“Speaking of Euphemisms”

After finding that in such far flung places as South Africa and the Midwest everyone calls that piece of chicken a “thigh,” I wondered if this was just an idiosyncrasy of my family. I followed Charlie’s advice and looked on line for any explanation.

Oddly, the only place I found the name “second joint” for the thigh was in a discussion from the state of Texas. No one in my family ever came from Texas, but the writing struck a chord. Apparently, in a bow to modesty, thighs were called “second joints” and breasts were called “white meat.” Both of those were how my mother referred to the pieces. I had, in fact, never heard her call the parts pictured above chicken breasts.

While my mother would never have been reluctant to say either “thigh” or “breast” about chicken pieces, I imagine she learned her usage from her mother. Grannie was very proper. Once when I was 11 we were playing Scrabble. I formed the word “nit” from letters. She was appalled, wanting to know both how I knew that word and why I hadn’t formed “tin.” She was further horrified to learn that my upper middle class school had dealt with a lice infestation and we all learned the word “nit.”

Sadly, apart from butchering instructions, I found no other mention of the phrase “second joint.” I guess the “thighs have it.” (Couldn’t resist.)

14 thoughts on ““Speaking of Euphemisms”

  1. If I’m buying them ‘loose’ I’ll ask for chicken breasts but if it involves a whole bird I’ll offer or ask for the ‘white meat’. Not a fan of the Parsons Nose, though to some it’s a delicacy.

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