人离开美国中西部和南部的农场,到不断扩张的北部城市寻找工厂的工作。要找到可靠廉价的蛋白质来源至关重要。猪肉和牛肉对城市里的消费者来说太昂贵了,而且美国出产的蛋也不足以满足美国人的胃口。于是养鸡产业开始飞速发展。
    World War I gave chickens another boost, when beef and pork stocks were diverted to the troops. Then, in 1923, an entrepreneurial Delaware woman named Celia Steele began sending the first broilers to New York, birthing a multibillion-dollar industry. For the first time, chickens began to be sold solely for their meat on a mass scale.
    第一次世界大战也给养鸡业带来了另一个助推,那时牛肉和猪肉储备转到了军队手中。1923年,特拉华州一位名叫西莉亚·斯蒂尔(Celia Steele)的女企业家,开始向纽约供应首批批量饲养的肉鸡,进而催生了一个价值数十亿美元的产业。这是鸡第一次因为它的肉,而被大规模出售。
    The rise of the chicken continued through the Great Depression, when chicken farming helped many farmers get by. Henry A. Wallace, a sometime vegetarian pacifist from Iowa who also served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s agriculture secretary and vice president, argued that the chicken was the savior of poverty-stricken rural Americans. The company he helped found in the 1920s is now the world’s largest single producer of egg-laying hens. Finally, in the 1950s, engineers and scientists created a bird that could grow quickly with minimal feed — and the chicken we know today emerged.
    鸡的兴起一直贯穿了大萧条(Great Depression)时期,那时的养鸡产业帮助许多农户度过困境。富兰克林·D·罗斯福(Franklin D. Roosevelt)麾下的农业部长和副总统亨利·A·华莱士(Henry A. Wallace)一度食素,也是一名和平主义者。来自艾奥瓦州的华莱士认为,对于陷入贫困的美国农村,鸡是一个救星。他在1920年代帮助建立的公司,现在是世界上最大的蛋鸡饲养企业。最后在1950年代,工程师和科学家培育出了一种耗费饲料很少但增重很快的鸡。今天我们所知的鸡就是这时产生的。
    Today chicken is cheap, and it has become America’s favorite meat. In the land of the hamburger, we eat more of it than beef. And while we enjoy turkey at Thanksgiving, over the course of the year we will consume five times as much chicken.
    今天的鸡肉价格低廉,也已经成为美国人最喜欢的肉类。在这个汉堡包的国度,我们吃的鸡肉却比牛肉还多。尽管我们会在感恩节时享用火鸡,但全年消费鸡肉的总量却是火鸡的五倍。
    The bonanza of cheap meat and eggs has been a boon in many ways, but it has come at a largely hidden cost. Billions of chickens, both layers and broilers, live in vast warehouses locked behind fences and unprotected by federal regulations, which don’t consider poultry raised for food as animals. Then there are the low-paid workers who labor in the cold and dark of processing plants with high rates of injury, and the environmental degradation that sullies our waterways. And today’s industrial bird is a relatively tasteless food that we must relentlessly flavor with sauces, marinades and rubs.
    廉价肉蛋的丰富供应,在很多方面都是好事,但其中也存在常常不为人知的成本。数十亿只肉鸡和蛋鸡都饲养在巨大的仓库里,锁在笼子里,不受联邦法规的保障,因为联邦法规不把食用禽类视为动物。此外,还有薪水微薄的工人,他们在冰冷阴暗的加工厂里劳作,工伤率极高,相应的环境影响也污染了我们的河道。今天工业饲养的肉禽比较寡淡无味,所以我们必须要极力腌渍、蘸酱汁、撒调料。
    So as we celebrate and give thanks this season, take a moment to consider the lowly chicken, and how its story and that of our country are so deeply entwined. The bird that gets little respect is the creature that has given us more than we know.
    所以,我们在这个时节表达感谢时,请花些时间想一想身份低微的鸡,也考虑一下鸡肉的历史与这个国家的历史联系多么紧密。这种极少受人尊重的家禽,为我们做出了很多贡献,可我们却知之甚少。

 

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