"No farmyard gadabout, she!"

Browsing Google's extensive library of old issues of Life magazine, I came upon an ad that reminded me of a recent Commonweal Last Word -- "Free Birds," by Michael Peppard. You may recall that Peppard wrote about the dilemma of ethical meat-eating, and in particular his impulse to choose free-range chicken over the cruelly caged kind, if possible. This ad for Birds Eye chicken makes it clear that consumer expectations were very different in 1942:

Dominating the Easter dinner...golden brown, tender and juicy! Proud of her noble lineage, this appetizing Birds Eye Roasting Chicken is the meatiest bird that ever strutted its superb chicken flavor smack into your oven! No farmyard gadabout, she! Her entire life has been devoted to tenderness -- to enforced ease. Fattened up on buttermilk and cereals -- this U.S. Government-inspected, Grade A chicken, boasts 10% more white meat than busy show-off scratchers!

Hard to imagine that copy moving much product today. It's also hard to imagine an ad for poultry going into the same level of detail in describing the farm-to-table process (see item 3 in particular). I know I prefer not to see the word "waste" in food-related advertisements more than once. (But then, I'm a vegetarian.)

I was perusing the archives in order to write an Easter-themed guest post for a friend's blog. My friend Stephen -- "The Lazy Scholar" -- blogs about the digital resources he comes across in his work (or in procrastinating from same). He pointed me toward a few fascinating sources for my post about the secular side of Easter, like the University of Louisville's Newton Owen Postcard Collection, where I found this early-twentieth-century gem:happy-easterWhat better way to wish you a happy third Sunday of Easter?

Mollie Wilson O'Reilly is an editor at large and columnist at Commonweal.

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