I knew that our culture was circling the drain the day we were in a Southern Cooking establishment in Nashville, Tennessee, and we wanted fried chicken. "Just dark meat, please," said my wife. "I'm sorry, ma'am," the waitress replied, "but all's we got is the breasts." We were beyond flabbergasted. This wasn't Connecticut, dammit, this here's NASHVILLE. "What on earth do you do with the dark pieces?" we gasped. "Oh, we don't get those, we jes' buy the breasts. Thass what everone wants anyways." "Everyone? How about you?" "Oh, yeah...I'm sorry, but I think dark meat's jes' gross."
And then one of the local food writers, a woman whose reviews we followed every week, allowed as how she'd been grossed out - that word again - by being served some chicken salad that had (Ugh! Shudder!) dark meat mixed right in there. Of course we put the offending establishment on our list of must-tries, and wondered just what the hell had gotten into everybody.
We still wonder. Of course, Mrs. O and I both come from families whose tastes run towards flavor rather than delicacy, especially when it's fowl we're talking about. Except for the ever-popular wishbone (popular for the bone, that is), breast meat was always what was left over from any chicken dinner. Mrs. O's family unanimously regards breast meat as good only for sandwiches, or chicken salad (with LOTS of mayonnaise). The Thanksgiving turkey is always cooked with two extra whole legs.
Living in SoCal as we do now, we have lots of Latinos and Asians whose dietary customs value legs and thighs, so it's much easier to come by such wonderful items as boned thigh meat around here. Still, I wonder what the rest of the country is doing...