TheScottish immigrantsfrom the southern states of America had a custom of deep frying chicken in fat and even further back they used to fry fritters in the middle ages. The Scrotish migrants would often labor, live and dine with the African Americans and this lead to the Africans adding some new seasonings to the formula andcreatingtheir own interpretationof deep-fried chicken. These Africans later went on to become thecaterersin many a Southern American house where deep-fried chicken became a frequent staple. They also found that it lasted well well inhotconditions in the times before refrigeration was everyday so was consumed on almost every day basis as they travelled to the cotton fields to labor. Since then it has become the south's go-tofor just about any occasion.
This is said to have come from a chap known as James Boswell who wrote adiaryin 1773 named “journal of a Tour to the Hebrides”. In his diary he noted that at an evening meal the local folks would eat fricassee of rooster which he went on to say “fried chicken or something like that”. What he in reality heard was the Scottish dish Friars Chicken, not fried chicken but you could say that where it was first named.
The very true origins of crispy deep-fried chicken we will probably never know but the earliest known process for fried chicken in English is obscured in one of the most recognized cooking books of the 18th century by Hannah Glasse called The Art of cookery Made Plain and Easy. Her formula had a strange name called “To Marinate Chickens” which was first published in 1747. The book was a success in the England and more importantly in the US Colonies.
Here is the original mix...
Joint two chickens into pieces; 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 yourfowlsin the batter and fry them in a good deal of hogs lardwhich must boil first before you put your fowl in. Let them be of a fine browncolour and place them on your dish with a garnish of fried parsley. Serve with cut lemon and a fine gravy. Nowadays, we have exchanged the hog fat with Rapeseed oil which features 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 mix has journeyed worldwide and how different cultures have adopted their own versions.