I started my old blog, Life of a Southern Belle, way back in March of 2008, as Lorelai was preparing to graduate from high school and Legare from college. I’ve been back in the kitchen here lately trying new recipes and reviving some old ones. As I was preparing BBQ chicken tonight, I thought about this old post…A Chicken Frying Failure…from back in the day. I am sad to say that it still rings true!
(From Life of a Southern Belle, July 2008)
We were reminiscing last night about some of my early culinary mishaps when Hank and I first got married. I still cannot fry “real” chicken…that is, chicken on the bone. Over the years I’ve learned to do pretty well with chicken tenders…soak them in Texas Pete, shake them up in self rising flour with some salt and pepper, fry them in the deep fryer until nice and golden brown. Yummmmmmmmy! They are one of Legare’s favorites.
I don’t like to think that I’ve ever been a disappointment to anyone, save a nice sweet lowcountry grandma…not my own, thank goodness. WAY back in the day when I was a fresh-faced newly married 21 year old first year high school music teacher, one of my students, a great big football playernamed Abe, overheard me lamenting to another teacher that I just could NOT fry chicken to save my life. On my first attempt, I dredged it in corn meal (a la fried fish) rather than flour, and bless Hank’s sweet heart, he tried to eat it, but it was scorched on the outside and raw in the middle. I’d seen the error of my ways regarding the corn meal, but dredging it flour didn’t produce any better result. The next time it was done in the middle and soggy on the outside.
It had never occured to Abe that a grown woman might not be able to fry chicken and this new information troubled him. He showed up the next morning (a Friday) with instructions from his grandmama written down in pencil on paper yanked out of a spiral notebook. His expectation, and hers as well, was thatI would practice over the weekend and report back on Monday morning. I was young and used to following instructions from my elders so I did just that. If we’d had a smoak alarm back then, which we didn’t, it would have gone off twice. When I messed it up on Saturday morning, I went back to the grocery store and started all over again on Sunday. It was sad…I wanted to cry…How was I going to report back to Abe and his grandma that I had failed?!
Abe was at my door before school started on Monday morning for a full report. He shook his head in disappointment as I spared not a single detail of my efforts…there was no denying that I was a Chicken Frying Failure. On Tuesday morning, there was a message in my box to call Abe’s grandma. She made me recount my process step by step and told me to try again. My report on Wednesday was no better. On Thursday afternoon, she showed up in the office with a tin plate of fried chicken (still to this day the best I’ve ever had) for Hank’s supper. She’d rallied the troops and another grandma was there with a macaroni pie…the school secretary brought broccoli casserole and the custodian’s wife sent a banana pudding. They were afraid that Hank was starving.
I eventually mastered the macaroni pie, broccoli casserole and banana pudding (see photographic evidence above), but I remain, to this day, a REAL Chicken Frying Failure. Thank goodness for chicken tenders.