Pop quiz, hotshot: which character from Flash Gordon do you most want to be? Obviously you can’t say Prince Barin: he’s rude to ladies, and cheats at the woodbeast game. Ming The Merciless has it together pretty well, but his opinions on marriage are old-fashioned at best. And Flash is okay, but he’s not the sharpest spike on the War Rocket Ajax.
The correct answer, obviously, is Prince Vultan. He’s brave, he’s cool, he has a fantastic beard, his palace has a remote-controlled spike-fighting platform in it, and he is absolutely not averse to wrecking some shop in the ruler of the universe’s palace – even when the guy has an all-seeing robot CCTV camera checking up on him. And what does Prince Vultan eat?
Prince Vultan eats his meat off the bone, because eating meat off the bone makes you a better person. There are several things going on here:
1. Eating meat off the bone is good for you. Bones have nutrients in them, and there’s some evidence that cooking meat with the bone in allows those nutrients to leach into the meat. This is why it’s also a good idea to cook stew with bone-in cuts, and made stock from leftover bones.
2. It tastes better. The bone conducts heat through the meat for a more even texture, and whatever’s leaching into the meat also makes it taste good. All those guys with tupperware containers full of boneless chicken breast are missing out.
3. It’s cheaper. Separating meat from the bone is a difficult, skilled task, so boneless chicken breasts are always more expensive than bone-in wings and thighs.
4. It’s easy. Cooking meat on the bone is one of the simplest things you can do – usually, you just need to marinade it in something and stick it in the oven.
5. It is more fun. You’ll note that Prince Vultan doesn’t seem to own a fork. That’s because eating with your hands is manlier, more aggressive, and gives you a sense of connection to your food, making it taste better. Don’t take my word for this: Zakary Pelaccio, acclaimed New York chef and author of Eat With Your Hands, agrees with me. It also suits my style of gorge-and-dash predator eating, and is the standard in many cultures. You know why Jesus put thigh bones in chickens? As handles.
So, along with eating like a peasant, eating like Prince Vultan is very much part of my nutritional strategy. Do it more often, and maybe one day you’ll be as awesome as this guy:
HOMEWORK: Cook something bone-in this week. Leave your recipes in the comments.