When ordering fried chicken thighs, a certain fast-food joint and all the local supermarket delis pass off backs as thighs. Upon questioning employees, they appear to have no chicken thighs in stock and, despite assurances otherwise, are ignorant of the difference between parts of the chicken. Obviously, no farm-grown people here. What is Action Line's take on this foul situation? - Lover of Thighs
Actually, it's a fowl situation.
How can you NOT distinguish a thigh from a back?
So Action Line contacted the highest authority on the matter, the potentate of poultry: the National Chicken Council in Washington, D.C.
"I've never heard of that before," exclaimed Richard Lobb, the council's director of communications. "A back is a back, and a thigh is a thigh."
The National Chicken Council promotes and protects the interests of the chicken industry and is the industry's voice before Congress and federal agencies. Its member producer-processors account for about 95 percent of U.S. chickens sent to market.
Apparently, Durango not only lacks any fashion sense but also suffers from a dearth of poultry acumen.
Lobb pointed out that backs have a lot of meat but too many bones to be mistaken for thighs, plus there is a lot of fat on the spine.
He speculated that local mystery "thighs" might be trimmings from somewhere else on the chicken, and "they (the fried-food outlets) shouldn't be doing that," Lobb warned.
The chicken industry has an eight-piece standard cut for each bird: two each of breasts, thighs, wings and drumsticks.
Action Line asked if the National Chicken Council had a butchering "parts chart" for chickens, like the one for cows showing the different cuts of meat.
Action Line gladly would distribute them to local chicken establishments as a public service to promote pullet awareness.
"Unfortunately, we don't have a good one," Lobb lamented.
In the meantime, if presented with imposter chicken thighs, voice your concerns higher up in the pecking order. Don't be afraid to ruffle the feathers of the manager.
I am appalled at the number of rafters and tubers going down the Animas River not wearing life jackets or shoes. What are they thinking? Locals should know better, and others should be educated. The water is cold, which makes accidental swimming even for strong swimmers problematic, and the rocks are horrible to walk on barefooted. - MLF (Please don't publish my name)
Even Mrs. Action Line was shocked to witness an amazing display of aquatic idiocy last week when a couple of sun-fried morons on leaky air mattresses headed toward the Main Avenue bridge with lots of PBR and no PFD.
For the uninitiated, PBR is Pabst Blue Ribbon, a cheap beer. PFD stands for Personal Flotation Device, a life vest.
According to the city's Web site, "River users must wear a Coast Guard-approved life vest. Helmets and secure foot gear are recommended for individual crafts."
And, as previously announced, the local constabulary is cracking down on open containers.
In other words, without using words, get a PFD PDQ, and drop the PBR.
However, don't think the city is a killjoy. Our town actually supports cruising down the river on an inflatable car part.
It reminds tubers to ride the free trolley with deflated tubes and has installed a free pump station at the 29th Street put-in.
"Tubing is recommended in the warmer and lower water (under 800 cubic feet per second) on the Animas River in July and August," according the city's Web site.
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you can hasten the monsoon so this place can cool down a little.