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chicken

File photo / Kansas News Service

Stories of small-town Kansas usually deal with issues like population decline, the brain drain or boarded up downtowns and food deserts. A different story played out last year in Tonganoxie, a growing town of about 5,000 people that rejected a proposal for a chicken plant that would offer more than 1,000 jobs. On this episode, we dig into Tonganoxie, a town where the population is changing and where the controversy over a poultry plant has raised questions about what that change will look like in the future.

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

Last September, the ground shifted under the small town of Tonganoxie, Kansas, about 35 miles due west of Kansas City.

When word got out that Tyson Foods, Inc. was ready to announce it would soon break ground just outside town on a $320 million poultry complex — a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill — opponents organized immediately.

Aixois Bistro/Facebook

Kansas City might be known as a meat-and-potatoes town, but fried chicken has long been popular here.

“Fried chicken is popular because it’s inexpensive, usually, and it tastes good,” Charles Ferruzza told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Besides that, Ferruzza said, “It travels well — it’s just as good cold as it is hot.”

Segment 1: How to grill sausages and burgers.

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, and many Kansas Citians will be pulling out the grill for backyard cookouts. The owner of a butcher shop/restaurant shares his tips on the best way to cook sausages and burgers on the grill. Plus, a local chef on how he went from cooking in fine dining restaurants to opening a fried chicken joint.

File photo / Kansas Public Radio

Last fall’s dramatic public backlash against plans for a massive poultry operation in northeast Kansas could lead to a change in law.

Two lawmakers whose districts include Tonganoxie — a small, rural commuter town between Lawrence and Kansas City — want to give local residents a say on whether they’ll be neighbors to a chicken plant.

Voters in the county of any proposed large-scale facility for caging or slaughtering poultry would be able to force a public vote on the matter by gathering enough signatures on a petition.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons file photo

December 1 means the countdown is on, and we're not talking about Christmas. With just two weeks left for open enrollment on the federal health care marketplace, our experts are back to help answer all your "how" questions. Then, a conversation about America's favorite meat.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Chicken isn't the most exciting protein.

“It’s like the vodka of the food world,” Food Critic Jenny Vergara told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR's Central Standard. “It takes on the flavor of whatever you put in it or put with it.”

But that’s the beauty of chicken — and why it’s a beloved staple in many cultures. Whether you like it fried, roasted or grilled, in strips or shredded (and, for the kids, in nugget form), you can find chicken at all price points.

Jules / Flickr -- CC

Which came first? Well, on this show, it's the egg. An eggs-pert (sorry, had to) tells us why the shell and yolk color can vary — and whether it makes a difference in taste.

Plus, a visit to Niecie's Restaurant to find out more about their chicken and waffles, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best chicken dishes in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Central Missouri farmer Gary Wenig plans to plant trap crops around his high tunnel in an effort to stop pests from eating his produce.
Kristofor Husted / Harvest Public Media

In an effort to turn away from chemical pesticides, which have the potential to damage the environment, some farmers are looking in a new direction in the age-old, quiet struggle on farm fields of farmers versus pests. They’re warding off intruding insects and noxious weeds with bugs and chickens.

USDA / Flickr creative commons

Food safety regulators are hoping new rules will reduce the number of Americans sickened by salmonella bacteria found on the chicken they eat. Currently, salmonella is estimated to cause about 1 million illnesses a year.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

What’s not to love about fried chicken? There’s the crispy, crackling exterior and a juicy interior. It’s portable and best eaten with your hands, making it the perfect picnic fare — especially for this holiday weekend.

It can be served hot or cold, and don’t forget the sides: Mashed potatoes, green beans, pasta salad, fresh corn and tomatoes, biscuits and so much more (cinnamon rolls, anyone?).

“It’s the ultimate comfort food,” Food Critic Charles Ferruzza told Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

And don’t worry the health factor, despite what Ferruzza says —“It’s a guilty pleasure because you should feel guilty eating it!”

On Friday’s Central Standard, chef Derek Nacey from Blvd Tavern told us about his Korean fried chicken dish, then the Food Critics searched out the best fried chicken in and around Kansas City — here's what they came up with.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Some say that local government is the toughest branch, because it’s closest to the people.

For Mission, Kansas Mayor Steve Schowengerdt, it's easy.

“If you're honest and talk straight the people tell you what they want and what they don't like and you adjust,” he says.  

Schowengerdt stopped by KCUR studios to talk with Up To Date host Steve Kraske about the meatiest issues on Mission's table. 

Here are five questions Kraske asked the Mayor:

Just how risky is eating poultry? On this edition of Up to Date, we look at salmonella contamination in poultry processing and the health risks to consumers.

Guests:

  • David E. Hoffman is the correspondent for Frontline's The Trouble with Chicken. He is also a Pulitzer Prize winner and a contributing editor at The Washington Post.
  • Peggy Lowe is the investigative editor for KCUR and Harvest Public Media that follows agricultural issues in the Midwest.

andrewlawler.com

A descendant of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the chicken has made a legendary and winding journey from pre-history to our dinner plates. In his new book, Why Did the Chicken Cross the World? The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization science writer Andrew Lawler provides an account of the long partnership between human and chicken.

The Business Of Meat In America

Feb 25, 2014

This country's meat industry no longer includes the picturesque red barn and white picket fences. Instead, the meat we buy at the supermarket is likely processed by one of the four large meat packing companies that controls the majority of the industry.

On today's Central Standard, journalist and author Christopher Leonard discusses his book "The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business." Also, Mark Dopp of the American Meat Institute weighs in on what he perceives as the benefits of having a more centralized system.

Thank goodness he doesn't know what's going on inside.

Candice Ludlow of member station WKNO today helps All Things Considered ketchup ... er catch up ... on a story that's been cooking for a week or so in Tennessee.

It seems that a big red rooster has been hanging out in front of a restaurant in Collierville, Tenn., for the past few months.

But it's not just any restaurant.