It looks like Americans have food on the brain this first week in July as nearly every day marks a national holiday of a favorite picnic or camping food — one of which is National Fried Chicken Day on Saturday, July 6.
Fried chicken was brought to the United States by Scottish Immigrants who carried on their nation's tradition of deep-frying chicken in fat. Combined with some influences from African cooking, it became the fried chicken we know today. It became particularly popular in the Deep South and as its popularity grew, so did the number of seasonings and spices in the chicken's coating.
The world's most famous and successful fast food chicken restaurant, Kentucky Fried Chicken, has capitalized on the secrecy of the 11 herbs and spices in their recipe to attract attention and build sales. The recipe was created during the Great Depression by Harland Sanders, the owner of a gas station in Kentucky who decided to sell food along with gas. Soon lines were forming for his fried chicken, which Sanders made in a pressure cooker to preserve the flavor and juiciness of the meat. The governor of Kentucky was so impressed he gave Sanders the honorary title of "Colonel" in 1935.
Sanders was a brilliant businessman who decided he could make money building Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises around the globe. The first franchise opened in Utah in 1952. According to KFC, there are now more than 21,000 outlets for the Colonel's chicken in 130 countries and territories.
Sanders died in 1980, but KFC continues to use his image in its marketing while KFC copycat recipes fill up the internet.
Fried chicken has evolved since the first days of Sanders' recipe with more restaurants adding new variations of traditional fried chicken — chicken tenders, chicken strips, boneless wings and chicken and waffles. However you eat it, fried chicken is about as American as you can get.
Other holidays this week
- Monday, July 1: Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day
- Tuesday, July 2: National Anisette Day
- Wednesday, July 3: National Eat Your Beans Day
- Thursday, July 4: Independence Day
- Friday, July 5: National Graham Cracker Day
- Saturday, July 6: National Fried Chicken Day
- Sunday, July 7: National Macaroni Day