Ranch Dressing Is Ruining America’s Endangered Chicken-Wing Supply

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Who eats chicken wings with ranch dressing? Photo: iStockphoto

Your halftime snacks are in the danger zone: Thanks to last summer's drought, chicken-wing prices are up to an average of $2.11 per pound in the Northeast. The USDA says that's the highest recorded price ever, and we believe them. (As a comparison, three years ago the all-time high was $1.47 per pound.) This means a mere 1.23 billion chicken-wing segments will be consumed during the Super Bowl, LiveScience reports, down 12.3 million from last year.

The National Chicken Council says this is all thanks to last summer's drought, which scorched and wrecked corn crops, which led to less animal feed, which in turn led to a one percent drop in chicken production nationwide. So, a few million fewer chickens are stalking the factory feedlot, but one possible bright side is that global warming has created a situation where there'll be fewer drumettes in your buffet, thus the potential for fewer sauce stains on your favorite jersey, meaning you're less likely to wash your collectible jersey. You'll use less detergent, save water, and help the environment in the process, so maybe next year chicken wings will drop in price. Gaia finds a way! (Just don't serve Sloppy Joes.)

Anyhow, now there's something else at stake here. The chicken-wing-crisis article also includes a shocking nugget of information:

More and more, wing devotees' have abandoned the piquancy of blue cheese dip in favor of the anodyne neutrality of ranch dressing now favored by almost six in 10 U.S. adults. Only a third of the purist faithful remain.

Wait — who eats ranch dressing with chicken wings? No one we know. Isn't ranch dressing for people who wear oversize cable-knit sweaters and bicycle skirts?

If this ranch thing is true, it seems like the good blue (or bleu, as we like to spell it) cheese producers of the USA will be among the hardest hit come game day. It's time for all of us, clearly, to man up and make some dip.

Super Bowl Fans Cry 'Fowl' Over Chicken Wing Shortage [LiveScience]
Earlier: Chicken Wings Rise