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Cornish Hen History

Cornish hens were bred to appeal to foodies

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Cornish Hen

© 2006 Peggy Trowbridge

Cornish Hen History

One food historian credits chicken mogul Donald John Tyson for creating the Rock Cornish game hen by cross-breeding White Rock hens and Cornish hens in 1965. His intent was alledgedly to create a specialty item at a higher price to appeal to a fast-growing contingent of consumers referred to in our contemporary times as foodies.

However, other sources credit Alphonsine and Jacques Makowsky of Connecticut for developing this small bird some ten years earlier. Their intent was similar, to breed a small chicken with mostly white meat suitable for a single serving. The Makowskys sold their business in 1967.

The U.S. patent and trademark files show no ownership filings for the breed. Perhaps the origin confusion arises as a combined result of the sale of the Makowsky business and the commercial success of Tyson in marketing these little tasty birds.

In addition to commanding a higher price, the game hens have a shorter growing span, 28 to 30 days as opposed to 42 or more for regular chicken. In spite of the higher prices for all things small these days, Cornish game hens are still quite affordable.

Two-thirds of Cornish game hens sold in the United States come from Tyson Foods, Inc.

More About Cornish Hens

Cornish Hen Selection, Storage, and Freezing
Cornish Hen Cooking Tips
Cornish Hen History
Cornish Hen Recipes
Cornish Hen Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.

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