City Chicken (1931, 1932)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Nov 9 03:59:31 UTC 2003

LOS ANGELES TIMES UPDATE--ProQuest is now at December 31, 1945.  Still no Caesar!

RED VELVET CAKE--I forgot to mention my "Waldorf Cake" cites in the archives.  Is that different?  "Astoria Cake" didn't turn up much.


   "City chicken" is not in OED, not in DARE, and not in HDAS.  I made it up.
   There are about 2,300 Google hits.  I haven't yet checked the Ancestry database (I do that at home with a special browser), but I doubt it's much earlier than what's been found here.

From: Patricia L. Green (patgreen at
Subject: Re: City chicken (was Re: Prairie Oyster)
Date: 1995/04/05

Well, I came up with an article on "City Chicken" that was published in
The Philadelphia Inquirer a couple years ago. The author of the column
was Marilynn Marter. She wrote:

"City chicken seems to have starred during the Depression, when chicken
was the more expensive meat. Veal and/or pork was used to simulate the
look and taste of chicken. After fading a bit during WWII, what with the
meat shortages, it continued in use until the '60's.

In fact, you are likely to find it still on restaurant menus in
Polish-American communities, where it is believed to have originated.

Now diners are more inclined to think of it as breaded veal cubes than as
imitation chicken.

This is a somewhat updated version of the recipe."


1 lb boneless veal shoulder, trimmed of fat, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes.
1 lb boneless pork roast, trimmed of fat, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes.
Seasoned flour
1 large egg
2 TB water
1 cup fine bread crumbs
4 TB shortening
1 cup chicken broth
2 TB grated onion

Arrange veal and pork cubes alternately on six 6-inch wooden skewers,
using 5 or 6 cubes on each skewer. Roll the meat in flour seasoned to
taste with salt and pepper, shaking off excess. (Do not stack skewers.
Lay side by side.) With a fork, whisk together egg and water. Roll or dip
the skewered meat in the egg mixture. Then roll the skewers in bread
crumbs, pressing lightly to coat well. Melt shortening in a skillet and
brown the meat evenly on all sides. Do not crowd the skewers.

Add chicken broth and grated onion, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour.
Or, transfer skewers to a casserole or baking dish, add broth, cover, and
bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. For a crisper coating, remove cover for
the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Some recipes call for baking the browned meat without the chicken
broth. For this method, transfer the browned meat skewers to a baking pan
and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and continue
baking for 15 minutes more or until done.

      Requested Recipes
      Marian Manners.       Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File).       Los Angeles, Calif.: Aug 10, 1931.                   p. A8 (1 page):
   Mrs. J. F. G.  Your request for "City Chicken" suggests something that "jes ain't," as the dear ole mammy used to say.  We are therefore giving you the following, "Mock Drumsticks," with the note that they do taste like chicken, although not composed of it.  Two-thirds pounds of veal , two-thirds pound pork, two eggs, four tablespoonfuls cold water, one and one-half cupfuls milk, cracker crumbs, six tablespoonfuls fat and salt and pepper to taste.  Cut the meat into two-inch squares, and stick on wooden skewers, alternating pork and veal.  This gives the apeparance of drum sticks.  Allow one drumstick to each person.  Dip the meat first into the beaten egg ti which the water has been added, then roll in cracker crumbs and fry in fat until well browned on all sides.  Season with salt and pepper; add the milk and cover and cook for one hour in a slow oven--300 deg.

      Today's Menu
       Merian Manners.       Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File).       Los Angeles, Calif.: May 5, 1932.                   p. A7 (1 page):
   One and one-half pounds veal steak, one and one-half pounds pork steak, one teaspoonful salt, one-fourth teaspoonful paprika, one-half cupful flour, four tablespoonfuls fat, two tablespoonfuls chopped onions, two tablespoonfuls chopped green peppers, two tablespoonfuls chopped celery, one cupful water.
   Have steaks cut one-half-inch thick and then cut into one-inch pieces.  Alternate pork and veal pieces on skewers, allowing six pieces to each serving.  Sprinkle with salt, paprika and flour.  Heat fat in frying pan.  Add and brown meat.  Add rest of ingredients, cover and bake for hour in moderate oven.  Inspect frequently and turn the "chicken" to allow even cooking.  When ready to serve place chop frills on the ends of the skewers.

(Tastes like chicken?--ed.)

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