Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Five Reasons We Crossed the Road to Celebrate Fried Chicken Day

by Drew Broussard

Let's be honest, given the time, we could come up with an infinite number of reasons to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day. After some deliberation, we rounded up our top five reasons to put on those aprons and get our yardbird on:

1. You can eat it all day

Fried chicken can be eaten at any time of the day. Don't believe me? Let’s start with chicken and syrup (with waffles or pancakes), a southern breakfast staple. The saltiness and spice of the battered chicken compliments those syrupy delights in a way that is stomach-lining and soul-pleasing.

Come lunch time, the chicken sandwich stakes its claim as another mainstay. The golden brown bird sits comfortably between two slices of bread with a couple of dill pickles to top it off. 

When dinner time rolls around, fried chicken remains a dominant presence as a family-style meal. Whether you prefer the drumsticks, breasts, or thighs, there's surely a part to please. Served along side some greens, beans, potatoes or biscuits, this crispy-skinned bird begs to be eaten. 

So really, is there a bad time of the day to eat fried chicken? Trick question, sometimes I make myself laugh.

2. It's versatile in flavor:

Despite having the same base ingredients, fried chicken can take on a myriad of different favors. Spicy or mild, sweet or sour, you name it and you can have it. 

While southern fried chicken is most popular, you can find an inspired take on the dish no matter what cultural background you find yourself eating from. Whether it's Nashville hot or garlicky Korean, this dish knows no bounds. There's hardly a menu I know of that doesn't have some kind of fried chicken variant.

3. At home or on the go, it's a win:

Four, "Two Piece Tuesdays" from Chicken Shack in Baton Rouge
Four, "Two Piece Tuesdays" from Chicken Shack in Baton Rouge

It doesn't matter where you are, you can almost always find good fried chicken. That's part of its magic. On the road, you are never too far away from a Popeyes. While this classic Louisiana-born chain is considered fast food, it is hard to beat in the fried chicken department. They have a tried and true method that results in a greasy goodness which ranks high on my scale of life-shortening foods.

We are blessed with plenty of  fried food restaurants in Louisiana, such as the Chicken Shack in Baton Rouge or Willie Mae's in New Orleans. Both of these places are sure to please and are great to stop by for a filling, local dish.

While on-the go chicken restaurants rank up there on the "greatest thing since sliced bread," list, homemade fried chicken is one of the finest culinary treats bestowed upon humanity. It's hard to top the nostalgic experience of grandma quartering the chicken, the drenching of buttermilk, and the sound of oil popping from the dutch oven. When it's all said in done, that home cooked delicacy is out of this world! For every year that it takes off your life expectancy, it adds to your soul. Don't be ashamed, eat up.

4. It brings people together:


Let's start by picturing a corny thought. Think about the American dinner table. Families talk about their day, how work and school was as they pass around that white and red striped bucket with an old man's face on it. What do they pull from this cardboard vessel? A golden brown drumstick that lands on their plate right next to the baked potatoes, green beans and gravy.

The colonel might not be pulling rank here in Louisiana, but I can recall many after church lunches that my family picked up from Popeyes. Substitute mashed potatoes for a biscuit, green beans for their red brethren, and you are talking a family dinner, Louisiana style. It's communal, cultural, and one of the tastiest ways of catching up. I immediately feel closer to someone after we've shared fried chicken; it's science.

5. It's just darn good:

Chicken is the most popular protein out there. Every menu that you come across has some kind of chicken dish. Baked, grilled or roasted, fried chicken beats them all. It just doesn't get old. It has been around since the birth of this country, and with Independence Day having just passed, there's more than enough reason to keep the celebration going.

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