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Harris Blackwood: It’s time for Gainesville to get serious about cooking chicken
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

We have now completed another edition of our annual Chicken Festival in Gainesville.

As many of you know, we are the poultry capital of the world. Based on what I have seen from the Mars rover and other space exploration devices, I think we are safe in saying that we are the poultry capital of the universe. As far as I’m aware, no Venus or Martian chicken has been offered for sale.

Nashville has made noise in recent years with something called Nashville Hot Chicken. It seems that a small chicken place became famous for very spicy chicken and it appears to be gaining popularity.

If we are indeed the poultry capital, perhaps it is time to develop our own special recipe for chicken. The late Col. Harland Sanders prepared his Kentucky Fried Chicken with 11 herbs and spices. I understand the exact formula is locked away for safekeeping.

Some people don’t care for overly spicy chicken. Perhaps we need to formulate a special crust or perhaps we should marinate our chicken in buttermilk to make it extra moist.

I don’t know if our special Gainesville recipe needs to be cooked in an iron skillet or deep-fried.

We have several places around town that are known for good fried chicken, now we need to kick it up a notch and put our bird on the table for everyone to evaluate.

This is not to be taken lightly. Our Gainesville chicken needs to be the kind of recipe that folks would talk about from one end of this country to the other.

I’m told that in China, one of the hottest selling food items is Kentucky Fried Chicken. Our recipe needs to be so good that people not only come here from other states, but other countries, as well.

When you travel across the country and you hand the agent your driver’s license and they see you are from Gainesville, they will make some wonderful compliment about our well-known recipe.

Restaurants that serve chicken will gladly put a banner out when they are featuring our prize poultry. It would put our town on the map like it has never been before.

Think about it, there are cities all over the U.S. known for various food entrees. Memphis has become known for barbecue, Kansas City is famous for ribs, Philadelphia is known for a cheese steak sandwich and San Francisco is known for Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat.

The numbers are correct and we are the poultry capital of the world. It’s painted on some of our water towers. There are some who maintain that we may have been the birthplace of fried chicken.

Come on, great cooks and community leaders, we have a year to devise our unique recipe for fried chicken. It does not need to be a great secret, but it does need to be tasty, flavorful and really special.

Get your Crisco, your cast iron skillet and let’s get to work putting out prize poultry on the world map.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.

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