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Sunday, January 12, 2014

It Is One Golden Hot Year For Wings!

Huddle up. I have some news. Buffalo Wings are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. I'm not sure of the exact date. Although, I have narrowed it down to either March 4th or October 30th. Let me explain.

According to the current Anchor Bar website, said place of the "invention" of Buffalo Wings,

One night back on March 4, 1964, Dominic Bellissimo was tending bar at the now famous Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, New York. Late that evening, a group of Dominic's friends arrived at the bar with ravenous appetites. Dominic asked his mother, Teressa, to prepare something for his friends to eat....

And Buffalo Wings were "born." For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Buffalo Wings, I grabbed this quick description from wiki.

A Buffalo wing, Buffalo chicken wing, hot wing, or wing, is a chicken wing section (wingette or drumette) that is generally deep-fried, unbreaded, and coated in vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. They are served hot, along with celery sticks and/or carrot sticks with blue cheese dressing for dipping. The residents of Buffalo generally refer to them as "wings" or "chicken wings" and never use the term "hot wings" or "Buffalo Wings" to describe them...

It seems the year of the "birth" of the Buffalo Wing is unequivocally 1964. However, the day seems to be drenched in obscurity. Was it March 4th or October 30 as proposed in this article in Men's Health published in 1969. (although it makes a reference to the National Wing Day Proclamation on September 29 in 1977, so perhaps it was updated:)

The Inaugural Wings:
 Buffalo wings were born Oct. 30, 1964, when Dom Bellissimo, bartender at Anchor Bar and son of the owners, challenged his mother to whip up a late-night snack for his friends. "They wanted something different. [Teresso] remembered she had these chicken wings that were too meaty to use as scraps," Toscani says. She chopped off the tip of each wing, tossed them in the fryer, added a spicy red sauce, and served them up with celery and blue-cheese dressing. Needless to say, they were an instant hit.

The Secret Formula
Toscani is not about to spill the secret to Anchor Bar’s unrivaled wing recipe, but he shared a few guidelines for making your own.

  • Never use frozen wings: Anchor Bar never has and never will.
  • Big wings work best: Small chicken wings are for stock and soup. Only the big wings have enough meat to sink your teeth into.
  • Dish out for good oil: Anchor Bar uses the best oil money can buy, Toscani says. Fry up your wings in a saturated fat-free oil.
  • Give them a good fry: It is mandatory that the fryer be able to maintain a high cooking temperature for the duration of the cooking process.
The History of Buffalo Wings

U.S.A Cookbook Sheila Lutkins ©1997.

Just because I'm curious about these things, I took a quick trip over to an online calendar for 1964 to see what day of the week each of the purported dates fell on. March 4th was a Wednesday, perhaps a "hump day" finger lickin' food reward, and October 30th was a Friday which to me sounds like the more likely day.

Jane and Michael Stern wrote Real American Cooking in 1986. I am very fortunate to have a first edition of their book. Here's what they have to say about the "history" of Buffalo Chicken Wings. Notice they "became an Anchor Bar attraction every Friday."


Real American Food Jane & Michael Stern ©1986

Whatever the day, no one really seems to mind. I'm not even sure anyone will truly celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the Buffalo Wing this year because like so many dishes ingrained in our food culture, we have a tendency to seek comfort in their existence not really thinking about how or when they came about:) In the 21st century most people celebrate National Wing Day on July 29th which really doesn't make any sense to me considering the most popular time of year for indulging ourselves in saucy hands and finger bites is usually Super Bowl Sunday which in 2014 lands on February 2nd.

Whew! Now I know what Calvin Trillin must have felt like when he was attempting to compile a short history of Buffalo Wings back in 1980 for New Yorker Magazine. He did manage to bring their history and notoriety to the next level and then some.

...Fortunately, the actual moment that Buffalo chicken wings were invented has been described by Frank Bellissimo and his son, Dom, with the sort of rich detail that any historian would value; unfortunately, they use different details. Frank Bellissimo is in his eighties now, and more or less retired; he and his wife, Teressa, are pretty much confined to an apartment above the Anchor Bar. According to the account he has given many times over the years, the invention of the Buffalo chicken wing came about because of a mistake—the delivery of some chicken wings instead of the backs and necks that were ordinarily used in making spaghetti sauce. Frank Bellissimo thought it was a shame to use the wings for sauce. "They were looking at you, like saying, "I don’t belong in the sauce," he has often recalled. He implored his wife, who was doing the cooking, to figure out some more dignified end for the wings. Teressa Bellissimo decided to make some hors d’oeuvres for the bar—and the Buffalo chicken wing was born.

Dom Bellissimo—a short, effusive man who now acts as the bustling host of the Anchor Bar—tells a story that does not include a mistaken delivery or, for that matter, Frank Bellissimo. According to Dom, it was late on a Friday night in 1964, a time when Roman Catholics still confined themselves to fish and vegetables on Fridays. He was tending the bar. Some regulars had been spending a lot of money, and Dom asked his mother to make something special to pass around gratis at the stroke of midnight. Teressa Bellissimo picked up some chicken wings—parts of a chicken that most people do not consider even good enough to give away to barflies—and the Buffalo chicken wing was born...

With Super Bowl Season descending upon us, I just couldn't wait to let you "guys" know in plenty of time to prepare for the celebration! I don't know when the rest of the world will be celebrating the Golden Anniversary of the Buffalo Wing but we, dear readers, are beginning our celebration today! Let's begin with the dipping sauce so it has time to chill while we deep fry those wings! One of my favorite Buffalo Wing sauces is not made with the "typical" blue cheese dressing.

I prefer this Maytag Blue Dip recipe as found in the U.S.A Cookbook by Sheila Lutkins published in 1997.

I am curiously attracted to this recipe titled Bleu Cheese Cake...

...which I discovered in Beginning Again first published in 1981.

Now that we have the Buffalo Wing recipe (see up above) and the bleu cheese dressing, we need some celery curls. After all, it is a celebration! Here are the directions from The Book of Garnishes by June Budgen.

Now grab the recipe for The Fire and Ice Boom, Buffalo's "official" city cocktail and get ready to do "The Small Bone Twist!"

I've taken the liberty of starting a Buffalo & Wing Pinterest board. If you would like to be a contributor, just let me know and I'll add you to the list of contributors. If you have a favorite Wing recipe and are not on Pinterest, leave the link in the comment section and I will pin it for you, if you like:) The board's theme is all things "Buffalo" and of course Wings too! It is not limited to only Buffalo Wings, all your favorite wing recipes are welcome! Enjoy! Louise:)

44 comments:

  1. Ah, the wings! For me, it's always really been about the bleu cheese! That's why the dip and the bleu cheese cake will be added to my list of recipes to try! Great sleuthing, as always, Louise!

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    1. Hi T.W!
      I actually considered breezing past the wings and going right for a post on all things bleu cheese! Thank you so much for "popping" by, T.W.

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  2. I, too, am probably a bigger bleu cheese fan than a wing fan. You were certainly thorough on your research. I am jealous of your first edition (and the rest of your cookbook stash). Happy Sunday!

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    1. Perhaps Bleu Cheese deserves a day of its own, Debra!

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  3. Good Morning Louise , love the post , so many things to always learn and always good for a second read ... your posts just keep you coming back , the more you read them , you always see something you missed . Always have wings at our tailgate parties , thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Hi Nee!
      So glad you enjoyed this post, Nee. it was such fun sleuthing:)

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  4. Wow, this has to be the definitive history of wings! Great job with this. I'm actually not a big wing fan, alas. I love the hot sauce and especially the bleu cheese dressing. But the wings themselves are kinda humdrum IMO. Good, though! And perfect for the Superbowl. Excellent post - thanks.

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    1. Thank you so much John, it was a fun post to do. In my travels I learned many people enjoy wings because it "allows" them to eat with their fingers. I'm not sure that's case with all wing lovers but it seems to be the popular assumption. I'm all for the heat and the dressing too!

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  5. Dear Louise, This proves that what people have been creating and making the world is craving. Who would have thought! I am sure this woman had no idea the stir she would create with those wings!!
    I do love chicken wings, though they have become quite expensive to buy.
    I love the retro recipes. They are so good.
    Take care and keep warm, since another cold spell is expected.
    Blessings and always my prayers. Catherine xo

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    1. As the story goes, Catherine, she didn't have a clue she would be flying into wing history! They have become quite expensive to buy. I suppose it has to do with their soaring popularity.

      Thank you so much for all your kind words and prayers. My daughter is well on her way to recovery and the cancer is completely gone. She has just moved into her new house and she and her family are loving it! I can't wait to go in May!!!

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  6. I love buffalo wings AND bleu cheese. I vote for the Oct. 30th date as well, based on the Friday factor, but I may celebrate both, just to be a good sport.

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    1. I may just celebrate them all too, Channon!

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  7. I love these wings with that cheese dip! Makes my mouth water!

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  8. I love chicken wings and bleu cheese! That cheesecake recipe sounds great.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Me too, Rosa. The cheesecake recipe does sound intriguing doesn't it?

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  9. Good heavens, have they been around that long??! Great idea for a Pinterest board, Louise.

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    1. I don't even want to think that I could possibly be around longer than Buffalo Wings, Barbara. So, I won't, lol...You are more than welcome to join the Pinterest wing board. Just let me know.

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  10. I love buffalo wings, Louise. I was just thinking of making some soon and you just sped up my appetite for some! I've never knew that there's a way to eat the wings.. thanks for the tips and now I know. I usually just chew everything around the bone. This is a wonderful tip. I shall try this method the next time i eat the wing! Btw, my office friends are not used to having me without my long hair..kakkakaka

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    1. I'm sure your hair look lovely, Jenn. Your office friends will soon get use to it. My daughter was just telling me last night that since losing her hair during chemo treatments it is finally growing back. Her friends told her they just may NOT be use to her WITH hair, lol...

      I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. It was such fun to do. I thought that tip for the "proper" way to eat wings was very useful. I'm glad you did also. Thank you so much for visiting.

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  11. Luce rico y contundente me encantan sus dip y dresing, buen video abrazos.

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    1. el vendaje es mi favorito también, Rosita:)

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  12. Great research here! I love Calvin Trillin and all his crazy food research ... I think I remember reading his Buffalo Wing piece when it was published. Maybe it's time for me to revisit some of his earlier books!

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    1. I remember reading it through the years also Mae. I just don't remember when. I think it may have been published in the late 60s. His books are such a hoot. I should revisit them too:)

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  13. Seems like everyone has wings in one form or another for Superbowl Sunday, doesn't it? You know we will, too!

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  14. What a fun post, Louise. I have never made chicken wings -- have you? Deep frying must scare me ;) I will have to come up with some other nummy snacks for Superbowl Sunday. Thanks for the post, and the reminder to start hunting for good snack recipes.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Lynn! I've actually made wings many, many times. I use to bring them into work all the time especially during the times we were picking our winners for the Super Bowl. Sh...don't tell anyone though. I use to bake them! I'm not to keen about deep frying either:) Now, hunt down some good snack or try baking some wings!

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  15. With Super Bowl just around the corner there are going to be a lot of platters of Buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese dressing-delicious. Thanks for the history. I enjoyed the post.

    Velva

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Velva. I'm thinking wings are going to be on lots of menus this year especially with the Velveeta "crisis."

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  16. Dear Louise, I am so impressed! There is so much to see and read. All your recipes are terrific. it proves that you have been collecting for a long while. I love wings, anyway, any flavor. I lived in Buffalo about 10 years ago, and you know that is the Buffalo Wings Capital. Especially HOT! A perfect dish for Superbowl time, and all the dips add to the flavor of the wings.. I especially enjoyed learning how to make the celery curls...Fabulous post as usual, Louise! Blessings, Dottie :)

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    1. I tried to make those celery curls once, Dottie. We won't even mention how they turned out. Hopefully you will have better luck, lol...

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  17. Those wings look crunchy and tasty indeed! I do fancy them right now! Ciao bella :-)

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  18. My son went to college in Rochester NY and developed a passion for wings…the hotter the better! And he loves the blue cheese sauce! Whenever we visit he makes a batch for us, with less heat…I’m a sissy!

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    1. We use to go up to Syracuse quite often and there was plenty of "hot" sings to sample, Kathy. The sauce is a must! I've gotten to be a bit of a "sissy" these days too:)

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  19. i nvr had buffalo wings tho i am aware of these popular wings..and after watching the video makes me feel like going out to grab some wings and eat!

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    1. I have an idea, Lena. You make some of those "famous" Japanese Sticky Wings of yours and I'll make some Buffalo Wings and we'll swap!

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  20. LOL - enjoyed this post. Except for jessica Simpson, I would never have heard of buffalo wings.

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  21. Louise, I pinned this. My son-in-law loves wings and he will be having them for the Superbowl. I want my daughter to see the original recipe.
    :)Ginger

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    1. Awe gee, Ginger, thank you for pinning:) Hope the "kiddies" enjoy:)

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  22. I make a buffalo wing dip with canned or leftover chicken but have never tried the wings themselves. I love being a guest where they are served though ;-)

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    1. I've seen that dip Inger and it does sound interesting. You should try making Buffalo wings at least once. You may just get hooked, lol...

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise

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