For some many moons now, I have had a post-it on my desk that says “chicken glasses.” I have no idea what this means when I see it. Tumblers with little red hens painted on them that I saw at Anthropologie? But then I remembered seeing a picture somewhere of a chicken wearing glasses. Yep, that’s right. And it turns out that this was a trend in the early 19oos. According to Wiki (which I don’t let my students use on accounta the info could be unreliable), these glasses were tinted pink and called “pick guards.”
And the reason for this? Well, just your basic run-of-the-mill cannibalism, is all. Evidently chickens pick a lot. (You remember that song from The Music Man, “Pick a Little, Talk a Little.) They peck at themselves and have actually been known to peck out each other’s eyes. If blood is drawn and the other chickens see it, it can become a chicken Lord of the Flies because as it turns out, just like you and me, they like to eat chicken too. Who knew? There are alpha chickens who get picked on the least and zeta chickens who often become dinner for the other chickens (hence the term “pecking order”). Yes, home on the range ain’t always so homey.
So, in order to prevent chickens from beaking each other bloody, someone came up with the idea of pink glasses to obscure visible blood from the blood-thirsty fowl. The weird thing is some of these glasses (creepy spoiler alert) were held on by inserting a pin through the chicken nostrils.
Primitive…Pin through the nostril…Cannibals…New Guinea…Guinea fowl…is this going somewhere? Does this mean I can’t eat chicken anymore? I mean that chicken paillard may have taken a pounding before the chef ever got hold of it. I have always thought of a free range chicken as a happy chicken with just one bad day. Have I been looking at my chicken through rose-colored glasses?