Every time I roast a whole turkey or chicken, my husband can't wait to get his hands on it. It's not so much a matter of practicing his carving skills with a knife. Instead it's that moment when the bird is finally cool enough to handle. Then, and only then, does he reach out to do it, no knife involved. His "moment" has arrived.
He gently grabs a piece with one hand, carefully peeling back the skin. (The look of anticipation on his face, by the way, reminds me of how I must look when I am in an ice cream shop, watching the kid behind the counter dig his scoop into some double- mocha chip.) And then, into his mouth the skin goes, with me looking on and thinking: No! It's chicken skin! It's bad! But I've learned to keep my mouth shut, since he's gonna do it anyway. And really, I only roast a turkey once a year (on Thanksgiving) and the times I cook chicken I remove – and discard - the skin myself.
I haven't told him yet, but the April issue of Cooking Light magazine will make my DH very happy. It features an article called "10 Nutrition Myths that shouldn't keep you from the foods you love."
Among the 10 is this myth: "You should always remove chicken skin before eating." The article says that it's okay to enjoy a chicken breast – skin-on – without blowing your saturated fat budget. In fact, they say, if you eat a chicken breast with its skin as opposed one that's been stripped of it (okay, call me a killjoy), you're only paying with an additional 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 50 calories. And, the article says, a little more than half of the fat in the chicken skin is monosaturated fat (the heart-healthy kind).
You probably also like that news (unless you're a vegetarian or vegan, of course). I'm no nutritionist (and I'm sure there will be many who will not adhere to calling these "myths"), but it makes sense to me, as long as you don't make a constant diet of chicken skin. Comes back to what I always think is best in life – and that is non-deprivation with a generous dose of moderation sprinkled in.
In case you haven't read it, here are some other myths the article, written by registered dietician Julie Upton, are busting:
- Added sugar is always bad for you ("Sugar balances the flavors in healthy foods that might not taste so great on their own.")
- Eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels ("Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body.")
- All saturated fats raise blood cholesterol ("New research shows that some saturated fats don't.")
- The only heart-friendly alcohol is red wine ("Beer, wine, and liquors all confer the same health benefits.")
- Adding salt to the pot adds sodium to the food ("Salt added to boiling water may actually make vegetables more nutritious.")
- Fried foods are always too fatty ("Oil absorption into the food is minimized…when the frying is done right.")
- The more fiber you eat, the better ("Not all fibers are equally beneficial. Consider the source.")
- Organic foods are more nutritious than conventional ("There are many reasons to choose organic, but nutrition isn't one of them.")
- Cooking olive oil destroys its health benefits ("Even delicate extra-virgin oils can take the heat without sacrificing nutrition.")
I used to eat chicken skin occasionally as a kid, and must have stopped when I became conscious of the health "rules." I can't say I'll revert back to that old habit, but maybe, just maybe, next Thanksgiving I'll look at my husband just a bit differently when his hand dips into that forbidden fruit, er, turkey skin.