7,500 – 5,000 B.C.E.
Before there were psychic hotlines, there were chickens. The flightless fowl was believed to have future-predicting abilities, since they announce daybreak– which, in turn, lead to their domestication. So, if someone says “this KFC is divine”, they wouldn’t be far off.
Traders from Southeast Asia brought these sacred birds to other cultures, where some used them as entertainment in fights, while others used them as a food source. Eventually, thoughts of celestial chickens faded, and thoughts of dinner persisted.
100 – 1600 C.E.
Chickens roosted their way from religious ceremonies to royal tables at the turn of the century. Historians can see early accounts of fried chicken in Asian and Africa though the “twice-cooked” approach, where the meat is both braised and fried. This cooking method moved to the colonizing world, where we can see it translated into the fried chicken we know and love today.
1700s – 1900s
For a flightless bird, the chicken journeyed a long way from where it came. Soon, this common fowl became ubiquitous, on nearly every continent. While the method of cooking chicken had been around for centuries before, the first fried chicken recipe was published in a British cookbook in 1747. Along with their tea tax, the British brought the beloved recipe to the U.S. Soon, fried chicken became synonymous with the South, as it was a simple standard and extremely popular.
1950s – 1980s
As chickens became plentiful and cheap to buy, chicken farms started to develop across the U.S. The combination of chicken, globalization, American capitalism, and the 11 secret spices (of course) created the fried chicken fast food chains that can be seen in every city, small town, airport and rest stop.
Mainstream popularity of fried chicken started with a colonel and his buckets of chicken. Now, fried chicken is served at bougie restaurants and being eaten by plaid-clad hipsters who claim that “this is the best artisanal chicken in the city.” Even Michelin Star chefs can’t resist this Southern favorite. However, some might say they shatter tradition by turning a simple recipe into something “organic” or “gourmet”.
Whether your chicken is from a bucket or laid on top of a fluffy waffle, we can all agree that the salivating taste is pure culinary pleasure, and keeps us exploring new ways to make fried chicken delicious.
Make your own fried chicken at home with Home Chef.