I have a simple “yes” or “no” question for you. Have you ever heard of “chicken & waffles”? And for those who haven’t this isn’t just regular chicken, we’re talking fried chicken!
I can’t recall when I first heard of it, but I’ve been dreaming about it for quite some time. Yes, that’s right, I dream about fried chicken & waffles, don’t you?
So first a history lesson, I thought chicken & waffles were a commonly known thing, but after asking around, I had a bunch of people looking at me all crazy-like! It’s definitely a southern dish, usually characterized in the “Soul Food” category and after a quick look through Wikipedia (where else?), the jury is still out on how these were initially paired together.
- “As unusual as it might seem, the marriage of chicken and waffles actually has deep roots. Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron back from France in the 1790s and the combination began appearing in cookbooks shortly thereafter. The pairing was enthusiastically embraced by African-Americans in the South. For a people whose cuisine was based almost entirely on the scraps left behind by landowners and plantation families, poultry was a rare delicacy; in a flapjack culture, waffles were similarly exotic. Chicken and waffles for decades has been a special-occasion meal in African-American families, often supplying a hearty Sunday morning meal before a long day in church.”
- Some historians believe the dish goes back to the late 19th century, when Southern African-Americans, recently freed from slavery, began migrating to the Northern United States. According to author John T. Edge: “My guess is that it comes from the days when someone would go out in the morning and wring a chicken’s neck and fry it for breakfast. Preparing a breakfast bread with whatever meat you have on the hoof, so to speak, comes out of the rural tradition.”
Well, I was in New York recently and it was time for chicken & waffles. I was told of a great place in Harlem, but knowing my luck with the Subway system, I would have ended up in New Jersey or some other remote place! Next time, I will tackle Harlem, but this time around, I stayed close to where I was staying and found a place in an awesome part of Brooklyn (Williamsburg) called ‘Pies N Thighs’.
When I sat down and looked at the menu, there it was! However, at the same moment, I realized there was no way this could meet my expectations, because at this point, I had built up the combo in my head to be a culinary experience for the ages and unfortunately, I was right.
- The plate looked great and when they say chicken & waffles, that’s exactly what it is.
- The chicken was moist and cooked really well.
- There was a great cinnamon butter served on top of the waffles.
- Enjoyed my Arnold Palmer (1/2 iced tea and 1/2 lemonade)
- The chicken lacked seasnoning and that is probably my biggest complaint. Me and my uncle agreed that even KFC was better seasoned. The Colonel Sanders does know his chicken!
- I’m not a waffle expert (is there such a thing?), but I have a sneaking suspicion that they weren’t fresh. They were a little soggy and soft, like they had been frozen, sort of like an Eggo. Well, this complaint is a very close second.
- I’m a huge fan of extra crispy fried chicken and this was only bordering crispy.
I loved the combination, it was a total get-your-hands-messy-finger-licking-good-experience. I know it can be better and I plan on eating more chicken & waffles to prove my point! We will meet again!