The fried chicken is a pretty staple dish in the American continents, with many claiming it to be almost a national dish, or akin to that level. The love of friend chicken is not limited just to the United States of America, many Asian countries and regions are also popular for their love of the dish, but the connection of fried chicken and America is on another level itself.
So it is quite interesting to learn of how some sources and historians state that the origins of the dish came from African people enslaved in America.
What Is The Origin Of Fried Chicken?
Till date the actual origins of fried chicken are a mystery. Some historians claim that Scottish immigrants or Southerners of European descent were the ones who had the idea to put chicken pieces in a batter and then frying it or were it the African people who had come up with the dish.
However, it is a fact that West Africans did have dishes were food was fried in hot oil so the thought that Africans came up with the dish is not far off. Also, the current state of fried chicken pretty certainly came from the South of America. It was here that African slaves are said to worked on and perfected the recipe of fried chicken and introduce it into the American culture.
The chicken and African slaves in America have a much deeper connection beyond just fried chicken. Chicken as per sources was considered a sacred farm animal in West Africa and thus quite commonly available.
This was quite different from white people of the colonial era who weren’t that familiar with chicken as a food item, choosing to eat other forms of poultry like beef and pork. The chicken for African people brought on as slaves to the American continent on the other hand was one of the few things they actually enjoyed.
As per a report by The Washington Post Polish poet Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz who in 1798 while visiting George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon noted in his diary “That (free-roaming chicken) is the only pleasure allowed to the negroes: they are not permitted to keep either ducks or geese or pigs.”
As per research historian, Mary V. Thompson Washington’s slaves also dabbled in selling some of their chickens in Alexandria.
Obviously, the white people wanting to limit the freedom and any form of extra income coming towards the African people tried to bring about various laws that limited what they could and could not own. An example could be the General Assembly of Virginia outlawing in 1692 slaves from owning cattle, horses and hogs.
However, a loophole was found since there was no mention of chicken in the law. This allowed some few slaves who were allowed to, to own chickens, raise them and sell them in the market. The money from this allowed the slaves to purchase few necessities and even in very rare instances buy their freedom.
Chicken thus became intrinsic in the black culture, given its history with the people, how cheap it was, easy to travel with and prepare in general.
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This post is tagged under: American Fried Chicken, American Fried Chicken origin, American Fried Chicken dish, American Fried Chicken history, American Fried Chicken african, American Fried Chicken african slaves, fried chicken slaves, fried chicken slavery
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