This is an actual album of Latin jazz covers Colonel Sanders released in 1968 which means 1) Colonel Sanders was an unrepentant exploiter of other cultures and 2) Latin jazz makes me feel like I’m on Quaaludes.
Apparently July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day. I mean, whatever. Sure. I’m all for fried chicken. I just don’t understand all these food holidays. April 10th is literally National Cinnamon Crescent Day. I don’t even know what that means. Do they mean croissant? Because a chocolate croissant is the only specialty croissant worth its seductively airy weight. What is a crescent? Are they those Pillsbury knock off croissants that come in terrifying pressurized cylinders that pop like a gunshot? Because if that’s the case, Pigs in a Blanket should be getting the damn holiday, not some quasi-biscuit sprinkled with cinnamon. That sounds like an alcoholic mother’s bake sale contribution.
Ok. Fried chicken.
Fried chicken is widely considered the crown jewel of American cuisine. And, like most amazing things in this country, its actually the product of several cultural influences. Scottish immigrants relocated to the American south with their fritters and fricassees and Western African slaves utilized spices to make it more palatable. The New York Times actually has a fascinating article on chicken’s role in American economy. But I’m not giving you the link until you read mine first. Like a time share pitch: you can go down the pool water slide after we talk about Gulf Coast vacation clubs for 9 hours.
While beer seems the traditional pairing for a big bucket of chicken, wine may be better suited. And when deciding upon varietal, seek out a more innocent beverage for inspiration: lemonade. Lemonade’s acidity and touch of sweetness make it a compliment to fatty, salty fried chicken. Brut sparkling wine, off-dry riesling, or an Oregon pinot gris all have the requisite acidity and minerality to refresh the palate.
But its the bit of residual sugar in all these wines that really excels in the pairing as the sweetness balances out the spiciness of all 11 secret herbs and spices. Think of chicken and waffles! Its the maple syrup bridging the gap there. A sweet wine, specifically a late harvest dessert wine or ice wine, makes such a unique, strange, and amazing pairing for savory foods, you’ll swear you’re hanging out with Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx. This is literally the second time in my life I’ve said out loud, in my car, BY MYSELF ‘wait, who is Katie Holmes dating?’ We all remember 2005…
Late harvest wines are made from grapes that have been left on the vine for so long, they have ripened to a point of becoming shriveled, concentrating the sugars. Ice wine, similarly, has concentrated sugar but because the grapes actually froze before harvest. These wines are produced the world over, and have an array of quality and price. Canadian ice wines and California late harvest wines are typically going to be a little more affordable than their German and Austrian counterparts, making it an easier justification for a four piece at Popeye’s.
Give it a shot! Worst outcome: you’re full of drumsticks and buzzed up on wine that tastes like honey. Sounds like a Game of Thrones meal.
Here you go! How the Chicken Built America