Move over Grandma, there’s a new chef in town.

Just a thought I had the other day:

I decided I wanted to try making fried chicken.  So I Googled fried chicken recipes and ended up using one by Alton Brown off of the Food Network website.  It wasn’t fantastic; way too salty.  It wasn’t terrible though either but my fried chicken craving wasn’t satisfied and so I tried again the next week.  Katie, my wife of three months, mentioned to me several times that, while my intentions were good, I would not ever be able to produce anything that would compare with her grandmother’s fried chicken.

Well of-fucking-course.

I don’t know that I have ever come across anyone who would not stand behind their grandmother’s cooking (the pinnacle of that being the fried chicken, naturally) like they would their stance on the abortion issue, gay rights, or a Coke versus Pepsi preference.  This is serious stuff here people.  You have to realize that everyone’s grandma did it the BEST!  If this is a paradox that you just can’t come to grips with then I guess you’re just not as American as apple pie.  Grandma’s apple pie goddammit.

Well I didn’t allow myself to get discouraged.  I called home and got Mom’s recipe for fried chicken, which was pretty good as I remember, and rather than just making Mom’s recipe I tinkered with it.  I used some parts of Alton Brown’s recipe and some parts of Mom’s.  I soaked the chicken for 24 hours previous in buttermilk like Alton Brown recommended.  I threw some Tabasco sauce in the buttermilk too.  I used some of the spices, in some of the same quantities, that Alton Brown recommended (no salt this time), but I also used many of the spices that my mother’s recipe called for.  While I was merging these two recipes into one, I was contemplating what hubris I was committing.  A fried chicken recipe isn’t anything to mess with.  It’s a family tradition.

I was talking with Katie the other day about what recipes were mainstays in her house while growing up.  There were a few, as there were in my house.  These were dishes that we ate on a regular basis, some of them once a week.  Now we make these dishes in our new home.  Our new rental home, that we just moved into, in our postage stamp sized kitchen with no dishwasher.  We now make these same dishes and they’re part of our old life that has carried over into the new, that we are sharing with each other.  They say to the other person, “You didn’t know me for the first 20 years of my life, but now you’ve had my father’s spaghetti carbonara and so now you understand a small part of me and where I come from.”

And here I am thinking I can just start throwing spices around and abandoning Mom’s fried chicken recipe!?  Just who the hell do I think I am?  Truth be told, I liked my mom’s fried chicken; I didn’t love it (I mean it wasn’t spaghetti carbonara, come on).  And now as of three months ago I have started a new life with a person I love.  New traditions are being made.  I have not yet found my own recipe for fried chicken.

UPDATE:  At least I hadn’t at the time.  The new mutant recipe apparently was a hit.  She even said the words: “better than Grandma’s.”  No fucking lie.  Sorry grandma.  This is the 21st century.  Make way for Chicken 2.0:

2 ½ – 3 lbs. chicken pieces

Crisco shortening

1 quart of buttermilk

1 cup of flour

2 tsp. garlic salt

1 table spoon Hungarian paprika

2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. Red pepper

Tabasco sauce

Soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk mixed with some Tabasco sauce for 24 hours.  Combine flour and seasonings in a plastic bag.  Pull chicken pieces from buttermilk soak and shake them in seasoned flour.

Melt Crisco in electric skillet to about ½ to 1 inch deep and heat to 365 degrees.  Brown chicken on all sides.  Reduce heat to 275 degrees and continue cooking until chicken is tender, about 30-40 minutes.  Do not cover.  Turn chicken several times during cooking.  Drain on wire racks.

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4 Responses to “Move over Grandma, there’s a new chef in town.”

  1. hoorfar Says:

    You should learn to BBQ. The highest level in cooking! You should come to Kansas City for a Chiefs game this year. We can tailgate, any good chef knows how to throw down on the grill!

  2. Alex Says:

    I’ll believe it when I taste it.

  3. I am Prometheus Says:

    Your wings, dude. Wings. That is your claim to fame. Gramma couldn’t hold a torch to those.

  4. I am Prometheus Says:

    Oh, and where the hell do you find Hungarian paprika. Dillon’s? No way.

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