New recipes

Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Turkey

Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Turkey

Bring some turkey trivia to the Thanksgiving table

Wikimedia/AbbieRowe

Turkey at Thanksgiving is one of the most iconic holiday meals in America. But how much do you know actually about this large fowl?

Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Turkey (Slideshow)

Wikimedia/AbbieRowe

Turkey at Thanksgiving is one of the most iconic holiday meals in America. But how much do you know actually about this large fowl?

Turkey Feathers, Not Meat

Wild turkeys, which can have a wing span of almost five feet, were first domesticated in Mexico as early as 800 B.C., but were bred for their feathers, not their meat. They didn't become a significant food source for Native Americans until around 1100 A.D.

When Turkeys Fly

Wild turkeys can fly (that’s how they get into trees to sleep at night), but modern-day domesticated ones bred for consumption are too top-heavy to get off the ground.

First Thanksgiving Debate

iStock/Thinkstock

Ben Franklin’s Favorite Fowl

The turkey was a favorite of Ben Franklin’s; though many think that he proposed it as the national bird of the U.S. instead of the bald eagle, he only suggested that it was a “much more respectable bird” than the eagle.

Presidential Pardon

Wikimedia/AbbieRowe

Starting in 1947 with President Harry Truman, each president has given a “presidential pardon” to a turkey brought to the White House during the holiday season. After a public vote via social media in 2013, the most recent pardon recipient, Popcorn, was saved from his doom and now lives at a farm in rural Virginia.

Fittest Fowl

Turkey contains fewer calories that its smaller fowl counterpart, chicken, but remains significantly less popular. For example, a 3-ounce serving of roasted chicken wing has about 240 calories compared to 190 calories in a 3-ounce serving of roasted turkey wing.

Store-Bought Versus Fresh Turkey

Store-bought turkeys are injected with a salt solution for flavor, and contrary to popular belief can be cooked from frozen if needed. Fresh turkeys take about 20 minutes less to cook than a thawed turkey. And remember, thawing a turkey in the refrigerator requires a lot of time; allow for 24 hours to thaw for every 4 pounds of turkey.

Roasting Alternatives


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like a piece of chicken, battered and deep-fried in some hot oil until it's crispy on the outside but still nice and juicy on the inside? Yum. This method of frying chicken was perfected in the U.S. but not without a lot of influence from other countries — and even some controversies along the way. Here are five delicious facts about fried chicken.

1. Credit the Scots — Or the Ancient Egyptians

Although neither group is likely come to mind as the innovators of fried chicken, historians believe they both had a hand in it. Between 7,500 to 5,000 B.C.E., wild fowl were domesticated in Southeast Asia and stewed chicken appeared in accounts of that period from China, West Africa and the Middle East. From the Middle East, the chicken made its way to ancient Egypt where its image adorned Pharaohs' tombs and its meat fed the slaves building the pyramids.

From Egypt, chicken spread its wings to Greece, the rest of the Mediterranean and then on to the British Isles. The type of fried chicken favored in the U.S. may have been imported by Scottish settlers to America, whose citizens favored pan-frying chicken as opposed to boiling or roasting it the way the English did.

However, as an Atlantic article put it, "While we can no longer be sure whether it was African slaves or Southerners of European descent who first decided to bread and fry these stringy yardbirds, we do know that West Africans have a tradition of frying food in hot oil, and that fried chicken as we know it today originated in the South."

2. The American South Perfected It

The first recipe for fried chicken in the U.S. appeared in a book called "The Virginia Housewife, Or Methodical Cook" published in 1825. This was written by Mary Randolph, who ran a boarding house, and whose brother was married to Thomas Jefferson's daughter. In fact, Randolph's book is considered by many to be the first cookbook ever published in America, and the inclusion of a fried chicken recipe says something about the dish's place in the culinary landscape of the country. Her recipe would be familiar to cooks today and involves dredging a cut-up bird in flour, sprinkling it with some salt and deep-frying the pieces in lard.

Before World War II, fried chicken was a special occasion dish because the meat was not that cheap and it was laborious to cook. After butchering the chicken and singing out the feathers, you had to cut up the chicken and stand over the stove as you fried it. The dish wasn't often seen in restaurants either.

3. Segregation Helped it to Flourish

Slave codes in the South forbade enslaved people from owning hogs or cattle but allowed them chickens, as those animals were considered too insignificant to ban. That, coupled with the fact that the bird was tasty, made it a favorite for slaves — as well as the plantation masters for whom they cooked.

But unfortunately, eating fried chicken became associated with ugly racial stereotypes. In the 19th century one writer noted, that "were the negro to be cut off from chickens he would probably pine and die." A scene in the 1915 racist film "Birth of a Nation" showed the "dangers" of having black elected officials by portraying them acting rowdy and greedily eating fried chicken.

However, fried chicken also provided a way of improving one's lot. During and after the Civil War, African-American women in Gordonsville, Virginia often sold fried chicken and other foods to passengers on trains as a way of earning money. In fact Gordonsville became known as the "Fried Chicken Capital of the World."

Jim Crow laws in the South prevented African-Americans from eating in most restaurants before the 1960s. So they often carried fried chicken in a shoeboxes lined with waxed paper when traveling. Fried chicken didn't need refrigeration so it was good to carry on a long trip whether by train or car.

4. Colonel Sanders Was No Overnight Success

Harland Sanders had done time as a tire salesman, gas station owner and soldier (the "Colonel" was an honorary title from the Kentucky governor in 1936), among many other jobs, before he came up with a genius method for cooking fried chicken quickly. This involved using a pressure cooker and a secret blend of seasonings. He sold the dish at a restaurant he opened in Corbin, Kentucky — but it didn't catch on.

However, he did have success selling the recipe to another restaurant and that gave Sanders an idea. At age 65, he hit the road selling his fried chicken recipe and the right to use the name "Kentucky Fried Chicken" to businesses in exchange for a 5 cent royalty on every chicken sold. He adopted the white suit as part of his Kentucky colonel shtick. By 1964, when he sold his company, there were 600 franchises.

Today, KFC is one of the best-known fast food brands worldwide, with more than 18,000 franchises in 115 countries. In Japan for instance, a bucket of KFC is a mandatory part of Christmas celebrations.