Tag Archives: waffles

Chicken and waffles

This is definitely one of those Southern things that people don’t “get” until they try it. Chicken and waffles. One of my guiltiest pleasures (besides Velveeta and bacon-wrapped cocktail weenies).

The history of chicken and waffles is a bit murky, but it is definitely a soul food thing.  Since there’s no real established history of the chicken and waffle, I can just run wild here and tell you what I think happened. Obviously, fried chicken started in the South. That’s why they call it Southern fried chicken, isn’t it. And, historically, who makes the best fried chicken? You know this one. African Americans. I can tell you without a doubt that if you ask about the top three fried chicken restaurants in Nashville, they will all be owned and/or staffed by black people. Okay, I’ll just tell you: Swett’s, Prince’s Hot Chicken and Monell’s.

However, I do not believe that post Civil War many black people were making waffles in the South. First off, nobody could afford flour. BUT! What freed slaves were doing in droves was getting the hell out of Dodge and moving North. In the case of chicken and waffles, they were specifically moving to Harlem, which is the epicenter of the Chicken and Waffles Movement (no, there is no such thing but it sounds important, doesn’t it?). There was flour up North, thereby making the likelihood of waffles more possible. If you Google chicken and waffles, the joints in Harlem will always be at the top of the list.

That is how I believe chicken and waffles started. Southern fried chicken + people move to Harlem + flour. There you have it.

But maybe you don’t care about the history of chicken and waffles. Maybe you just want to eat some.

Here’s how I do mine. First of all, I use waffle mix. As you can see, my waffle mix is right next to my beloved Bisquick in the freezer because in the South you do not store dry goods in the pantry. Bugs. No need to elaborate. Bisquick is good for pancakes, but it doesn’t have enough heft to make a waffle. I don’t need to tell you how to use a waffle iron, do I? I didn’t think so.

For the chicken, I used boneless chicken breasts. The traditional chicken and waffles comes with bone-in pieces, but I find it irritating to navigate around the bones and then combine the perfect bite of chicken with waffle. Why make your food aggravating to eat? Isn’t there enough trouble in the world?

So the secret to my fried chicken – boned or not – is this: one 1-ounce package of ranch dressing mix to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. You can thank me later.

Then once the chicken is done, make the waffles so that they’re nice and hot. Add the butter (real) and maple syrup. Please, for the love of God, do not buy those cheap name brands (rhymes with Hog Baggin’). Look at the label. If the first ingredient is corn syrup, that is not at all what you want. Don’t make me come after you.









Filed under breads, breakfast, chicken, Uncategorized

Smack talk at church

“You’re not going to serve those $8 sausages at breakfast are you?” Greer Carlisle asked suspiciously. We were standing in front of the West Wind Farms stand at the farmer’s market one Saturday morning and I was regaling Greer with the wondrous quality of Ralph Cole’s hot sage pork sausage.

Greer goes to church with me and he’s on one of the Men’s Club’s breakfast cooking teams. Ordinarily, breakfast at church is a pretty basic affair: scrambled eggs, sausage, grits, gravy and biscuits, all for a modest monetary donation. But Josh Sutherland, the president of the Men’s Club, has thrown down the gauntlet. He has announced a contest in which each team will try to raise the most money. The winning team will get aprons. Aprons! Well, we are all very excited about that.

I will modestly say that I put on a pretty good spread for church breakfast. Sometimes it’s Emeril’s Creole Bread Pudding. Sometimes Mark makes these delicious breakfast quesadillas oozing with melted cheese. We just try to add a little sparkle to the menu. It is a little unusual that I’m on a Men’s Club cooking team, but that’s probably a story for another day. Maybe I’ll tell that one when I tell you why I’m also the Men’s Club procurer of supplies for the kitchen. Or maybe I won’t. No need stirring up trouble.

At any rate, Greer’s team has stepped it up and he’s now on the prowl to see what we’re up to. Greer has started offering homemade blueberry waffles. And fresh fruit. Last Sunday, he stopped me in the hallway. “You’re not going to do fresh fruit, too, are you?” he probed. “So what are you making next Sunday?”

Ha! I’ve got him on the run now. “Oh,” I said casually, “I’m making Beignets to order.” He looked at me suspiciously. “What’s a Beignet?” I actually think he knew, but he was poking fun at me. “It’s a French doughnut,” I said. “Like the ones they have in New Orleans.” He just shook his head as though to say, “Why would you be making  French doughnuts for church breakfast?”

I am not going to tell Greer that they come out of a box, and don’t you either. He would never let me live that down.

But I’m telling you because you’ve got to try this. These things are so addictive Mark and I ate a whole batch ourselves. Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans makes the mix and if you can’t find it at the Publix or wherever you shop, you can order it online.

So I’m thinking Greer will just turn green when he gets to church on Sunday and finds me frying my Beignets, which he thinks I made from scratch, to order in my Fry Baby Deep Fat Fryer. I am proud to say Kirby Horton, another of our team members, invented the to order menu items when he volunteered to make eggs to order a few months ago. This has given our team a distinct advantage over the others.

I am sure that the Beignets will inch us towards victory, but I’m saving the coup de grace for our last breakfast of the year. I am going to digress here to say that coup de grace is French for “blow of mercy,” meaning a blow intended to end the suffering of a wounded creature. That’s not too ugly, is it?

For our last breakfast, I’m making Eggs Benedict. With homemade Hollandaise sauce. To order, naturally.

1 Comment

Filed under breakfast, sweets