It all began far, far away
Believe it or not, chickens weren't exactly popular back in the day. They lived in a small part of the world and nowhere else.
These animals only roamed around in Southeast Asia until merchant caravans took them to Europe sometime before the medieval age.
As you probably know, the Roman Empire was the heart and center of commerce before it fell. And that's where chickens were taken to!
In fact, there's a Roman cookbook from the 4th century that has a recipe for fried chicken - but that's not the one we use today.
If not Rome, then where?
Rome wasn't built in one day, and fried chicken recipes neither.
The thing about fried chicken is that we can't pinpoint where it started! We can tell you that it's delicious - but we can't tell you who is responsible for it.
There are two theories behind this food's history:
The first claims it all started in West Africa. Several traditional cookbooks work as evidence for this theory. Africans have been cooking chickens in so many ways since the 1700s!
The second one says the real recipe comes from Scotland. And that's where the frying technique comes from.
So, which one is right?
We don't know where it started - but we know how it happened
All in all, we can't really pinpoint the exact place where the magic first happened. Fried chicken was probably the result of a series of events rather than one event alone.
And, if you're wondering which theory holds more weight, whether fried chicken started in Scotland or West Africa - well, both are technically true!
The truth is, the fried chicken we all know and love today is a mixture of Scottish and West African recipes. That's right! It's the best of both worlds!
From Scotland, fried chicken got the frying techniques that make it extra crispy. From West Africa, it got all the spices that make it delicious and unique.
Both cultures clashed during the 1800s when Scottish slave-traders and African slaves made their way into America.
It landed down south and spread everywhere else in America...
Fried chicken wasn't an All-American favorite right off the bat. People of color down in the south loved it - but it had few fans outside of that group.
It wasn't until after World War II ended and segregation in America was outlawed that fried chicken made its way to everyone else in the United States.
Before that, it was the staple food on the southern part of America - but not much else outside of it.
The real fried chicken boom happened sometime during the second half of the 20th century. That's when fast food became a thing - and once fast food met fried chicken, it spread like wildfire.
First, fried chicken took over America; then, it took over the world.
...then made its way to the rest of the world!
Chickens made a long voyage from Southeast Asia, then to Africa and Europe, and finally to America - but it didn't stop there!
People from all around the world love fried chicken! Some of them love it so much, they made a tradition out of eating it.
In fact, millions of Japanese people eat fried chicken every Christmas, the same way Americans eat turkey during Thanksgiving Day.
Right next to Japan, in China, the biggest chain of restaurants serves fried chicken as their main meal.
There are countless examples all around the world. And there's one reason for that: fried chicken is for everyone.
How did fried chicken become so popular?
While fried chicken history seems pretty straightforward, three key moments made everything happen. Without them, we would probably have no delicious chicken to begin with!
African Americans laid the foundation for fried chicken
As you now know, both the Scottish and West African are responsible for fried chicken.
Here's the thing: someone would've wound up frying chicken sooner or later. The thing that makes
fried chicken extra-special is the spices - that's where the flavor comes from!
If West Africans didn't like chicken so much, we wouldn't have the chicken we all love today.
Fast food methods made fried chicken a new favorite
First, we needed spices. Then, we needed a way to supply fried chicken to everyone who wants it (and they are millions of people!)
There were two moments in history when chicken production went under big changes: first, when chicken production was first industrialized during the final years of the 1800s; second, when fast food became a thing, sometime during the second half of the 1900s.
Those two changes are responsible for every moment behind a delicious meal, from the egg to your plate.
The American government gave the final push in the 70s
During the 1970s, several medical studies warned the American population of a threat to their health: high cholesterol.
Because of that, American authorities asked the public to replace their pork consumption with poultry.
That little push from the government got millions of people interested in chicken-related food - and, you can probably guess, fried chicken as well. Soon after, the rest of the world caught up to this trend.
Where is fried chicken headed now?
Hopefully, fried chicken is headed to your plate very soon! And, if you're in the mood for a finger-licking plate of fried chicken, we can make that happen.
At Cluck Clucks, we run a family-friendly brand with one interest in mind: fried chicken and waffles. We love fried chicken so much we've learned its history. And we also love to see our customers happy.
That's why we have the perfect fried chicken and waffles for you to try. And we also have the best fried chicken sandwich ever!
After reading so much about fried chicken, you'll probably want a bite. Come over, we'll fix a plate for you!