Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Fried Chicken - It ain't Broke
Full disclosure, even as southern born and bred as I am, I cannot fry chicken, Now that we have that behind us....
It never ceases to amaze me how folks want to mess up something good. If ain't broke, don't fix it. My theory is that it is like buying a wedding dress - they are all white, when you find one you really like, stop the madness and buy it. But. I digress.
The Gray Lady (aka The New York Times) has done it again. There was an article in there today entitled "How to Make Good Fried Chicken." The first sign was "making" fried chicken. My Mama said, "Don't be late for supper, we're having fried chicken." or "I'm frying chicken." My mama never said she was "making" chicken. In my house you could "make" a pie, "make" a cake, or "make" a mess.
First, they got into the chemistry of the dish -how the starch must coat the bird, then oil must be just the right temperature. I got right tickled when they suggested two or three pieces per person would leave you plenty for left overs. At our house there was never any left over fried chicken. Miraculously, we would find some the next morning in the 'fridge but that was only because Mama, in her great wisdom, would put aside some extra pieces before supper.
Then they went on about "brining" your chicken in a buttermilk, pickle, cola, or cider brine and waiting a few hours. Next, they got into gluten free flours. This is where the the train jumped the track. I never had one of my friends or kin folks drop dead over dosing on gluten from the flour in fried chicken (or anything else for that matter). They also suggested to cook the chicken outside if you don't want to "mess up" your kitchen.
Why not just call up KFC and order a bucket? By now everyone in your household must be starving. They already have had to wait several hours while you brined your chicken and it is going to get ugly when they realize there is a limit to their servings.
Next, the article went into the "Various flavors" of fried chicken. I never had flavored fried chicken, unless you counted "Burnt" as an alternate taste. Please tell me who as a child came home at dark for supper on a summer night or waited patiently in the food line at the church homecoming dinner or feasted on the comfort food brought by friends and neighbors when a loved one passed away only to find a platter of chicken flavored with Adobo, Korean, Nashville, or Persian spices? I think not. I can only imagine the countenance on the church ladies' faces should someone show up at a bereaved family's home with a platter of Korean flavored fried chicken. That would be worst than having dark meat in their chicken salad.
I stopped reading the article before they went as far as to say they frowned upon eating fried chicken with your hands. Please dear God, say it is not so.
Even though I am cursed and cannot create this simple southern dish, part of the southern trinity together with biscuits and collards, I cannot help but think that Clemmie, my DH's family cook, said it best when she said, "Cook 'til done, season to taste."