TheScottish immigrantsfrom the southern states of Us had a custom of deep-frying chicken pieces in lard and even before this they used to fry fritters in the middle ages. The migrants from Scotland would often work, live and dine with the indentured Africans and this lead to the Africans adding some extra seasoning to the dish andproducingtheir own interpretationof crispy fried chicken. These Africans later went on to become thecooksin many a Southern American family where deep-fried chicken became a prevalent staple.
They also found that it transported well inwarmconditions before refrigeration was seen everyday so was enjoyed on almost a daily basis as they travelled to the cotton fields to work. Since then it has become the region’s best choicefor just about any occasion.
This is said to have come from a fellow called James Boswell who wrote ajournalin 1773 known as “journal of a Tour to the Hebrides”. In his journal he noted that at an evening meal the locals would eat fricassee of rooster which he went on to say “deep-fried chicken or something like that”. What he in actuality 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 deep-fried chicken we will probably never know but the earliest known mix for deep-fried chicken in English is stashed in one of the most recognized cooking books of the 18th century by Hannah Glasse named The Art of cooking Made Plain and Easy. Her mix had a strange name known as “To Marinate Chickens” which was first in print in 1747. The book was a hit in the England and more importantly in the American Colonies.
Here is the original mix...
Cut two chickens into pieces; lay 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 yolksa little melted butter and nutmeg. Beat it all together very well, dip yourchicken piecesin the batter and fry them in a first-rate deal of hogs lardwhich must boil first before you put your fowl in. Let them be of light golden incolour and lay them on your dish with a garnish of fried parsley. Serve with lemon slices and a superior gravy. Now, we have changed the hog fat with Rapeseed oil which contains 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 food has travelled worldwide and how different cultures have adopted their own versions.