The Chicken Story

A CENTURY AGO you’d eat steak and lobster when you couldn’t afford chicken. Today it can cost less than the potatoes you serve with. What happened in the years between was an extraordinary marriage of technology and the market.

King Henri IV of France was a great king. He was also, perhaps, the world’s first real politician—for in the course of his ten-year battle to secure the French throne for the Bourbon dynasty he began deliberately enlisting public opinion and even invented the political slogan to help him do so. Instinctively knowing the shortest route to his people’s hearts, he told them, “I want there to be no peasant in my kingdom so poor that he is unable to have a chicken in his pot every Sunday.” Read more »

Morning On The Upper Delaware

A canoe trip along a river not far from industrial America reveals that the footprints of human history have been all but covered over by what looks like a primeval paradise

We slid the canoe into the river just above Skinner’s Falls, which is not really a falls but a rift, the word locals use for rapids. I had tried once before to run it and got hung up halfway through, cutting too close to the right bank down what looked like a safe channel but turned out on closer acquaintance not to be. This time I very much wanted to make the run cleanly. That was my son, Evan, sitting up in the bow, and while he knew me too well to be overly impressed by anything I did, it would have been nice to have, however modestly, shone.Read more »