Some days just require grease. The craving caught up with me at about 3 pm today, and I couldn’t shake it. The weird thing is that I don’t even really care for fried chicken, but I knew before the day was over I had to visit the colonel (as Mama puts it). Yep, that evil extra crunchy was gonna be mine. Naturally I had to buy the whole show…mashed potatoes and gravy, cole slaw and baked beans…and a big old biscuit. Once you’ve crossed to the dark side, I figure you might as well do it in style.
I was crunching away on a drumstick (the coleslaw was only a memory at that point) when it hit me. I wasn’t really craving KFC…I was craving the South. I rarely get such a hankering, but when I do it tends to sneak up on me through food. I’ll see sweet potato pie on the menu at the barbecue place I visit from time to time, or someone on tv will mention that the crazy people down south actually eat boiled peanuts, and I’m done. Today I blame the Barefoot Contessa – she made mashed potatoes and it flipped my SFS (Southern Food Switch). Funny thing, since mashed potatoes aren’t even really Southern…but the SFS has a mind of its own, so I won’t pass judgment.
Now, no one in my house growing up ever made homemade mashed potatoes, and the only fried chicken I even remember having there was KFC. We usually had lots of store-bought meals (mmm…fish sticks with canned peas), and even our Thanksgiving dinners always came from the S&S Cafeteria. Mama could bake amazing carrot cake and a few other things, but dinners were not all that memorable. Every once in a while though, my grandmother would make real macaroni and cheese…the gooey, custardy kind that has a crisp top layer of semi-burned cheese (much to the disdain of the person stuck doing the dishes that night). The only runner-up to that wonderfulness would be Grandmama’s (or anyone’s, for that matter) banana pudding (aka Nanna Puddin’). Once I ate it until I got physically sick…I’m not proud of that, but it was a serious addiction that I conquered…um…by moving 3000 miles away from anyone who really knows how to make it.
The food here in Portland is great – I can’t deny that. Fresh caught salmon, hazelnuts, amazing produce and marionberries (beautiful Godzilla-sized blackberries) are everywhere, but you have to look to find some good old grease. My arteries are happier, I guess, but sometimes my soul needs to take a drive, just to make sure the colonel is still there if I need him.