Wednesday, September 29, 2010

From the Glorious Plains of the Fried Chicken Battle...

This is perhaps amazingly coincidental, but Vana White was just praising the health benefits of cast iron skillets at the end of today's episode of Wheel of Fortune. Longtime readers are of course aware of the fact that I count among my choicest possessions an immense cast iron skillet. It's true, these marvels of the cooking world are nearly as old as metallurgy and as useful today as they ever were. When it comes to high-heat cooking, searing, pan-frying, or baking, nothing beats its natural non-stick surface or curious ability to transfer healthy doses of iron into whatever you're cooking.
Now, what is my absolute favorite thing to cook in my prize skillet? Easy - fried chicken. You see, legends have been passed by word of mouth of the secret recipe that was whispered into Abraham Lincoln's ear by the Archangel Gabriel and passed down through bizarre Masonic ceremonies until it made its home in our humble Brooklyn abode. What is so special about this secret recipe once known only to heaven and later bequeathed to heroic presidents? Is it that the floured chicken is left out for 45 minutes before cooking? Is it the Old Bay seasoning? No one knows but I.
But there are Dark Forces at work in the world of fried chicken. And in the cruel depths of Harlem exists a recipe circulated in small circles. Legend has it that Huitzilopotchli, the highest of all the Aztec pantheon swore only to give the secret of his fried chicken recipe to the Last Emperor. And when Cuauhtémoc fell, sure enough, the codex containing the sacred fried chicken recipe fell into the hands of Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro.
Fig. 1: Huitzilopotchli fryin' up some chicken!
The recipe was lost for centuries until rediscovered - GOD knows how - by none other than my archnemesis, ROBIN.
Last year, Robin had the honor - nay - the privilege to taste my magical fried chicken recipe. To give you an idea of how I felt about what she said about the chicken, I here post some things that have been said or written about my chicken from various reputable sources.
"William's chicken caused me to weep for its resplendent beauty. I lost sleep thinking about his marvelous creation. I fear only that I shall never again know happiness like the first time I bit into that savory delight." -Greg M., Queens
"It puts KFC to shame - also, he is very attractive." -Maria F., Brooklyn
"I am too drunk to taste this chicken, but if I weren't drunk, I am sure that I would gladly sell my firstborn to the man behind this recipe." -Colonel S., Louisville, KY
That said, nothing took me by surprise so much as when Ms. Robin said, "Eh, it's all right. You should try my recipe."
At that point I was not yet aware that Ms. Robin's recipe came from an Aztec god. For shame. Clearly we had to engage in an ULTIMATE BATTLE FOR CHICKEN SUPREMACY!
The date: September 18.
The time: When we got around to it.
The place: Ms. Robin's apartment.
The Iron Chefs: Ms. Robin vs. William
And the battle ensued. An eclipse blocked out the sun. The Hudson River ran red with blood. My skillet sizzled with divine majesty. Robin's chicken lay in the oven, waiting , resting, biding its time. Just what is her secret? Bisquick. Yes Bisquick. Those Aztecs were way ahead of their time, having invented Bisquick before they invented government. The cooking subsided. The moon rose in the sky. The waters subsided. And there was peace. The battle was over. The chicken need only be tasted to see who reigned supreme.
Fig. 2: My chicken. Secret ingredient pictured at back.
Robin dressed her chicken in lemon juice and fresh parsley. I dabbed my chicken dry and prepared for the best. And we sat down to the feast.
There was silent contemplation. Both sides seemed puzzled. Indeed, both Gabriel's and Huitzilopotchli's recipes seemed - equally delicious. How could this be? On the glorious fields of battle there must be a victor. But what was this -- ?
You see, earlier in the evening, one Maria, who many may knows as my fiancée, made a mashed potatoes and sour cream recipe. It was to be served as a complement to the fried chicken to be made. The only problem is - THE POTATOES WERE MORE POPULAR THAN ANY OF THE CHICKEN!
From Brooklyn came a Dark Horse riding up.
It was Maria, Napoleon of the Kitchen.
All glory went to Maria's delicious concoction. Robin and I stared at each other for a solid minute and broke down in tears. The heavens had failed us, and a new Queen of the Universe ascended to the throne of Victory.
What had been learned of this battle? Certainly Robin and I learned that both of our fried chickens are wonders of the modern world. But, to paraphrase the great Jedi Warrior Luke Skywalker - our overconfidence was our weakness. And to paraphrase the great Sith Lord Emperor Palpatine - your negligence of side-dishes as well.
Still, I think everybody wins when fried chicken and potatoes are involved.
Stay tuned next week when I reveal the secrets of weight loss and how I plan on losing 70 pounds before July 2, 2011. (Hint: avoid eating too much fried chicken.)


  1. In order to fully capture the awesomeness of the mashed potatoes, one is obligated to mention that in addition to mere sour cream, they also contained scallions and BACON. Mmm, bacon. But to further reiterate the point that we're all winners, behold this bento made of leftovers:

  2. I would like to state for the record that I am still weeping for that chicken's resplendent beauty.