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Is a Cornish Hen Really a Chicken?

There is a contest going on for the best recipe on cooking chicken. I have a great recipe for cooking Cornish hens. This may sound stupid, but would a Cornish hen recipe be acceptable in such a contest? As Gertrude Stein said, "a rose is a rose is a rose." So I think, "a chicken is a chicken is a chicken," — therefore I should be able to enter this contest. Right or Wrong?

Of course you're right.

There seems to be a lot of confusion over such terms as hen, chicken, rooster, roaster, poussin, cock, fryer, stewing hen, capon, squab chicken, etc., etc., as if they are all different species. They're not. There may be different breeds involved, as a Cornish hen is a cross of several breeds of chicken, but they are all from the same family — Gallus domesticus. The family they belong to (Phasianidae), includes pheasants, quails, and peafowl (peacocks). We hereby officially endorse your saying, "a chicken is a chicken is a chicken."

Theoretically "hen" refers to a girl and "rooster" refers to a boy, but of course, as revealed elsewhere at Ochef, even such apparently clear-cut distinctions can be misleading.

Enter your recipe in the contest, If any of those judges give you a hard time, tell them to get in touch with us. We'll set them straight in a hurry.

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