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Fried Chicken

There is something about fried chicken.  Its good down home comfort food.  It makes me smile.  It reminds me of home.   Another favorite song of mine -- by Kris Kristofferson, and made famous by Johnny Cash called Sunday Mornin' Comin' down -- is about a lonely Sunday walk, and says "I headed down the street and caught the Sunday smell of someone frying chicken, and it took me back to something that I'd lost somehow, somewhere along the way..."  Lately for some reason I've been craving fried chicken and I've become a bit obsessed about it almost.  I think it started after I'd seen the movie "The Help".  I loved the movie so much that before the credits had finished I was downloading the book onto my Kindle app on the I-phone as well as the soundtrack.  It's that good.   And the theme of frying chicken runs throughout the book and the movie.   My mouth starts to water just thinking about it.  By the way, if you've not read the book or seen the movie, do so -- both are a "must".
My problem is that while I'm a good cook, I can't make decent fried chicken.  I think it must be somewhat genetic.  My Mother and my Grandmother -- both farm girls who should know how to make good fried chicken -- really don't.  At least not like you see in movies like "The Help".   You know, the golden brown, crunchy, flavorful skin with juicy meat kind.  When I was younger and more of a smart-ass than I am now, I used to complain when Mom said we were having fried chicken or going to Grandma's for fried chicken, saying I didn't want "Mother Bingham's brand Arid Dry Fried Chicken" which is what I used to call it.   (This apparently was highly offensive to my Grandmother who has yet to forgive me for branding her chicken with that name).

So I look for good fried chicken here in Seattle at restaurants.   There's Ezell's which is so good that Ophra Winfrey has it flown in and is one of her "favorite things".  But it's done in a pressure cooker.   Then there's the fried chicken at Kingfish -- a southern/soul food restaurant in Seattle, who's chicken is just like in the movie.   So forgive me for not being PC at the moment, but it really must be a black thing. Its the only conclusion I can make.  This is in no way racist or demeaning either, so don't be calling me that.   I remember years ago in Phoenix when I had a Mexican friend who's mother barely spoke English.  I'd asked his mother to teach me to make home made tortillas.  After struggling for a few hours, and me failing miserably,  she threw up her flour covered hands and said "oh Mijo, you are just too white!".   Maybe that's my problem with making fried chicken -- I'm too white.  My black friends can all make it and they learned from their Mom's -- maybe I should ask them how.  Are you listening garlandj</lj>?  Ask your mom!  You taught me to make sweet tea -- I can do this!  The waitress at Kingfish said "its no secret -- anyone can do it."   OK teach me!  I want to learn to make this:
I was talking with my Mother tonite about this, and she told me that her Aunt Helen is the one in the family that can make good fried chicken.  Helen is the wife of my favorite uncle Ted, the gentleman dairy farmer who passed away last year and that I wrote about earlier this year http://grgardner.livejournal.com/50983.html  I'm going to have to ask my cousin Kay (who's great writer herself http://whereiscliftonidaho.blogspot.com) how her Mom does it and can she tell me.  I'm hoping it works.  I have the tools -- the cast-iron skillet, the magic (according to "The Help") Crisco, a brown paper bag to shake the chicken in, the flour, salt, pepper and spices, along with the will and desire.   What I'm afraid I probably lack however is the genetic predisposition -- or the proper amount of melanin in my skin.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 28th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
Not so....I've got this Martha Stewart recipe that I've been making for years, and it always turns out really good. Let me know...I'm more than willing to share it with you.
Sep. 28th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
please do!
Sep. 28th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
"and more of a smart-ass than I am now"? Really? REALLY?!?

Sep. 28th, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
Yes really...
Sep. 28th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC)
Little Red Hen on the Menu
One of the problems with having a mother who was such a tremendous cook is that I never paid one iota of attention when she was doing it. For all I knew, she merely held the pan and meals appeared by some osmosis. Another of the problems is that you eventually miss her cooking. My children will never miss their mother's cooking, that's for sure. They may laugh about it, but they'll never miss it.

"The Help", is that like Loretta Lynn's..."and I hepped!)?

Also, brown paper bag? I'll ask Mother and get back to you. Cousin Kay ps, thanks for the compliment :o)
Sep. 28th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
Re: Little Red Hen on the Menu
"The Help" is a novel about the lives of black maids in white homes in Mississsippi in the 1960s...and is touching, sad, funny and heartwarming all at once. A fantastic book and movie. YOU MUST SEE IT.
Sep. 28th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
i hear marinating your chicken in (seasoned) buttermilk overnight, and then double dipping into the flour coating, are half the battle.
Sep. 28th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
Just do what I explained to you on the phone and you'll be fine.
Sep. 29th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC)
One Question
What does having " What I'm afraid I probably lack however is the genetic predisposition -- or the proper amount of melanin in my skin" has to do with frying chicken?
Oct. 1st, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
Gary, It's simple sweetie. I'll tell ya...
Oct. 1st, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
I'm waiting.. so tell me...
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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