This American Life: Poultry Slam

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’re long-time fans of “This American Life” from Chicago Public Radio and always enjoy the show’s annual holiday “Poultry Slam” episodes, which bring us “stories of turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, fowl of all kinds, real and imagined, and their mysterious hold over us.” Read on for some highlights and a funny video of host Ira Glass explaining how the show eventually led him to vegetarianism.

It’s hard to narrow it down, but we’ve picked out a few memorable stories. Full episodes can be streamed for free online, or downloaded for $0.95 a piece.

Episode 343 (2007), Act Two, “Last Meal”
Knowing he was about to die, French President Francois Mitterand chose for his last meal a tiny bird that is eaten with a napkin covering your head – a food that is actually illegal in France. For this piece, a writer heads to France to seek out the dish.

Episode 145 (1999), Act Two, “Still Life With Chicken”
Food writer Jonathan Gold accidentally adopts a chicken after losing his nerve to kill it during a performance art piece.

Episode 252 (2003), Act Three, “Chicken Diva”
An opera about Chicken Little is performed with decorated styrofoam balls, in Italian.

Episode 116 (1998), Act Three, “People Who Love Chickens and Hate”
A chicken advocate launches a letter-writing campaign against “This American Life” and the “Poultry Slam.” As Ira Glass explains in the clip below, her campaign impacted him personally, though the slam continues.