If the recent three-packs of fresh, whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, now in Washington area stores, have become more annoying than convenient, you can:
* Ring that supermarket meat department buzzer and ask the butcher to customize your package of BSCBs. We got a thumb's up on this approach from the Giant Food at Montrose Crossing in Rockville, on store brand and Perdue tray packs. We got a polite "no way, due to dangers of cross- contamination" from a butcher at a Safeway store in Bethesda.
* Check out the less expensive alternative packs that contain a mix of BSCBs with rib meat and boneless, skinless chicken thighs; at Safeway stores.
* Buy your BSCBs at Wegmans and Whole Foods Markets, which still carry packages that contain smaller tray packs with two whole pairs. Whole Foods meat and poultry coordinator Theo Weening vows that you will be able to find even numbers in BSCB family value packs, too.
Some examples of BSCB (roughly 8.5 x 6.5-inch tray size) packs found in area markets:
Two or four breast halves per pack:
* Bell & Evans All-Natural brand; 1.78-pound pack with two pairs of whole breasts (regularly priced at $5.99 per pound); at Whole Foods.
* Wegmans brand, 1.74-pound pack (reg. $3.29 per pound); at Wegmans.
Three breast halves per pack:
* Empire Kosher brand; 1.12-pound pack (reg. $5.99 and $5.39 per pound, respectively); at Safeway and Trader Joe's. (These were ranked No. 1 for flavor in recent Cook's Illustrated testing, by the way.)
* Trader Joe's Fresh Chicken All-Natural Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breasts; 1.58-pound pack (reg. $2.99 per pound); at Trader Joe's.
* The Butcher's Cut Boneless, Skinless Breasts with rib meat; 1.82-pound pack (reg. $5.29 per pound); at Safeway. (Worth a mention: Label refers to "Enhanced With Up to 15% Solution," per recent USDA regulation compliance.)
* Perdue Fit 'N Easy Skinless & Boneless Fresh Chicken Breast, 1.83-pound package (reg. $5.49 per pound); at Giant Food.
* Wegmans Chicken Breast Cutlets; 1.14-pound pack (reg. $3.79 per pound); at Wegmans.
* Perdue Thin-Sliced Boneless & Skinless Fresh Chicken Breast Cutlets, .85-pound pack ($5.69 per pound) whose label says "Package Contains 5 to 7 slices"; at Giant Food.
* The Butcher's Cut Boneless, Skinless Combo Pack, with rib meat and thighs: 2.98-pound pack in a larger polystyrene tray (reg. $4.49 per pound); at Safeway.