Chicken Finger Licking Good or Is it?
When we were children and lived in a small cotton mill village my dad always had enough chickens to supply our need for eggs. On many a Sunday we also ate mama's fried chicken. I've heard the story of Colonel Sanders and his 11 herbs an spices which he claimed to have conjured up while driving in his car sometime in the 1930's. Well one thing is for sure since those days as a boy in Tuxedo, I have eaten my share of.Kentucky Fried Chicken. It seems over the years to have lost something or maybe I'm just not as fond of fried chicken as I once was. The stores in our area promote extra crispy and the "original recipe" and on Thursday's, one can tank up with an all you can eat buffet.
The chicken is deep fried and those powdered instant mashed potatoes can hardly be eaten without the brown gravy which is somewhat more like dish water than gravy. Then there are the veggies, salad bar, and always at least one fruit or berry pie right out of a food distributor box. One might fill up their tummy relatively inexpensively yet leave without having a satisfied their appetite. i
This was not the case when we were youngsters living for the most part in poverty. Don't get me wrong I never complained about what was set before us to eat and in reality we didn't know of any better life. On Saturdays, daddy would pick a big hen or rooster from the chicken lot to become our Sunday dinner. I never really liked to watch the critter as its head was laid carefully on the wood chopping block and with one swift swing of daddy's ax the head was severed and the chicken allow to flop about and bleed. Water was boiled and poured over the feathers and sometimes we were allow to pluck some to the feathers. Honestly, I never really liked the smell on scalding water on chicken feathers.
After the chicken was cleaned and the entrails removed, daddy butchered the chicken into its pieces we might find packaged today at our grocery store meat market sold as whole chickens. Legs,thighs,wings,breast,back,neck, liver and the gizzard. Daddy always favored the gizzard and for many of us as small children at family reunions and dinners,we never knew any good pieces of chicken existed save the necks or wings,
I don't have the recipe my mama used to make her friend chicken but it was always so good. My guess is her recipe didn't have 11 herbs or spices only salt, pepper, and flour which she mixed in a brown grocery bag. The cut parts were inserted into the brown paper bag and she shook the bag until the chicken was coated evenly. The chicken was then put into a cast iron fry pan, one large enough to hold all the chicken and fried to a golden brown. During the frying process she turned the pieces several times and little pieces of the batter would remain in the grease. Almost immediately, she made the milk gravy in the same cast iron pan and those little morsels from the chicken always enhanced the gravy we would spread generously over our mashed potatoes and biscuits.
In recently years I have learned about the large poultry growers and it is amazing how fast chickens can now be grown for market. What disturbs me; however, is the birds remain enclosed all their short lives and all their excrement is recycled into the feed that they are fed. In essence, the chickens are eating their own poop of course with many additives such as growth hormones. This makes me wonder if the chicken we now eat can at all be healthy for us to eat. I am no longer a fan of fried chicken or Colonel Sanders, Churches, Chic-filet, or Zaxby's. I'm sure the USDA wouldn't allow anything bad for human consumption and maybe it is all safe. I couldn't help but remember something an uncle asked me one time when we were boys playing around the barn yard one day. "Do you know what that white stuff is in chicken sh..t?" I fell for knowing it all came from the same chicken's intestines and answered,"Nope, what is it?" Laughing so hard at my ignorance he said ,"It's chicken sh.t! Well if the data I have heard is accurate concerning the growing of chickens in our times, my unlcles humor may not be as funny as it was way back then.