Thursday, October 13, 2011

#17 Why Do Blacks Love Fried Chicken?

I see this question a lot. It is best answered with the form of another question, why do people from the southern US love fried foods? The Europeans that settled the south, prior to slavery, were largely Scottish, and they brought the well-established practice of frying food in animal fat, from Scotland. This penchant was unlike the English, who preferred boiling and baking their fowl.

This question gets black-focused airplay in the north and western US, while rarely heard of south of the Mason-Dixon, where asking it would signal unrestrained ignorance. Beyond the south, non-southern whites use the question to disparage geographically transplanted blacks, as though fried-chicken has some magical hold on black people. It does not. It is easily and economically prepared, and it taste good.

If the higher calorie and fat content of fried foods is well known, the better question is why higher educated and higher income Blacks continue behaviors, like eating fried-chicken (see study here), when the inevitable result is poorer health? In general, education, economics and social customs conspire to keep blacks tethered to the mind set where any tasty food is good for you, as long as there is plenty of it.

The study does not say, but it may be that better off blacks, who have assimilated certain key behaviors in order to advance (for example speech and dress) seek to experience nostalgia, or to ‘keep it real’ in one of the few places, the dinner event, that holds no immediate threat of disqualification.

Other ideas?

James C. Collier


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ronnie brown said...

James, let's not overthink this thing...Fried Chicken is with all things, moderation is the key.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with ronnie :) I think everybody loves fried chicken! Fried food is just...yummy! :))))

Erika said...

Who doesn't like fried chicken? Why I was contemplating these stereotypes a while ago--specifically watermelon and fried chicken. I always wonder why it's derisive to eat them.

Looking To Escape said...

"as though fried-chicken has some magical hold on black people. It does not. It is easily and economically prepared, and it taste good."
In other words... it has a magical hold.

Looking To Escape said...

"I always wonder why it's derisive to eat them."
Possibly from heavy indulgence that causes people think those are the only 2 ingredients of a person's diet?

livinonfaith said...

As a southern white woman, I have never understood the whole black people = fried chicken and watermelon joke. Most southern people I know eat them, white and black.

I do know that many of the white people I know have cut way back on fried foods in favor of healthier options. I expect that our black neighbors will follow suit soon.

My own little thought on why they haven't yet is that, for many Southern blacks, their parents and grandparents were quite poor. That often meant eating cuts of meat that wealthier people just wouldn't eat.

At my father's store a few decades ago, we sold pig ears, feet, stomachs, intestines, ect. They were often purchased by black people who couldn't afford the pricier cuts of meat.

So fried chicken was reserved for many poor blacks (and some whites) as a special "Sunday after church" meal. I wonder if the joy and anticipation of the specialness of that meal has been passed down to subsequent generations? So now that many people can afford to eat it on other days, that it is seen as a preferred meal? If so, I expect that gradually the specialness will wear off for younger generations.

What do you think? Does anyone agree, or does this sound way off to some?

uglyblackjohn said...

I Like Fried Chicken (on occasion) because IT TASTES GOOD.

Anonymous said...

could be various groups of people are biologically predisposed to favor certain tastes [think overlapping normal curves, etc.]

Anonymous said...

Sure, fried chicken tastes good. But lots of things taste good. And there's nothing that tastes so good that you just have to eat a bucket of it in a sitting.

Looking To Escape said...

"And there's nothing that tastes so good that you just have to eat a bucket of it in a sitting."
It's obvious you do not appreciate the religious aspects of fried chicken.
Eating less than 2 pieces makes you an atheist.

Mazzuchelli said...

Mom was one of 14 kids in Louisiana during the 30s and 40s. She told me they sat down to dinner with one chicken and the only thing that didn't get eaten was the beak. She makes the best fried chicken known to man but stopped preparing it when Dad's heart went south. I'm going to Thanksgiving, on the other hand, and the chicken gumbo will disappear long before the turkey.


Im a Southern White male. I have always pondered this very thing. Fried Chicken, Watermelon, cornbread. grits and eggs, cracklin's etc... These were staples growing up. I didn't understand for a long time what Soul food was. Its just Southern food. Its not a racial thing. I wonder if it got to be that way when blacks migrated north. They took their cook books with them ( Your welcome) and it became a racial stereotype....