Which was your piece of chicken?

This evening at Supper, I was taken on one of those memory jogs that lasts only a few seconds, but is as clear and vivid as any, by a question my wife asked her brother.

“How were your gizzards?”

And just like that I was sitting at the kitchen table 40 years ago in Natchez, waiting for the Blessing to be asked, and eyeing the prize that was the staple of so many Jones family Sunday dinners.

Momma’s fried chicken.

Brenda would take a drumstick.  Mom preferred the pulley bone  and the liver.  I would start with two pieces also, a thigh, and the gizzard.  Nobody else liked the gizzard, but I loved it.  Especially hot, and I would always eat it first.  Frank would take a thigh and the back, and Dad would get the breast.  Later on, Frank would begin to get the pulley bone, and Mom would take the other breast. I attributed this to favoritism until I realized that Mom had simply given up on the idea of stretching two meals out of one chicken.

So she was simply deciding to go ahead and let us finish it all in one sitting.

And boy could we eat.  Especially when Frank and I were both in our teens.  Dad would claim that it took so much to fill us up that our legs must have been hollow.

Momma‘s fried chicken is famous in our family for its seasoned crustiness, lovingly prepared, to tasty Southern perfection.

Even the gizzard.


4 Responses

  1. Reminds me of Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s.


  2. I didn’t have a favorite piece, I liked it all…except for the innards. I am a proud carnivore, not a ghoul.

    We didn’t have fried chicken at home, unless my Dad made some. With three big Ol boys if there weren’t at least two birds fried up, a fight would break out.
    Fried chicken at my grandmother’s farm was a different matter, it was a big deal and was reserved for special occasions, such as the preacher coming to Sunday lunch after his sermon. Thus the term “gospel bird.”
    We would select 3-4 fryers two weeks in advance and put them in isolation cages, where they were fed pure corn feed. Then us boys had the delightful duty of wringing their necks, plucking them, then taking them to the back kitchen where my grandmother and Bessie would clean them, cut them up and soak them in fresh from the cow buttermilk.
    How my grandmother and her friend Bessie seasoned them up, I don’t know, but the love they put into it made it the tastiest, crunchiest gospel bird I have ever had.
    Such fond memories for a couple of Ol’ boys from the South.

  3. Well said, Brother. You pulled my heartstrings (not my pulley-bone) with this sweet story! Keep on writing!

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