Tuesday, September 29, 2009

KFC

It's just so crispy, so moist. How can anyone dislike this fried chicken? So I thought last Friday Night after making an 11:00 stop at KFC.

Yes, that's right, KFC, the restaurant that has stores in more than 109 countries, and that is one of the world's most recognizable restaurants. Yet the American icon is also a corporation that's been known for inhumane treatment of its chickens, and has, for the most part, refused to change its ways.

Im almost embarassed to admit how much I enjoyed the succulent, crispy-crunchy thigh that I crammed down my throat on Friday Night, but Anthony Bourdain has a point when he says that chefs are in the pleasure business, and as long as the food tastes good, it doesn't matter if your chicken came from the black market in Djabouti (he didn't exactly say that part) as long as it tastes good.

I can't say necessarily I agree with that, but there are a lot of people who do, and if it's 11:00 on a Friday Night and you're craving some fourthmeal and you can put the ethical issues on the back burner for a few minutes, what's wrong with a crispy thigh with those 11 signature herbs and spices every once in a while?

20 comments:

Kayla said...

Believe me, Nick.. once you find a good fried chicken recipe of your own, KFC will start to taste like nothing but salt. Good luck with that. :)

Nathan said...

MSG is whats wrong with it. I think that a chef should be against MSG for self-serving, if not ethical reasons. It essentially cheats your brain into thinking your eating something better than you are. This article describes how to make it without MSG, and how it doesn't taste as good. http://lifehacker.com/5323706/make-reverse+engineered-kfc-at-home

Anonymous said...

A chef, OR an aspiring chef, should NEVER put their ethical issues on the back burner. I feel terribly disappointed in you...With your blog comes responsibility. You either believe in something or you don't. You have the power to reach thousands of people and teach them, educate them...and what you just taught is that it is OK to be brutal and inhumane to our food sources (something you have disparaged in many posts). I know that you are young, but it is time to take a stand and put your money where your mouth is.

Wayne said...

The anonymous poster is completely out of line. If you want to enjoy KFC go ahead. You're a kid. Enjoy it and don't get caught up in ethical debates if you don't want to.

Also, as a food scientist, MSG does not cheat your brain into thinking its tasting something better than what is there. MSG is a flavor enhancer and a salt substitute. Nothing else. If you want to say its bad for you go ahead but its not fooling anyones brain into thinking anything...

Daniel King said...

Chickens are tasty whether they come from your local farmer or Abu Dhabi. And I, like most every sane person reading your blog, am aware that by saying you like KFC (who doesn't have similar weaknesses?) in no way translates to you condoning absolutely everything they do.

Keep up the awesome posts, the writing that belies your age, and the inspired recipes and ideas. You, sir, are amazing.

limoncello said...

There's nothing unique or truly scandalous about a chef or food freak admitting to a junk food weakness: is it Michael Pollan who confessed to a soft spot for Doritos? Thomas Keller eats at In 'n' Out Burger. And Tom Colicchio stated publicly his addiction to Fresca. We all draw the line in different places, and that's a personal decision.
That said, I find this philosophy totally irresponsible: "Anthony Bourdain has a point when he says that chefs are in the pleasure business, and as long as the food tastes good, it doesn't matter if your chicken came from the black market in Djabouti (he didn't exactly say that part) as long as it tastes good."
It's not just irresponsible, but it's not even correct: Taste of food and ethics in what you eat are not mutually exclusive.
I love Bourdain, but every time I hear him say it doesn't matter where his food came from as long as it tastes good, I wonder if he has the same attitude toward sex, since hookers are also in the "pleasure" business: the history is irrelevant, it's only the moment that matters.
Way dangerous attitude, both at the table and in bed.

Nick N said...

anonymous
I appreciate your enthusiasm, however
in this day and age, no one is perfect in terms of the food they eat, and I think it is better to man up to that fact, and talk about my occasional indulgences, rather than play it off as if I was perfect.

craigkite said...

Dude,
I got to fall in with the KFC-Haters. You must be lucky to have an outlet that has cooks that can hear the timer and drain all the grease before serving. I have had too many under-cooked and over-cooked chicken parts from the Colonel. In theory, and after several rounds of intoxicants, the KFC stuff can be tasty. The mass market has disappointed me too often.
As Kayla observed, nothing beats your own when you finally get it right. It was a melancholy day when I realized my fried chicken was better than my mother's. I knew that I finally understood some cooking basics, but that I would never have that moment of bliss digging into one of Mom's thighs (Oedipus Schmoedipus, I love ya, Mom!). Thanks for sharing your "guilty pleasure" with us. Mine is still White Castle sliders.

ML said...

Although I can't stomach KFC (the chicken, I do love their mac n cheese)...I can appreciate someone who puts food snobbery aside and simply will eat something that they think just tastes good. In my opinion, you can't truly be a good chef if you don't eat all things in moderation!

Jackie said...

Nick - I appreciate your candor and your perspective. We're all growing and changing all the time, that is part of life! Enjoy your blog - best of luck w/your adventures in cuisine!

ps -
I haven't had KFC in FOREVER, but your post made me crave it.

Harlem's A Hatin said...

I love KFC. Their popcorn chicken is To Die For!

http://harlemshaterade.blogspot.com

James said...

Your anonymous reader is quite amusing!

While you make amazing food for customers, when it comes to eating yourself, like everyone else there are times when you need a break. I had a fried chicken addiction living in London. I blame my CDP at the time who started me on it. After a 16 hour day + 2 hours of travelling there were times after midnight on the way home in the zero or below temperatures when it seemed very appealing. Haven't done it in the 3 1/2 years sinced I moved though. It's an addiction you can get over when you eat more regularly.....

The body does crave either fat or sugar when your blood sugar is down - fried chicken is quick fix energy.

Jumper said...

Wow, I like your answer to Anon, Nick.

Most people are for non-cruel food.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGRCelgIHbk

Tags said...

The last time I ate KFC was over twenty years ago. It was a disgusting glop of coating over slimy meat. If they changed the recipe since then, it's too late for me. That train left the station.

OTOH, it's hard to find really good fried chicken in the Philly area. John T. Edge's "Fried Chicken, An American Story" has some great recipes.

Jumper said...

I started work at Kentucky Fried Chicken when I was 15. I worked there all through high school and once in between semesters of college.

The original recipe depended on very close tolerances on time and temperature, and mistakes would make the chicken very greasy, but done right very little oil was taken up by the chicken, and therefore was good tasting and popular. But the successive corporations never could idiot-proof the process. Thus overall the crispy is more popular. Original recipe done right is a very good type of fried chicken.

Anonymous said...

Nick,

I am truly suprised by the response my post to you recieved. Being a kid has nothing to do with the choices you make. I expect so much from you because you have given so much...I think you are a truly special young man. Many times in your blog you discuss ethical issues, and have done so passionately. This was NOT about liking "junk food", this was about taking a stand for the food we eat...which you do OFTEN! I will repeat my thought that you either believe in something or you don't...standing strong in those beliefs gives you integrity. I am a bit baffled by people thinking that I was attacking you...I think most people feel protective of you because of your young age..but it is the choices that we make that define who we are...and saying that just because you eat at KFC doesn't mean that you condone all their practices is silly...it means just that...because unless people (like you!!)who are concerned about the quality, safety, and humanity of our food sources take a stand and say, "enough!" nothing changes. You can't decide to care about food ethics one day and not another...life doesn't work that way...and yet I am sad to say that most people don't have the courage of their convictions, and we, as a country have suffered for it. Growing up is hard. I know that you are feeling your way, and you are doing a great job...I hope that you really think about what it is I am trying to say to you (and not doing such a good job with!). Please know that I am a great admirer of yours, and being mean or critical was not my intention...I just very much wanted you to understand what I was trying to say...you are the culinary future....you have great influence, use it wisely.

Susan O. said...

I remember Julia Child commenting that she, on occasion, really liked Mc Donalds. I think it was before they stopped using animal fat to fry their food.

Come on Anonymous. You can't be but so critical since you're too CHICKEN (nice!) to use your own name! I'm sure you never, ever eat anything but water that's fallen from clouds and wild clover.

Paul said...

It turns out that KFC's recipe contains no herbs and only one spice.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Anonymous. It is unfortunate that food ethics advocates evokes such heated, aggressive responses and attacks from other. People shouldbe allowed to enjoy whatever they feel tastes good, but they should not blind themselves to implications behind their choices. You quote Mr. Bourdain, yet I think Dan Barber (whom I am assuming you are familiar with) should be more the posterchild for good ethics in eating. You can hear his philosophy on food on TED.com, in his restaurants, and on TV in Eric Ripert's show. He is incredibly insightful and inspirational.

Bruna said...

i don't like KTC , it looks disgusting for me - sorry , i don't eat chicken !