Fried Chicken

ISBN: 0399151834
ISBN 13: 9780399151835
By: John T. Edge

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Cookbook Cookbooks Currently Reading Food Food Cooking History Non Fiction Southern To Read Travel

About this book

What could be a more fun and delicious way to celebrate American culture than through the lore of our favorite foods? That's what John T. Edge does in his smart, witty, and compulsively readable new series on the dishes everyone thinks their mom made best. If these are the best-loved American foods-ones so popular they've come to represent us-what does that tell us about ourselves? And what do the history of the dish and the regional variations reveal? There are few aspects of life that carry more emotional weight and symbolism than food, and in writing about our food icons, Edge gives us a warm and wonderful portrait of America -by way of our taste buds. After all, "What is patriotism, but nostalgia for the foods of our youth?" as a Chinese philosopher once asked. In Fried Chicken, Edge tells an immensely entertaining tale of a beloved dish with a rich history. Freed slaves cooked it to sell through the windows of train cars from railroad platforms in whistle-stop towns. Children carried it in shoe boxes on long journeys. A picnic basket isn't complete without it. It is a dish that is deeply Southern, and yet it is cooked passionately across the country. And what about the variations? John T. Edge weaves a beguiling tapestry of food and culture as he takes us from a Jersey Shore hotel to a Kansas City roadhouse, from the original Buffalo wings to KFC, from Nashville Hot Chicken to haute fried chicken at a genteel Southern inn. And, best of all, he gives us fifteen of the ultimate recipes along the way.

Reader's Thoughts


I loved this book, as I do most of Edge's work. However, he does have some go-to words and phrases that he uses somewhat relentlessly.


This is a great little ode to fried chicken. A very quick read with a lot of great and actually very simple recipes. Not really much more I could say about this neat little book. I did check this out from our local library and will be looking for a copy to add to our home library. I highly suggest all fried chicken fans give this one a go. There is even a little list at the back for some spots that the author states has great fried chicken (sorry KFC does not make the list).

Julie Davis

John T. Edge weaves a beguiling tapestry of food and culture as he takes us from a Jersey Shore hotel to a Kansas City roadhouse, from the original Buffalo wings to KFC, from Nashville Hot Chicken to haute fried chicken at a genteel Southern inn.You have to be interested in both food history and reading about fried chicken to like this book. I fit this description and found this little book very enjoyable. Edge has a comfortable, conversational style and provides 15 recipes to go alone with his voyage of discovery. I liked this enough to request the next in this series, "Apple Pie," from the library.


Really fun roadtrip book about chicken. (from my pre-veg days. I prefere Apple Pie now!)


Fried Chicken is the first in a series by John Edge that explores different American foods. Or at least those foods that Americans claim as their own. And this book combines a little bit of history with cookbook and food travel writing. Fried Chicken explores all the fried chicken of the regions. Southern to Ohio to New York's chicken wings to out on the west coast in Seattle. In each area, he details the history of the area and fried chicken and then goes on to explore a restaurant or two in the area. He lists out the merits (or downfalls) of each one. And at the end of the section he includes a recipe that's supposed to represent the fried chicken of the area. This is about food, not people. But there are some people that he focuses on. Mainly the cooks, who all seem to be characters of their own sort. But one thing ties them together, their love of food. And Edge seems to take great love in eating the food he travels all over to try. I especially liked the two ladies who worked at an inn and had for over fifty years, just like their mother before them. They were the most endearing story in the whole book.As for the readability of the book, I didn't really like it. It was too jumbled for my tastes. I liked the history, the recipes and the reviews of different places, but each chapter was way too short to really get the point across. We were reading about wings in New York when way too soon we were down in Tennessee learning about hot chicken. It was just little snippets of everything mashed together. And while some of it was interesting, it just didn't feel thorough. But it was a quick read.I'll still read more of the series because I like anything involving food. And there were some neat stories in this one. But I think he could have really made this into something special. Although he did make me want to infuse honey with rosemary.Fried Chicken: An American StoryCopyright 2004180 pagesReview by M. Reynard 2013More of my reviews can be found at


A fun, warm, informative trip through the world of fried chicken in the US, written with an eye to understanding food in our society. Very quick to read - maybe one or two days. Recommended.


Great history, stories, and recipes, but this book is marred by overly-PC editorializing.

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