Saturday, December 27, 2008
Fried chicken and Florida thoughts
I consider myself a Southerner, even though I have virtually no accent and was born and raised in Orlando, which is the Fake South. You can always tell a Southern writer because they insist that the "S" be capitalized.
It's interesting to grow up in a place where you are one of the very few people who spent your whole life there. Orlando is the ultimate transient town, a place where nobody is from but everybody visits. It's a big city, but not a huge one. There's a decent amount of cultural stuff to do and sports, and it certainly has big-city traffic. Floridians hate to pay taxes to build new roads, which is why when a new highway is built, it is invariably a toll road.
We used to laugh at the tourists who showed up with their fresh-bought shorts and 500-watt white legs. Growing up in O'do makes you good at not standing out in a strange place, since to us that is the worst sort of embarrassment.
Today I made fried chicken for the first time ever. People from up north never understand what the big deal is about fried chicken. (See, a Southerner would never capitalize the north. There are no Northerners ... just "Yankees.") The thing is that it's the most universally beloved food there. White people, black people, poor and rich -- everybody loves fried chicken.
Mine turned out OK. It tasted great, although it didn't look quite as pretty as the stuff you get at a chicken place. And I think I'll be wiping up oil splatters for the next week and a half.
But at least I can call myself a bonafide Southerner who makes his own fried chicken -- even if it was only once.