The discovery of fire is often considered the single most galvanising factor in the advent of modern civilisation and presented prehistoric humans with a new way of food consumption—grilling. The roasted meat and greens quickly became a revitalising as well as tantalising way of sustenance. Chicken happens to be the overwhelming choice for roast in most modern cuisines since the roasted chicken guarantees a bombardment of flavours, aromas, and meat juice in every passionate bite.
Though modern pre-heated ovens serve as a negotiable alternative to traditional clay and iron variants, the ingredients used to make a perfectly sumptuous and flavourful roast have remained unchanged for centuries. The dish is prepared using a whole chicken dressed in a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, butter, pepper, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. On close observation, the modern chicken roast is quite like the medieval recipe Chicken Endored, widely believed to be a favourite of King Richard I, literary references of which can be found in 15th century England. One of the other popular methods of roasting the chicken started in medieval France and involved passing a rotating spit skewer through the chicken body. This is probably the way Rotisserie Chicken came into existence.
Though foul roast is a customary inclusion in all Thanksgiving meals, turkey is the modern choice of bird for the dish. However, chicken has historically enjoyed a more reputed position than turkey, and so chicken roast in a Thanksgiving feast was a medieval symbol of aristocracy. The crunchy outer skin and the soft moist flesh has helped the Chicken Roast transgress cultural boundaries and become synonymous to feasts and celebrations worldwide. For instance, the Peruvian cuisine holds an interesting story of the dish’s local origin. Legend has it that Roger Shuler, a Swiss-born poultry owner in Lima, was facing an issue selling his chickens in the 1950s. Fearful that the birds will die and be left of no commercial use, he decided to create a dish that involved cooking a marinated chicken on slow heat over algarroba coals, giving rise to the Pollo a la Brasa.
There are differing opinions though, which refute a western origin of the chicken roast and consider the dish to have originated during the Indus Valley Civilisation, arguably the cradle of chicken domestication, as archaeological evidence of charred chicken bones suggest. It is also believed that Tandoori Chicken may have been inspired from this ancient custom, just as much as the other Chicken Roast recipes of the world.