Sunday, July 3, 2011


Editor's note: Since many folks are enjoying picnics and cook-outs in honor of Independence Day this weekend, I thought this poem would be appropriate. Nothing, I hasten to add, has ever tasted better than fresh-from-the-coop chicken fried up in a pan by my mother -- dad's "Lucy" -- even though most times I had to help her scrape off all the pinfeathers first (dunking the bird in a bucket of boiling water and then adding a little elbow grease usually did the trick)!

They call it Southern recipe,
They call it finger-lickin';
I guess there's fifty-seven ways
For fixin' frying chicken!

Some brown it on a griddle,
After they stew or bake it;
But no one fixes chicken
Like my mother used to make it!

Half a dozen spices,
Or eleven -- doesn't matter;
Mom used salt and pepper
In a milk and cornmeal batter.

The bony parts are useless,
Mom never even fried 'em;
Now they sell 'em anyhow,
But try their best to hide 'em.

The wishbone's non-existent,
And the thighs are abrogated;
The breast is subdivided,
With the ribs incorporated.

That chicken used to have a tail,
Protruding out behind it;
And I suspect it's there somewhere,
If only I could find it!

You can use a pressure cooker,
Or you can broil or grill it;
But don't tell me you fried it
If it never saw a skillet!

--The Buckeye Poet (1991)

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