Winner, Winner. Chicken Dinner!
Fried Chicken. Yum. Why do I have a southern drawl every time I say the words, “FRIED CHICKEN”? I mean, you would think I lived in the south for 25 years but bless your heart, I’ve never lived in a southern state in my whole life. Unless you consider Fort Lauderdale, Florida The South.
I’m gonna guess that the reason I say fried chicken with an accent is because when I was about about 11 years old, I tasted the best fried chicken I have, to this date, ever had. I remember the experience as if it was yesterday. We were visiting my cousin Jay-Jay in Atlanta, GA and her nanny Margaret made us dinner. The entree was fried chicken - it was her specialty. I had been eating fried chicken for years before this experience. There are so many kinds of fried chicken out there. There is the guilty pleasure kind - KFC, Popeye’s or Chik-Fil-A. More recently, there are the “healthier” versions of fast food chicken places like El Pollo Loco and Pollo Tropical (grilled without breading). Not to mention the Filipino version of fried chicken. For my family, it was sort of in the middle of guilty pleasure and the healthier versions - only because who knew what kind of oil my mom used or where she bought the chicken (dollar store?). The chicken was never breaded but it was deep fried. Nonetheless, by age eleven, I had tried many versions of chicken cooked in oil.
This particular fried chicken, prepared by Margaret the nanny, had the perfect blend of spices that must have been mixed into the breading and fried with expertise. The timing and temperature of the oil in the pan were probably the key factors in getting the outside super crunchy and yet each bite was still so juicy. It’s hard to get that combo. Sometimes the chicken is over-cooked and dry inside. My remedy for that combo is a lot of ketchup. Or it may be juicy on the inside but the outside is not crunchy - it’s soggy. I still haven’t found fried chicken like Margaret’s. However, I keep trying to find it. Which probably explains why if fried chicken is on the menu, I usually order it. I just cannot resist the crunchy, salty, texture of hearty juiciness and so the search for that perfect combo continues.
Saturday, July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day! I’m celebrating it for sure because I am trying to #CelebrateEveryDay! Even though on the 6th, I will be in Costa Rica, I know I won’t have much trouble finding fried chicken there. Most likely it will be a healthier version because most of their food is organic so my guess is that the chicken will be too. And in our neck of the Costa Rican woods (known as a beach) I’m pretty sure breading the chicken before frying isn’t very common. Finding some chicken that has been fried is easy because it’s available in so many countries. Did you know, fried chicken - which is breaded chicken that is fried in lard - was first introduced to America by the Scottish? Who knew? Well, Natioanldaycalendar.com knew, that’s who! I love that they know these things.
Below is a thoughtful pinch for you. It’s a Dinner Doula recipe that I believe to be the healthiest guilty pleasure you can make if you want “fried chicken”. Don’t let the name of this recipe freak you out. If I can do this, so can you! The tip is to get your butcher to spatchcock the chicken for you when you buy the whole chicken. Time saver!
Another thoughtful pinch that I’m sharing with you is this gem of a blog post by my friend Abbie Johnson. The name of her blog is Dear Life and her post on Comfort Food will make your mouth water. Enjoy!
Finally, did I ever tell you that my very most favorite Valentine’s Day date was having Kentucky Fried Chicken with the hub? KFC wasn’t part of the plan at all. My hub had made the appropriate reservations at Anthony’s Runway 84 which is a nice Italian restaurant. The theme and setting for the venue is an airplane hanger. We both got dressed up and went to the restaurant. Even though we had reservations, they were totally slammed (because it was Valentine’s Day) so we waited. We waited. And we waited. We drank a drink or too but stopped long before because we had nothing in our stomachs. When we couldn’t wait any longer, we left the restaurant and drove straight to a KFC drive thru. It didn't matter that we missed out on a 3-course Italian meal, we had enjoyed the talk the whole time we waited for our table at the restaurant. Added fun was to discover that we both immediately agreed that Kentucky Fried Chicken would hit the spot. Winner, winner. Chicken dinner! Valentine’s Day dinner was surprisingly a memorable one thanks to the Colonel!