FW: [opensource] CSE 560 advice

Mark Noble noble.48 at osu.edu
Sun May 21 19:43:15 EDT 2006

Sure we rationalize our use of "light" and "dark" now, but linguists focus
on the origins.  The science that supports referring to meat as light and
dark has developed since the switch.  And the birds that that people were
eating back in the days of the Puritans that were behind the switch tended
to eat a lot of flightless birds, so I'd guess that's why the terms as
commonly used tend to be skewed in favor of flightless birds.

I wonder if breast meat is light or dark on a penguin.


-----Original Message-----
From: opensource-bounces at cse.ohio-state.edu
[mailto:opensource-bounces at cse.ohio-state.edu] On Behalf Of Matthew Lang
Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2006 6:26 PM
To: opensource at cse.ohio-state.edu
Subject: Re: [opensource] CSE 560 advice

Mark Noble wrote:
> Profanity is just superstition, and the words that offend change over
> We call poultry meat "dark" and "light" because people decided to be 
> offended at the mention of "breast" or "thigh".  Thank heavens we've 
> lightened up.

Technically, we call poultry meat "dark" and "light" because of its color.
Dark meat refers to slow-twitch muscles, which develop a dark, reddish color
due to a higher myoglobin content.  White meat is comprised of mostly
fast-twitch muscles with a lower myoglobin content.

Poultry species usually use their legs for standing for long periods of time
and thus their legs are made up of slow-twitch muscles, whereas the
flightless modern chicken rarely uses its breasts and thus is mostly made of
fast-twich muscle fiber.

However, if you ever eat a bird that flies often, like squab or duck, their
breast and wing meat is dark.

Opensource lurker and foodie,

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