The love for fried chicken is oh so real. Once you get a taste of it, there's no going back. Just ask any tourist who visits Texas and gets a taste of Popeyes or Chick-Fil-A. Sure, that may not be the best-fried chicken per your standards. But for someone who's never tried it, CFA is gourmet. Here's a shocker though - people flock to America to try fried chicken not knowing that it's not American at all. Yep, you heard that right! The crispy goodness of fried chicken was not invented by the Americans. Instead, the Scottish gets dibs.
Surely the Deep South has the right to claim that fried chicken helms from them, but it's the Scots that once resided there who created the food. The Scots love to fry things. Do yourself a favor, and check out the deep fried Mars bar. It's what dessert dreams are made of. But to get back on the fried chicken tracks, Scottish immigrants brought their love for fried foods to America when they immigrated to the US.
The Scots were frying chicken through pan-frying, a cooking method commonly used before deep frying was introduced. Dating back to the 19th century (possibly 18th century and before, although there's no known fact of that), the settlers popularized fried chicken in the south where they owned or took a staff position at southern plantations.
"The efficient and simple cooking process was very well adapted to the plantation life of the southern African-American slaves," John F. Mariani, editor Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, writes. After which, African slaves took the Scottish fried chicken recipe and made it into the southern version.
According to BBC, "Many slaveholders allowed enslaved people to raise chickens and sell or barter eggs. Chickens acquired divine significance in West Africa where the animals were used in a number of religious rituals, and enslaved Africans transplanted those spiritual practices to the Americas."
They turned the then-fried chicken into the deep-frying comfort food that it is today - soul food goodness. In the second half of the 1800s, Gordonsville, Virginia, a major stop on the Civil War-era rails racks, became the Fried Chicken Capitol of the World. "Because fried chicken traveled well before refrigeration, white passengers would frequently buy the food from African American cooks through open train windows," BBC adds.
Everything you know that is associated with the American fried chicken dish, such as the buttermilk and the breading of the breadcrumbs, as well as all the sides like black-eyed peas, cornbread, mac and cheese, has been spread to be loved around the world. People are in love with American south food. The most popular fast food chain in China is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Can you believe it?
In Japan, ordering American-style fried chicken is a Christmas tradition. You could even say it's a special occasion dish in the northern US states, like New York, where you will find fewer fried chicken establishments but many people who want to eat it.
So who invented fried chicken? It's really a toss-up. One thing for sure though and that's southerners are lucky. You can find some really good southern fried chicken in many cities down south. More recently, Korean fried chicken has been popping up too!
Bet you're craving some KFC or Nashville Hot Chicken now, huh?