There was plenty of chicken, very little of it that would have passed my mom's size test, but being beggars and unwilling to chase a chicken around the yard with an axe or garden shears as Sean suggested, I made the best selections possible. Besides as Glenda pointed out, where would we even find a live chicken in Roanoke .
After I got home with our nicely packaged and processed chicken, we used poultry shears to trim the excess skin and fat from the pieces and then cut the giant breasts in half after removing the ribs. We rinsed each piece in running water, salted it, put all of it in a covered bowl and placed the bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours. Of course I cleaned up everything with Clorox disinfecting wipes.
Mom always preferred small chickens for frying, but since we're in the beta of this project, we'll shoot for getting the basic details down before we start fussing over enhancements or minor details.
While at Kroger, I also bought a big bottle of Wesson oil since that is what I can remember mom using. I did compromise and buy the canola oil version. I also bought some russet potatoes. After all if we're going to have fried chicken, we might as well have gravy, and what good is gravy without mashed potatoes. I'm betting that Glenda's exceptional turkey and roast beef gravy skills will transfer over nicely. I'm pretty sure that making gravy is something she can do with her eyes closed. Since we haven't been able to snare any white half runner green beans, we decided to go with black-eyed peas for the second vegetable. We already have a nice Virginia cantaloupe, reportedly from Halifax County, so that should finish off the meal. I'm leaving it up to the ladies if they want any rolls, I'll be happy with just the fried chicken.
We any kind of luck, we'll have the chicken in the frying pan before 4 pm so we can have an early dinner since we're skipping lunch to prepare ourselves for this feast. I'll post further reports this afternoon as we get into the serious business of frying this chicken. We're into the home stretch now, and I suspect I'll be able to enjoy some cold fried chicken Monday in honor my mom. I can still remember some summer classes that I took when we lived in Lewisville, NC. Almost every day, I had a piece or two of cold fried chicken for lunch.
Tomorrow marks ninety five years since my mother was born in a house overlooking a mill pond in Yadkin County. There are lots of people in Yadkin, along with many in Lewisville, NC and Mount Airy, NC who will attest to her exceptional skills at chicken frying. She lived in both places for many years, so I'm certain that she served untold numbers of fried chickens at the dinners she used to enjoy giving.
I'm hoping she will be smiling at our efforts if not the results. If she were still alive, she would be sitting in the kitchen giving us directions on how to use that electric frying pan.
Don't miss The Fried Chicken Project, Step 2 or this post in honor of my mom. It has a picture of her frying chicken. For more on my mother's life, read my article, A Piedmont Awakening. Her presence is felt all through the pages of our book, The Journey to My Country.