I am reading one of the stories in an article from 1843 Magazine. The title of the article is "Suffering from shortages? How to survive without puppies, fake tan or IKEA." The title of this story is "Bare supermarket shelves? How to make chicken soup without chicken".

In this part, the author talks about the poultry shortages caused by the pandemic and Brexit, and puts forward some recipes to make dishes without chicken.

Yet still, we must eat. While we dream of chicken, here are some replacement options for some of my favourite chicken dishes – minus the bird. Though the texture and flavour will be forever unmatched, come dinner time, these alternatives should still thrill.

I have no idea what "minus the bird" means here. It doesn't make any sense to me when I read it literally, so what's the meaning behind it?

  • 2
    Did you look up "minus" in a dictionary? Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 1:56
  • I know minus means subtraction, but I didn't know bird could refer to chicken in English. In the language I speak, bird and chicken mean totally different things and we use different words to refer to them. So I felt confused what had anything to do with bird here.
    – Emma-Li
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 13:18
  • A chicken is a kind of bird. "Bird" isn't usually used to describe poultry, but it can be used when it's obvious from context what kind of poultry is being described (eg for Thanksgiving, "the bird" is almost always a turkey)
    – Esther
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


'The bird' is 'the chicken' and 'minus' is the mathematical operation for subtraction.

  • 2
    Now I get it, it means without chicken. Thank you so much.
    – Emma-Li
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 22:12

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