Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jamaican Fried Chicken: The Remix

The last time I was in Jamaica, I was surprised to see how prominent fried chicken had become on local menus. From Kingston to Christiana, people were eating fried chicken legs the way they once ate jerk chicken. Even my cousins had fried chicken on my grandmother’s birthday party menu. But I wasn’t disappointed. The flavors came together like some Jamaican remake of an American song. The chicken was grown on a nearby farm. After the slaughter, legs, thighs, breasts and wings sat in a seasoning bath of garlic, onion, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, and thyme. They were then dipped in flour and thrown in the deep, bubbly Dutch pot. The village feast called hungry bellies near and far to partake of the Jah-merican throwdown. It seemed bodies were emerging from graves, the fried fragrance like the hearkening of Jesus’ second coming. My mother, a spongy cook, who can recall the ingredients and technique of most dishes, made some this evening, the same fried fragrance calling me from my hustle-and-bustle-make-that-money trance.

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