I was preparing a recipe that called for a fowl. That's not so unusual; fowl are tough old birds, stringier and better suited for the stockpot than for roasting or frying. Fowl are used instead of younger birds when flavor is important and tenderness is not.
But I encountered an unexpected complication. At Compare Foods in downtown Worcester, I found Fresh Heavy Fowl and Fresh Light Fowl - what to do? The heavy fowl was much more expensive per pound (although still cheap), but I had no other clues. So I came home and did some more research. Here's what I learned.
Chickens are raised for meat or for laying eggs, and the birds that are bred to be good at one are not so well suited for the other. Of course, the ones bred for meat come from eggs, too, but those eggs are laid by big meaty mamas.
When either type reaches the end of her laying life, it is slaughtered for fowl. The meat-producer chickens become heavy fowl and the egg-producing chickens become light fowl. Since you're looking for flavor, the heavy fowl is the superior choice for stocks and stews.