Theimmigrants from Scotlandfrom the southern states of Usa had a tradition of deep frying chicken pieces in fat and even prior to this they used to fry fritters in the middle ages. The migrants from Scotland would often labor, live and dine with the indentured Africans and this lead to the Africans adding some additional seasoning to the dish andgeneratingtheir own versionof crispy fried chicken. These Africans later evolved to be thecooksin many a Southern American household where crispy fried chicken became a ordinary staple. They also observed that it transported well inhotclimatic conditions before refrigeration was everyday so was consumed on almost every day basis as they journeyed to the cotton fields to labor. Since, it has become the southern state's best optionfor just about any occasion.
This is said to have come from a fellow called James Boswell who wrote ajournalin 1773 called “record of a Tour to the Hebrides”. In his diary he noted that at dinner the locals would eat fricassee of capon which he went on to say “crispy deep-fried chicken or something like that”. What he in actual fact heard was the Scottish dish Friars Chicken, not crispy deep-fried chicken but you could say that where it was first named.
The very true origins of fried chicken we will probably never know but the earliest known process for crispy fried chicken in English is stashed in one of the most eminent cookery books of the 18th century by Hannah Glasse called The Art of cooking Made Plain and Easy. Her formula had a strange name known as “To Marinate Chickens” which was first released in 1747. The book was a hit in the UK and more importantly in the US Colonies.
Here is the original formula...
Cut two chickens into quarters; steep them in vinegar for 3-4 hours with pepper, salt, bay and a few cloves. Make a very thick batter first with ½ pint of wine and flour then 2 eeg yolkssome melted butter and nutmeg. Beat it all together thoroughly, dip yourchicken piecesin the batter and fry them in a high-quality deal of hogs lardwhich must boil first before you put your fowl in. Let them be of a fine browncolour and lay them on your platter with a garnish of fried parsley. Serve with lemons and a fine gravy. Today, we have substituted the hog fat with Rapeseed oil which has nearly zero trans fats and we use a brine of buttermilk and salt to season our chicken throughout. It’s amazing to think how far this recipe has journeyed worldwide and how different cultures have adopted their own versions.