Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chicken Fat

In my 1950's/1960's childhood, chicken fat was something my mother would render out  and make a treat called "gribenes" for me as a childhood treat.  I would accompany my Mom to the butcher, where she would pick out a chicken (already deceased) and I would watch the butcher cut the chicken up. Then she would make the magic happen at home.

I haven't eaten crispy chicken skin (a by product of the chicken fat rendering) with onions in many years, and I am not even sure I would enjoy it today if you fed it to me.  But chicken fat is part of my childhood memories.

Children grow up. There is something we still need to do, as adults-move around. And dare I use a word I hate, exercise.



Speaking of chicken fat, there's another childhood memory I need to disclose.  The first time I watched this iPhone commercial, I was transported back in time.

It was this song.  The Chicken Fat song (here, in its full 6 minute version).

Baby boomers (and even some of subsequent generations) in the United States may well remember this song.  And if you click on the above video, you will soon know the song even if you don't now, because this song is one of the worst earworms ever created.  I will warn you, don't click on either video unless you want to have this song in your head for the rest of the day.

What is so addictive about the Chicken Fat song?  Well, it has everything to do with a physical fitness program created by our President in 1961 to encourage Americans to exercise.

Meredith Wilson, of The Music Man Broadway fame (remember 76 Trombones?)  wrote this song for President Kennedy's physical fitness program in 1961.  It is sung by Robert Preston, who starred in the 1962 movie based on the Broadway show.

Yes, there was trouble in River City, and in the rest of the United States.  There was too much chicken fat, and not enough exercise. Can you believe it - in 1961 we were already too sedentary. This song's purpose was to encourage us all to change that.

The song (the 6 minute version, that is) has explicit instructions for doing various exercises - no app needed.

Thousands, if not millions, of American children have exercised to the full, six plus minute version of the song.  Meanwhile, iPhone/Apple has pared the song down to about a minute, in a commercial called Strength, featuring people exercising with the help of something that didn't exist in 1961- their iPhone apps. And yes, all the apps are for real.

In a strange way, I love the revival of the Chicken Fat song. It drives my spouse crazy, that commercial (he doesn't remember the song) but I love it.  And I love seeing the apps at work.  Most of them are free, too.

Too bad our country holds lots more chicken fat than ever before. And I am one of many Americans who fights it, daily. Just think, what if this revival of the Chicken Fat song caused an old fashioned exercise revival?  Wouldn't it be, as we used to say years ago, awesome?

Go, you chicken fat, go!

Do you remember the Chicken Fat song?  Did you have to exercise to it?

12 comments:

  1. Wonderful memories, there are a lot of us "old timers" that have been exercising for years trying to rid ourselves of the chicken fat. At one time, I thought that the best part of the chicken was the fried skin of a certain well known fast food chicken store. Not anymore, I still use the spices but on healthier foods.

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    1. I haven't eaten the products of that certain fast food chain in years. And I don't miss it at all. My weakness, now, is sweet desserts, especially if they contain chocolate.

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  2. What great memories! My mom cooked so many chicken dinners for us when I was growing up that as an adult I have a hard time eating chicken. The Chicken Fat song is new to me listening to it for the first time here today.

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    1. I, too, ate lots of chicken as a child. I still do now, as I fight the chicken fat - chicken sausage, ground chicken hamburgers, plus other chicken dishes. Some of these ways disguise the fact that you are eating chicken. Meanwhile, I hope the song didn't get stuck in your head.

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  3. wonderful memories from a wonderful child hood

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    1. Thank you. My childhood was not always wonderful, but it does have some nice memories.

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  4. This reminds me of my childhood! I love the oldies times, too bad we can't get it back ;)

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    1. No, we can't - we can only think and dream about the past.

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  5. I'm not going to lie, the thought of eating chicken skin/ fat makes me shudder a little!
    Give me grilled chicken breast any day!
    I am now going to listen to the 'Chicken Fat' song ;-)

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    1. I don't eat fried chicken or chicken fat any more. Not sure I would even like it. But, strangely, as a child, I was not overweight - because I was active!

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  6. I have to admit, this was the first time I ever heard the chicken fat song. I'm disgusted to learn that chicken fat was a problem when I was only a year old, too!

    I listened to the short version. Good thing I didn't listen to the longer one. I don't want this song in my head all evening. ROFL :)

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    1. Bonnie, it sure is catchy! I wonder what President Kennedy would have thought, had he been able to look into the future.

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