Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fried Chicken

When you think of fried chicken do you think of Church's Fried Chicken or KFC? Eating it with the grease running down your fingers?

When I think of fried chicken my thoughts go back to watching my mother or aunt wring the neck of the chicken in the back yard. It was always interesting to see the chicken flop around for a few seconds before it lay still. Then I stayed around to see the feathers plucked, the skin singed to get all the pen feathers off, and then to watch the chicken being cut into pieces. In the grocery store today you get two legs, two thighs, two wings and two breast pieces for a cut up chicken but back in the old days there was also the wishbone and back pieces and usually the neck was included. Then there was the wonderful smell of frying chicken. I always stayed close to the kitchen to be sure I could enjoy this heavenly golden smell.

Back in these old days, a frying chicken was small, maybe 2-3/4 to 3-1/4 pounds. Today it is almost impossible to find a chicken that small. They were young chickens with thin skins not like today with all the fat in the skin and globs of fat under the skin. You never fried just one chicken but a platter full of chicken. Frying a platter full meant there might be enough left over to be eaten later that night or wrapped up for a school lunch. Cold chicken......Mmmmmmm, just as good.

It wasn't very long into my married life and cooking my own fried chicken that I decided the store bought chickens were too greasy. I wanted chicken like I had grown up eating. I started taking off the skin that was thick and fat and frying my chicken seasoned with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, dredged in flour and fried. It was not greasy.

I seldom invite anyone for dinner when I make fried chicken because most of our friends are watching their cholesterol levels and they fear eating something like KFC chicken with all the visible grease. But sometime ago I wrote an entry about preparing fried chicken for Ned and me. Rick and Deb are friends and after Rick saw that entry, he told me that the next time I made fried chicken he wanted to come. So last night we had them over for dinner: Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, corn on the cob and salad.

We were all in the kitchen talking as I prepared the dinner. There was the heavenly golden smell of the chicken sizzling away in the frying pan, the potatoes were mashed, the dressing poured over the salad and the corn was rolled in melted butter. We talked and ate and refilled our plates until we finally satisfied our hunger for fried chicken.

I don't prepare fried chicken very often but I hope I never have to give it up.


Herb the bird said...

nice blog man! the pictures are awesome...

Disillusioned Son said...

You made fried chicken with mashed potatoes!?!!!

What is this world coming to?

When did you wander into the desert away from the Mercer tradition of white rice with your fried chicken?

What is that town--with all its uppitty artists--doing to you?

You need to get back to Texas and fry up some okra real soon,

or it may be too late for you...


ps. and while you're at it, you can whip up a cocconut cake for me.

BillieS said...

Dear Disillusioned Son,
I hate to tell you this but there are a lot of things you don't know about your Mother. I've always preferred mashed potatoes and cream gravy over rice and cream gravy. But the reality of life is that it takes more time to peel potatoes, cook them, mash them and season them just right. So in order to keep dishing food out to three hungry boys while working, car pooling, etc., I resorted to putting water in a pot to boil and adding rice. You boys ate it and didn't complain and I finished cooking and cleaning the kitchen just a little faster.
Your busy Mother
PS Do you know anyone who makes cakes from scratch anymore?

Claudine said...

Somehow you never struck me as the type to have watched a bird get its neck wrung before eating it nor to appreciate southern home cooked food to the extent you do. I am learning more about the bloggers whom I read up on each week. :)

p.s. We LOVE fried chicken here too.

BillieS said...

Claudine, just to make your mouth water....
Okra and tomatoes
Fried okra
Fresh cream peas (maybe with some okra)
Cornbread (not from a mix)
Fresh pinto beans
Sliced homegrown tomatoes
Sliced cucumbers and onion with a bit of vinegar and oil
Watermelon from a tub of ice
Ice cream made in a crank ice cream maker.
Homemade apple pie
Made from scratch 3-layer chocolate cake with devil's food icing......
Should I keep going? LOL

Brenda said...

That is funny, last night we had, guess what? Fried chicken, gravy, potatoes and no, not corn on the cob; but carrots for our supper. Think it's a comfort food. I, too remove the skin and fat now. My dads mode of killing a chicken was not to wring its neck; but hang it upside down by the feet and stick it with a knife down the throat, let it bleed and then we would pluck and gut them. Will never forget the horrid feeling of sticking my (then young) hand inside the still warm chicken to eviserate it, sometimes you would find an unlaid soft egg inside. YUCK!!!! Sounds gruesome now; but was just a fact of life then. If you wanted to eat, you helped in the prep work. I find the chicken in Mexico tastes better; almost like chicken used to taste before they started force growing everything and the taste turned to cardboard.

Claudine said...

Brenda, Funny you mention that. I thought it was in my head. I too find chicken bought fresh here tastes better (to me anyhow) than the birds back home.

I am salivating now from these comments.