Deep-Fried Delight: All Things Fried Chicken

How is it that something so simple can be so damned good that it verges on the addictive? After all, fried chicken at its most basic consists of only three ingredients: chicken, flour, and oil. But that perfect combination of protein, fat, and crunch has been an American food tradition since Scottish immigrant cooking traditions and West African slave cooking traditions melded together to create this quintessential American dish.

Historically, the first cultures known to deep fry that delicious bird known as the chicken were medieval Scots and the native peoples that made up the tribes of West Africa. The Scottish had a tradition of battering and deep-frying chicken, though, disappointingly they included no seasoning whatsoever. So, its safe to assume that the Scottish version of fried chicken was a little bit on the bland side. West African peoples, too, battered their chicken and fried it in local palm oil--only they one-upped the boring Scots by adding spices and seasonings--turning an otherwise fairly good (but again, bland) dish into something so savory you salivate at just the smell.

In the early 1700s these two cooking traditions were combined by enslaved African-Americans in the kitchens of the Confederacy, and thus what we know and love as fried chicken was born.

Three-hundred years on, fried chicken can be found almost everywhere around the globe. From KFC in Cairo to Korean fried chicken in East-Asia, from deep-fried to pressure-cooked, fried chicken can be achieved through a variety of methods and styles. Try out a few of these recipes if you've got the time and hankering for a hunk of fried bird. We know you won't regret it.

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