History of National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day
Chick-fil-A allegedly invented the fried chicken sandwich sometime in the 1940s, according to the company. But, recipes and many historians believe that Scottish chicken frying techniques (lard and no seasoning) and West African chicken pan frying techniques (palm oil, lots of seasoning) were combined by enslaved African and African-Americans in the antebellum South and, thusly, fried chicken as we know it was born.
Is it possible that someone happened to put a deliciously, golden crispy slice of fried chicken between two slices of bread with a couple pickles during that time? Yes. In fact, ads found in newspapers for fried chicken sandwiches pre-date the time period that Chick-fil-A claims to have invented it.
It’s great marketing on Chick-fil-A’s part, but faulty history. The inventor of the fried chicken sandwich is (probably) just as shrouded and forgotten in history’s greasy pages as the inventor of fried chicken itself — or dumplings, or empanadas for that matter. It’s become such a staple in our cuisine it’s hard to pinpoint its advent to one person.
And, while the fried chicken sandwich has thrusted its way into cultural ubiquity, its roots are marred in Jim Crow-era racism. Post Civil War, African American individuals weren’t allowed to raise expensive meats (such as steak and pork) so were relegated to rearing chickens, which is how the stereotype of associating African Americans with the dish came about. It was often all they could make, so they made the best of it.
But over time the delicious appeal of fried chicken spread its proverbial wings and took flight into the hearts of Americans everywhere. It’s hard to deny the combination of fatty cuts of chicken, marinated in buttermilk, dredged in spices and batter, and then deep fried in oil as anything other than delicious.
National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day timeline
The Scottish - one of the first purveyors of fried chicken, start immigrating to America.
During antebellum America, slaves combined the West African and Scottish techniques of frying chicken to create the style we know today.
The Quebec version of a hot chicken sandwich makes its entry - with chicken on bread smothered in poutine gravy.
The city's infamous hot fried chicken resulted from alleged revenge for infidelity that backfired and became a staple cuisine.
Chick-fil-A's markets that it invented the fried chicken sandwich in the 1940s.
Popeyes releases its first ever fried chicken sandwich which breaks all records and sparked a frenzy.
After a brief hiatus, Popeyes returns its chicken sandwich to stores, once again inciting a cultural frenzy.
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National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day Activities
Eat a Chicken Sandwich
This one's a layup, go out and eat a fried chicken sandwich if you want to take part in the day's traditions!
Popeyes vs. Chick-fil-A
If you really want to get involved in the cultural dialogue, grab one from each of these two locations and let everyone know your hot take on the current zeitgeist.
Host your own chicken fry
Invite your friends over, get the oil ready, and prepare for an afternoon of greasy, yummy fried chicken with some of your favorite people. Is there anything better?
Why We Love National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day
It's probably one of our tastier days, if we do say so ourselves. It's hard to beat perfectly fried chicken already, add the combination and the contrasts of flavors, textures, and spices and you get a winning food experience that's really out of this world.
It's the "thing"
Fried chicken sandwiches have always been popular but now, because of Popeyes, it's part of the cultural zeitgeist. If local news channels are covering the Popeyes frenzy then you know that the craze has permeated into the daily fabric of being in America.
You can do it at home
It may be a little messy, but frying chicken is something you can do at home with your friends and family. If you're not into waiting in lines, get that oil and the batter ready and fry it up!
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