[Carl Redding] says he learned to make chicken and waffles where most food historians agree it was created 60-plus years ago, at the now-departed Wells Restaurant on Seventh Ave. between 132nd and 133rd Sts.Are there serious issues of authenticity to talk about or is this just a chef who's figured out how to promote his restaurant? The IHOP representative says that "because IHOP has more than 1,500 locations, it can introduce more people to chicken and waffles, 'and maybe some of them will make their way to Redding's... Next time I'm in Atlantic City, I'd like to go there myself.'"
"When I worked for the Rev. Sharpton, he used to meet Betty Shabazz [Malcolm X's widow] there," says Redding. "They'd meet and I'd sit by myself just luxuriating in the chicken and waffles. It's something everyone uptown knows and likes."
Do fast food restaurants get people interested in a particular dish in a way that leads them to look for better versions of the same food? Or do people develop a taste for the fast-food version and reject the original form of the food? For example, maybe people like a McDonald's hamburger and don't even want a full-scale, old-fashioned hamburger anymore. To them the McDonald's hamburger is the real thing, and they're put off by this bizarre monstrosity served at... wherever hamburgers used to come from. Krazy Jim's!
So maybe Redding must take action:
He'll set up at noon in front of the IHOP on Black Horse Pike in Mays Landing, N.J., to cook and hand out free portions of chicken and waffles, Redding's-style.Aw, come on. Handing out free food in front of somebody else's restaurant? Is that fair? There's this quasi-civil-rights flavor to this protest that's a bit absurd. Is he saying that white people have their meat-and-breakfast-starch dish and black people have theirs? IHOP can do steak and pancakes but not chicken and waffles?!
Redding stresses, by the way, that IHOP doesn't normally ruffle his feathers. "I eat there," he says. "I love their T-bone steak with pancake breakfast."
Enough of these squabbles. Let's eat french toast and ham.