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Dear Dad: How the lessons you taught make the best fried chicken.

With Father’s Day upon us again, I wanted to make my dad a dinner worthy of his love and influence on my life. Out of all the meals Dad loves, his favorite remains classic Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

As I made this recipe, I thought of the many lessons Dad has taught me over the years.

Dear Dad,

How can I thank you for all the knowledge you have passed on to me? To keep my eye on the ball as we played catch in the backyard, teaching me to drive, and whom to trust are just the beginnings of the many lessons you taught. Certainly, another important lesson was to listen well.

And I hear you loud and clear. The dinner you always want for Father’s Day is the one that evokes your own memories of growing up. This dish you enjoyed as a child now brings stories to mind of the life you led as a boy, and the journey you have taken as an adult. Inevitably, these accounts would be shared with your children and grandchildren that started with “We made the best fried chicken.”

The stories were great, but the real question is, How do I make fried chicken that is as good as what you loved as a child?

The challenge is on! Can I make the best fried chicken?

Now, I can make all sorts of fancy meals, but I am looking to make a once-a-year good-old-fashioned fried chicken. There was no passed-down recipe for this special treat. So what do I have to do to make fried chicken that wows?

In my quest to learn how to make the best fried chicken, I realized it’s all about the lessons you taught me.

  1. Preparation is key: Do your homework. Make sure you have all the ingredients and necessary pans, bowls, space in the refrigerator, etc that you need.
  2. There are no shortcuts in life. Each step is necessary to achieve super-moist, delicious chicken.
  3. A little “sweetness” in life goes a long way. Adding the syrup is a surprise ingredient, but adds so much to the final result.
  4. Find ways to connect with others, and keep those connections throughout your life. You never know when, where, or how those connections will positively affect you in the future. A simple egg provides the all-important binder to ensure your chicken is crispy.
  5. Keep it simple. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that are just right.  Just salt and pepper is all the spice you really need for this recipe.
  6. Find the humor in life and you will spread that joy to others. Toss the chicken pieces in a big paper bag with the flour mixture. Shake it up to a fun song or have someone tickle the person with the bag.  So simple, a key step in the recipe and just plain fun!
  7. Life can be messy, in fact, expect it and embrace it. There will be flour and grease. Prepare for the grease by laying newspaper all along the area around where you will be frying.
  8. Don’t be afraid when life gets hot. That’s when change can create something great. Make sure the heat is high when you put the chicken in the pan.
  9. Have patience. Don’t be in a hurry. Mistakes can happen if you rush.
  10. If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. Learning from failure makes us smarter.
  11. Share with others. Giving and sharing our abundance will bring you a sense of inner peace. We always make extra for leftovers, too.
  12. Savor life.  Try to appreciate what you have. Sometimes, when you least expect it, a wonderful thing will happen.

So, Dad, I hope you love this chicken as much as I love you.


Your Favorite Child

Dad loves these sides with his chicken too!

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