National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day

National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day

Today is National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day. I think this is a holiday that everyone can get by. Now the real question is: “Which chicken sandwich is better? Is it Popeyes or is it Chick-Fil-A?

Of course there is history behind this crazy holiday. Chick-Fil-A invented the fried chicken sandwich sometime in the 1940’s, according to the company. But, recipes and many historians believe that Scottish chicken frying techniques (lard and no seasoning) and West African chicken pan frying techniques (palm oil, lots of seasoning) were combined by enslaved African and African-Americans in the antebellum South and, thusly, fried chicken as we know it was born. 

Is it possible that someone happened to put a deliciously, golden crispy slice of fried chicken between two slices of bread with a couple pickles during that time? Yes. In fact, ads found in newspapers for fried chicken sandwiches pre-date the time period that Chick-Fil-A claims to have invented it.

It’s great marketing on Chick-Fil-A’s part, but faulty history. The inventor of the fried chicken sandwich is just as shrouded and forgotten in history’s greasy pages as the inventor of fried chicken itself or dumplings, or empanadas for that matter. It has become such a staple in our cuisine it’s hard to pinpoint its advent to one person.

And, while the fried chicken sandwich has thrusted its way into cultural ubiquity, its roots are married in Jim Crow-era racism. Post Civil War, African American individuals weren’t allowed to raise expensive meats such as steak and pork, so were relegated to rearing chickens, which is how the stereotype of associating African Americans with the dish came about. It was often all they could make, so they made the best of it. 

But over time, the delicious appeal of fried chicken spread its proverbial wings and took flight into the hearts of Americans everywhere. It’s hard to deny the combination of fatty cuts of chicken, marinated in buttermilk, dredged in spices and batter, and then deep fried in oil as anything other than delicious. 

As weird as this sounds, there are activities for National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day.

  1. Eat a Chicken Sandwich
    • This one is quite obvious. Go out and eat a fried chicken sandwich if you want to take part in the day’s tradition.
  2. Popeyes vs. Chick-Fil-A
    • This is a controversial topic but which one is better? Grab a chicken sandwich from each of these two locations and let everyone know your hot take on the current flavor. 
  3. Host your own chicken fry
    • Invite your friends over, get the oil ready, and prepare an afternoon of greasy, yummy fried chicken with some of your favorite people. Is there anything better than that?

Why do we love National Fried Chicken Sandwich Day?

  1. It’s delicious
    • It is probably one of our tastier days, if I do say so myself. It’s hard to beat perfectly fried chicken already, add the combination and the contrasts of flavors,, textures, and spices and you get a winning food experience that’s really out of this world.
  2. It’s the “thing”
    • Fried chicken sandwiches have always been popular but now, because of Popeyes, it’s part of the cultural flavor. If local news channels are covering the Popeyes frenzy then you know that the craze has permeated into the daily fabric of being in America.
  3. You can do it at home
    • It may be a little messy, but frying chicken is something you can do at home with your friends and family. If you’re not into waiting in lines, get that oil and the batter ready and fry it up.