Well, once again, the Feeder is enlightened and astounded (well, that might be a little too generous) plus a little humbled by the knowledge of the readers. Just when you think you know something, you get learned. Many readers responded to my posting about chicken and waffles flavored chips, letting me know that C&W it has been a historically favorite dish in some communities. So, I did a little scratching around for the history, and as usual, found different stories from different sources. The same is true for the stuffed ham I am working on also. One source claims that it was “invented” by one Joe Wells in his Harlem restaurant of the same name in New York, in 1938. Performers such as Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington would come in for something after their performances, and since it was too late for dinner and too early for breakfast, the imaginative Joe served fried chicken with a side of waffles.
Another source says that after Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron home from France in the late 18th century, waffles became popular, and recipes for C&W began to appear in cookbooks. Slaves who rarely had a chance to eat chicken, but were familiar with flapjacks and pancakes, considered both chicken with waffles a delicacy. I even consulted the food historian Michael Twitty who allowed as how “Chicken and Waffles is straight up antebellum South… I don’t care what they say!”
So I go from a bag of chips in the store to learning even more about food traditions. I am having kind of the same experience while researching the origins of Stuffed Ham. More on that later.. Oh, by the way, the C&W chips themselves are still bad even if they do hearken back to a legitimate food tradition.
While I was penning (or tapping) the posting before this one, I kept thinking there was something I wanted to mention. Almost a week later, it finally occurred to me, a situation that happens with more regularity lately. It grew out of my viewing of the Baseball All Star Game last week. I am sad to report that the fine art of “hat tipping” appears to be dying. I don’t know how many players and managers there were on both teams, but only the St. Louis Cardinal team seemed to be keeping the tradition alive. The classic hat tipping technique is when the player curls his forefinger slightly over the brim of the hat, second knuckle lightly cradling it, just past the eye, and puts the thumb underneath, and then WITHOUT moving the hat, slightly moving the hand in a quick downward motion. That’s it. Simple, honoring the uniform you’re wearing, and just a humble acknowledgement of the crowd's applause. It is NOT tipping the whole thing back, or (God forbid) removing the hat entirely and waving it over your head, in a cheap “look at me!!” gesture and letting us see your hair (or lack thereof). Tacky and a rookie move.
And, speaking of hitting balls with something, I watched the final round of the British Open (or, more properly, “The Open Championship”) this morning. Even though Rory McIlroy had six strokes in his pocket this morning, it turned out to be a close finish with Sergio and Rickey Fowler nipping at his heels. Rory now has three of the four Majors in his trophy case, and the drama will heighten as we build toward next year’s Master’s in Augusta. In this day of athletes getting arrested for this and that, or succumbing to addiction of various substances, it is so nice to see somebody who smiles as he plays, and is fresh and candid in interviews. And this year, despite all the Tiger hype and adoration by ESPN, it was pleasurable to watch a tournament where we didn’t have to watch every routine chip of somebody ten strokes off the pace. Tiger was pretty much off the course before, or shortly after, Rory teed off. Phil never really threatened either. Rory's mother was there and he gave her a big hug. Sweet kid. I hope success doesn't destroy him. I have hopes it won't. It was also a bit sad to see Sergio fall short again, as the monkey grows larger on his back. Great stuff..
And veering back to food for a closing note, I got my favorite issue of almost my favorite magazine this week, the Southern Food Issue of Garden and Gun. The cover photo is of a country breakfast featuring a lovely slice of country fried ham, grilled fingerling potatoes, sliced (probably heirloom) tomatoes, and topped by two gorgeous fried eggs (which I could never hope to duplicate). I’m sure the result of careful food styling but it looks good. Have not had the time to (too easy) digest the issue yet, but notice there is a piece on whether you like okra or filé as a thickening agent in your gumbo, plus articles by John T. Edge and the Lee Brothers. Maybe they could give some insight into Chicken and Waffles. Meanwhile, I remain