By Michelle CramptonAUSTRALIA’S favourite food is not the traditional meatballs or the crispy chicken or the creamy potato chips.
But it is the chicken and bacon and the corn chips.
“There’s nothing wrong with eating chicken, it’s a great food,” says Dr Sarah MacLaren.
“But I’d say if you’re going to have a dinner party, it would be a good idea to eat chicken with a side of bacon and a side or two of corn chips.”
For Dr MacLAREN, who is the Associate Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of New South Wales, the “food revolution” that is taking place in Australia has more to do with the “big changes” happening in the food industry and the food-conscious consumer.
“The whole reason I was interested in eating chicken was because I was really interested in the whole food revolution and the way that the food supply is being transformed, and it’s very exciting,” she says.
“And I think we’re just getting started.”
Chicken, not bacon, is the new foodThe research team’s latest project involved creating a new recipe of chicken and corn for a recipe called “Chicken and Corn Chips”.
The new recipe is a mixture of both chicken and chickpeas, which are cooked to a crisp and fried in a mixture that can be made in a variety of ways, including frying in oil, baking, grilling or baking in a bread pan.
“It’s a combination of chicken, bacon, and corn, all in one recipe,” Dr MacLAhen explains.
“We wanted to create something that would look different to a traditional chicken and it has to have the flavour that it has in it.”
What’s really interesting about it is that we’re using the whole corn, the whole chicken, all the flavour.
“I think it’s really easy to make and really easy for people to follow.”
So we’ve got a whole chicken that is cooked to crispness, a whole chickpease that’s cooked to be soft and golden and crispy and fried, and all that is put in a flour batter and baked to perfection.””
Chicken and corn is a food revolution”Dr MacLALEN says she’s seen a “huge increase” in the popularity of chicken dishes and chicken-related food items over the past few years.”
Now there are a lot of food chains that are catering to the millennial generation, so I think there’s a lot more people who are trying to incorporate these things into their daily diet,” she explains.
Dr MacLAHEN says the new recipe has attracted the attention of some major food chains, including McDonalds and Chipotle, as well as food manufacturers and retailers like Red Lobster and Pizza Hut.”
They’re using it as a brand, and I think it really resonates with people,” she reveals.”
Some people are getting a little bit annoyed that they can’t just buy chicken, but the thing is that they have a choice.
“This is a great recipe and it really shows that people are starting to understand the value of chicken.”
For more on the research team, visit the University’s website here.
Dr McLAhen says the next step is to make a commercial version of the recipe.
“If we can do a commercial one, then that would be great,” she said.
“For the time being, we’ve just been trying to keep it simple and just make a bit of money doing it.
But she said the research was also important for the future of the food and farming industries.”
A lot of our generation is looking for healthier options and the whole generation is eating a lot less meat.
“As we get older, there’s more emphasis on food, so it’s important for us to look at what we eat and to make sure that we’ve done a good job,” she adds.
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