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franklin county times

Foreign policy, Hussein and the rooster booster'

By By Robert St. John / food columnist
Nov. 28, 2002
Robert St. John is the executive chef/owner of New South Restaurant Group, www.nsrg.com. His weekly food column appears in newspapers in Mississippi and Louisiana. He can be reached at robert@nsrg.com or (601) 264-0672.
One of the world's largest purchasers of chicken is the United States Department of Defense.
The Department of Defense buys millions of pounds of poultry each year. But not all of the chickens are winding up in military mess halls and soldier's stomachs. Some are being used as ammunition.
Yes folks, the newest weapon in the U.S. military arsenal is not an Apache helicopter, a laser-guided missile or a stealth bomber. It's a chicken cannon.
At the Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee, the U.S. Air Force is using chicken cannons to test the strength of airplane windshields. The test was invented to see if windshields could withstand an invasion by a flock of birds.
The test is performed by loading chickens into a 60-foot cannon and shooting them at speeds exceeding 900 mph at airplane windshields. The idea is to simulate the effect of a slow-moving bird flying into the windshield of a fast-moving jet.
The typical "bird package" (read: chicken missile) is a 4-pound fryer wrapped in plastic and loaded into a special shell casing that stays in the air-powered cannon after the bird is shot at the plane.
Note: I knew a guy that used to make potato cannons. Could it be that the potato cannon was invented to make sure pick-up truck windshields could withstand the impact of renegade flying spuds in Idaho?
A year ago there was an urban-legend hoax circulating on the Internet about chicken cannons. Supposedly The Brits used a frozen bird while firing chickens at aircraft windshields. It's not true. However, it is true that the U.S. Department of Defense uses chicken cannons to test aircraft windshields. Apparently, planes crash on a regular basis due to birds flying into and breaking airplane windshields.
With the war rhetoric heating up, this got me thinking. We could save tons of money in the national budget if we stopped making all of those high-tech weapons and built only chicken cannons. I say load up all of the chicken guns on a transport aircraft and ship them over to Afghanistan and Iraq.
We could kill two birds with one stone (pun intended). We could fire chickens at Saddam Hussein, the Royal Guard and the Taliban and then leave the fryers out in the sand to feed the hungry people who, after 4000 years of living in a dessert, have yet to figure out that food won't grow in the dessert. It would be the only bomb in history that is finger-licking good!
Think about it, we could get rid of the bad guys and at the same time put a "chicken in every pot." It would be the world's first simultaneous bombing mission and humanitarian-relief effort. It would give a whole new meaning (and positive spin) to the term "cockfighting."
If Saddam holes up in one of his palaces and won't come out, we could use live chickens in the cannon and shoot them through the palace windows. This would be a surefire way to dethrone the dictator. Have you ever been near a chicken house on a hot summer day? Chickens stink.
After a few days of getting pummeled by live chickens from the rooster booster, Saddam would be begging to surrender. The funk alone would drive him out of his palace and allow us to replace him with a less "fowl" dictator.
I think I could sell this plan to Trent Lott and Thad Cochran. Poultry is a big industry in Mississippi. California would no longer have the edge in defense contracts.
Move over, Boeing, here comes Sanderson Farms! Between Mississippi and Arkansas, we could raise all of the ammo needed to bomb hundreds of countries and dictators into complete and total oblivion. Watch out Castro, here comes the 7th Armored Yardbird Division!
However, there are drawbacks to my plan. Currently, there are more than 3 billion chickens in China. Not only does China have the most people, they have the most chickens.
Therefore, they have the most ammo. With a supply in excess of 3 billion chickens, communist China, if provoked, could chicken-bomb us to smithereens. But, then again, I do like Chinese take-out. Think about it, start a world war and it's sweet and sour chicken for everyone.
Maybe my son has a future in the chicken cannon division of the U.S. Air Force. He is good at breaking things.
Chicken and Wild Rice
4 tablespoons clarified butter
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup red peppers, diced
1/2 cup green bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 pounds chicken, seasoned, cooked and cubed
1 cup Stir-Fry Sauce
6 cups wild rice, cooked
6 pineapple slices
Fresh parsley
In a large skillet, heat butter over high heat and saut mushrooms until tender. Add peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook for 3n4 more minutes. Add rice. Add chicken and stir-fry sauce and heat thoroughly. Cook pineapple slices on a hot grill, or sear them until golden brown in a hot skillet. Garnish rice with pineapple and chopped parsley.
Yield: 6 servings.