I know it’s been a pretty busy weekend for many of you out there. I wouldn’t be surprised to “hear” that you’re stuffed with all kinds of tasty goodies. Between the July 4th holiday, our picnic game round-up and picnic month, National Fried Chicken Day may just over the top.
Wait! Who am I kidding, there’s always room for fried chicken!
We just couldn’t let Picnic Month slip on by without celebrating fried chicken in some form, now could we? As a matter of fact, you might have lasting memories of that Crispy Curry Fried Chicken Joyce brought to our picnic last year. By the time I was ready to dive in, it was all gone!
Someone had to invent the picnic, so it should come as no surprise to fine that the Greeks did it. It was the custom for men of letters to hold reunions, probably to discuss philosophy, with each member of the club providing a part of the meal. Rome, as always quick to absorb lessons from the Greeks, followed suit. The poet Horace left accounts of picnics and the pleasure he took in them. The Southern Heritage Plain and Fancy Poultry Cookbook, ©1983, p. 77
You’ll notice the first item on this picnic menu from Southern Heritage is the American iconic comfort food, Southern Fried Chicken. Now, I don’t want to start any hot debates here but, Southern Fried Chicken is not the only kind of fried chicken on the world’s menu. Heck, it’s quite possible that Southern Fried Chicken may have joined the list of fried chicken status a whole lot later than many other forms of fried chicken. Yes, dear readers, fried chicken has a history:) By most accounts, the cackling history of fried chicken can be traced back to medieval chicken dishes that were prepared by frying pieces of chicken and then braising them in sauce. These dishes were known as fricassees.
One of the first recorded recipes for fried chicken, if not thee first American recorded recipe, appeared in Mary Randolph’s The Virginia Housewife or, Methodical Cook (link is to free online edition) first published in 1824. Although, the recipe for her fried chicken did not appear until 1834. This recipe is from the online edition of 1836.
If you just can’t go on another day without knowing the rich history of fried chicken in America, may I suggest John T. Edge’s book Fried Chicken: An American Story. I actually didn’t know the book existed until I read a few reviews on Amazon. I have since added it to my list of “must haves.”
In The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani devotes almost an entire page to Southern Fried Chicken. I found this paragraph to be quite interesting…
…The Scottish, who enjoyed frying their chickens rather than boiling or baking them as the English did, may have brought the method with them when they settled the South. The efficient and simple cooking process was very well adapted to the plantation life of the southern African-American slaves, who were often allowed to raise their own chickens. Louisiana African Americans called a breakfast of fried chicken and grits a “Sunday Breakdown…”
I just happen to have a cookbook titled The Highlanders Cookbook filled with recipes from Scotland. And, look what I found within its pages; Smoored Pullets! (I’m thinking “smoor” means butter in Scottish:)
Like most chicken recipes, Fried Chicken is as versatile as the cook who prepares it. On this blog, I have explored the history of Harland Sanders and his Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is more of a technique of pressure cooked chicken rather than fried chicken. I’ve also shared Pearl Bailey’s Mama’s Fried Chicken and of course Aunt Bee’s Fried Chicken which is dipped in eggs before it’s fried. I have left the links to those pages and others in the resource section below:) Throughout the world, different seasoning and spices are used to wing out the best of fried chicken. Have fun exploring them all on Fried Chicken Day. Louise:)
1. Pollo Fritto-Italian-style fried chicken with fried herbs and artichoke hearts (from Bon Appetit)
2. Haitian Fried Chicken - Poul Fri
3. Chicken Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
4. Korean Fried Chicken (Yangnyeom Chikin)
5. Backhendl-Viennese Fried Chicken
6. Best Buttermilk Fried Chicken
7. Great Chefs of New Orleans: Austin Leslie’s Fried Chicken with Persillade
8. Unfried Chicken
9. Good Old Fashioned Fried Chicken
1. Harland Sanders & KFC
2. Pearl Bailey’s Mama's Fried Chicken
3. Celebrating "The New Housekeeper"
Chicken pieces courtesy of wiki