“I first fried chicken as a teenager to impress a boyfriend. The ploy worked fine, but making the chicken was such a hassle I wasn’t eager to repeat the experience for anyone for a long time. Also, I knew even then that the final result wasn’t as good as it could have been.
Ever since, I’ve been clipping fried chicken recipes and refining them, taking hints form one to add to good parts of another. And now, after years of searching, I’ve finally found the most incredible recipe of all. It appears in Tender At The Bone, not a cookbook per se, but rather a very tasty memoir by my friend Ruth Reichl, restaurant critic for The New York Times. Ruth originally wrested this recipe, with some guile, from a woman named Claritha, whom she’d met in a bar in Ann Arbor during the sixties.”
Zanne Early Stewart, excerpted from Gourmet Magazine June 1998*
The beauty of this story is that it hooks you—or loses you—immediately.
You are either the making fried chicken sort (in which case you are already adding the ingredients to your grocery list and marking off the 2–day prep time on your calendar) or you recoil in horror and move to the next article with lightening speed.
And isn’t that what we want? Either hook ‘em or send ‘em back, right up front. No dallying, no words wasted. Just simple, evocative, from-the-heart copy.
Not only will I read anything Zanne Early Stewart chooses to write about food, but I clipped that story and have lovingly made (and added my own touches to) Claritha’s Fried Chicken Wings for almost 15 years. I’m in her tribe for keeps.
Can your audience say the same about you?
*If you want just the recipe, you can find it here on epicurious. For the complete original story AND recipe, drop me a line and I’ll send you the PDF I made for safekeeping. Complete with hot oil spatters.