November 7, 2019

"I had to read this twice to make sure it wasn’t parody. Firstly, the stereotypical, monolithic take on black people as fried chicken loving...."

"... spice obsessed, fast food nuts is highly offensive. Fried foods, particularly chicken, became part of black culture due to food scarcity in slavery/Jim Crow times. To celebrate a multi-billion dollar corporations exploitation of poor and black people is absurd. Secondly, fried foods are unhealthy. Fried foods will damage your health. It’s a well known fact! Promoting this cultural ownership of fried chicken (especially factory farmed chicken) ignores a massive public health crisis that disproportionately affects black people. Thirdly, not all black people love fried chicken. Not all black people like spicy food. Part of the reason why 30% of fried chicken is consumed by black people is due to poverty and aggressive targeting of poor communities by fast food companies. It’s obscene that an author would produce such an uncritical analysis in favor of promoting a chicken sandwich from a corporate chain, let alone the underlying implication that black people all eat the same food, or that white people are clueless when it comes to food spiciness. Finally, it’s mediocre chicken in a cheap bun. How about an article for healthy, home made fried chicken sandwiches? How about an article about how good like chicken wings was once forced up slaves because whites refused to eat it? Or just not stereotyping people based on race? Please?"

That's the most-liked comment on a New York Times article with a title that made me go straight to the comments to find something like what that commeter said. Article title: "Popeyes Sandwich Strikes a Chord for African-Americans."

Really, what are the rules? I presume the NYT would hold back from publishing "Watermelon Strikes a Chord for African-Americans."

That NYT article about the Popeyes sandwich begins by linking to various social media things, and I get the feeling that the NYT these days is always on the alert for what people are clicking on in social media, but the third link goes to a Twitter post with a few responses and then: "Show additional replies, including those that may contain offensive content." There's a "show" button. I click, but nothing come up. I don't know whether that means Twitter is censoring or people aren't that racist.

Here's the 4th paragraph of the NYT article:
One Twitter user, @RocBoy_Mel, wrote Sunday that he did not know whose “grandma” made the sandwiches, “but I finally got my hands on one today and I was very impressed.”
I clicked through to @RocBoy_Mel, and I see someone telling him he's quoted in the NYT, with a link to the article, and his response is "That’s pretty cool thank you." A few hours later, somebody says "The article was a fucking insult to the Black community." And @RocBoy_Mel responds:

Now, I must admit that so far, I have only read the first 4 paragraph in the NYT article. So I have not checked the truth of the commenter's characterization of the article as "an uncritical analysis in favor of promoting a chicken sandwich from a corporate chain."

I glance ahead and get the feeling the NYT got comfortable because it criticizes a big corporation, and — of course! — the article is probably written by a black person. Checking... yes. John Eligon. That bio, at the Times, shows that he writes on race issues for the NYT.

Back to the article:
Popeyes has aggressively marketed itself to African-Americans, and many of its restaurants are in black communities....

In a Facebook post in August, Nadiyah Ali, a nurse from Katy, Texas, compared the sandwich to a rival’s: Chick-fil-A’s version, she wrote, tasted as if it were made “by a white woman named Sarah who grew up around black people.” The Popeyes sandwich, she added, tasted “like it was cooked by an older black lady named Lucille.”...
Again, social media. The NYT wants to ride on top of social media energy, and it's always liked quoting people in articles. I can see the temptation to use material like that, especially with the anti-Chick-fil-A angle.
[Omar Tate, the founder of "a pop-up dinner series... that uses food to explore black identity"] said... [w]hen he thinks of authenticity, he thinks of the techniques of someone like Edna Lewis, a pioneering black chef, who fried meats in lard and seasoned the fryer with smoked pork.

“That’s authentic. That’s what soul food is to me,” he said. “It’s one of those black magic things that can’t be reproduced.”...
Frying meat in lard isn't really magic, but there are some decidedly non-magic reasons why a commercial chain restaurant can't fry meat in lard.
Popeyes’ inroads with black Americans may be as much about marketing as anything else. The company has made appeals to African-Americans in its advertising, stoking criticism that it is pandering. When the chain introduced a fictitious black woman named Annie the Chicken Queen in its commercials about a decade ago, some people criticized it as racist....
Marketing is part of running a big business, and it can be done well. There are risks to marketing to black people. They can call you racist. And there are risks to writing about marketing to black people. They can call you racist.

Am I calling the NYT racist? I don't know! I could just say I enjoyed reading the article. But I'm a white person. Maybe if I enjoyed reading the article, it would be racist. I can see the NYT put a lot of effort into coddling and cosseting me as I enjoyed the racism, if it was racism, and if I enjoyed it.

143 comments:

gilbar said...

Thirdly, nearly all black people love fried chicken. Nearly all black people like spicy food.

fixed it for them!

Wilbur said...

Wilbur's second wife, a beautiful black woman from rural Louisiana, used to say she would never order grits in a restaurant where she couldn't look back in the kitchen and see Miss Bertha Mae doing the cooking.

rhhardin said...

Nobody does ebonics audio books. Some large corporation needs to get on the ball.

The Drill SGT said...

Fried foods, particularly chicken, became part of black culture due to food scarcity in slavery/Jim Crow times

that's fundamentally false. Up until factory farming, chickens were expensive rich people food

greens?
fatback for flavor?
grits?
okra?
sweet potatoes?

yes

gilbar said...

how about this hypothetical? Would IT be Racist? Or Just TRUE?

New Decorah Lutefisk Restaurant Strikes a Chord With Norski's

stlcdr said...

Where is this advertising being watched? Why hasn’t everyone transitioned to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. without ads? Or is it on social media? AdBlock, anyone? Any why is the media quoting random people on the internet and making a thing about it?

Why are we (sic) pigeonholing people into stereotypes? For every person who fits the stereotype, you’ll find a dozen which don’t.

I like fried chickin. I like Chinese buffet fried chickin. The Mexican cooks make it best.

rhhardin said...

There's a pattern of disparaging noticing patterns. It's a leftist thing.

gilbar said...

The Drill SGT points out, that...
Up until factory farming, chickens were expensive rich people food


SO Expensive, that political parties would run ads like this: a chicken for every pot

jaydub said...

Popeye's is a Southern thing, not a Black thing. The NYT just thinks it's a Black thing because they don't know anyone, White or Black, from any place South of New Jersey. They think it's a racist thing because they can't talk about Blacks or the South without a racist slant, plus they have no clue that just as many poor Whites in the South always ate chicken wings as did poor Blacks.

Wait until the NYT finds out Cajun cooking is spicy and has a huge following in places other than just the French Quarter in NOLA. That's going to blow some minds in Manhattan!

wendybar said...

It's all in the projection Ann. All Republicans are RACIST automatically according to those who claim to be above all that.

Michael P said...

I am not particularly interested in reading the NYT article or deciding whether it is racist, but I had the Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich yesterday, and I was greatly disappointed. Too much bread, too much heading, and the pickles were piled upon each other in one small part of the sandwich. My officemate was similarly disappointed by trying it on Sunday at a different Popeyes.

During the summer, a food truck would come to the office park where I work -- Margaret's Soul Food. It is owned and run by a black woman, often assisted by her daughter, and their food (not all fried) is much superior to Popeyes. Not only the chicken sandwich, but also the rest of their respective menus, and similar in prices. Margaret's also offers more variety, which is almost shameful for their respective sizes.

I guess where I'm going is that there are much better examples of "African-American food" than Popeyes' new sandwich, and they're not usually hard to find.

stevew said...

It ain't racist if it's true.

It sure is difficult to be woke and an SJW supporter, nearly impossible to talk about anything without sparking outrage and denunciation. Truth doesn't provide any protection.

gspencer said...

"Popeyes’ inroads with black Americans may be as much about marketing as anything else."

Like what Planned Parenthood does, setting up its abortuaries in da hoods.

Rob said...

Fulfilling the promise of the 1619 Project. The NYT wanted everything to be an examination of racism? It got its wish.

Rob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

If you haven't lived in the southern US it's difficult to appreciate the intense phenomenon of Popeye's and Chik-fil-A there. Two lanes of drive thru backed up from 10:30 until after dark. Employees stationed outside to keep things moving. Maybe like the grocery store durning Thanksgiving week? I've connected thru the Atlanta airport at 5:30 in the morning and there's two dozen people in line at Chik-fil-A...

Popeyes has aggressively marketed itself to African-Americans, and many of its restaurants are in black communities.

African Americans found Popeye's first. It's not like blacks have special affinity for Popeye the Sailor now is it?

RBE said...

Nothing better than soul/southern food. Not the upscale fancy stuff...the real deal. In the rural south of my youth both black and white communities shared a lot of the same food traditions. It's a beautiful thing but I'm afraid true southern cooking is a dying art. Biscuits, grits, sweet potato pie and pound cake presented as a gift wrapped in multiple layers of wax paper then wrapped in foil...oh my.

tds said...

Shame for liking such great foods as fried chicken and watermelons is an uniquely American, completely weird thing. The world looks at it with confused amazement.

DrSquid said...

When I was at the U of Chicago in the 70's, all of us white kids were frequent customers of Harold's, "The Chicken King" restaurants. They were all over southside of the city. On my first visit to the one on 53rd St, the man behind the bullet proof glass panels asked me if what I wanted on my order. Confused, I asked him what were the options, he replied a bit impatiently "You want hot sauce?" I guessed yes and man was I right, that stuff was fantastic and only 3 bux for a half chicken dinner with a soda.

Harold himself was occasionally seen around town in his black Cadillac with a paper-mache rooster head on the front of the roof above the windshield, and a large rooster tail on the trunk lid.

I guess he didn't care about racial stereotypes.

tim in vermont said...

They build a few restaurants, and look at the demographics of the most successful ones before building new ones.

The world of liberals is full of cartoon villains. Who doesn’t like fried chicken?

Kevin said...

Chick-fil-A’s version, she wrote, tasted as if it were made “by a white woman named Sarah who grew up around black people.” The Popeyes sandwich, she added, tasted “like it was cooked by an older black lady named Lucille.”...

Nothing racist here.

/sarc

tds said...

After West and East Germany unified, imported fruits became common in the East. Ossis (East Germans' nickname coined by West Germans) started to buy lots of bananas. It became a punchline for years on West Germany late night shows. Don't have to mention there were no different races involved.

Not every assholery is a race related thing. It's enough to have two different city blocks.

Doug said...

For every person who fits the stereotype, you’ll find a dozen which don’t.

I call bullshit on that statement unless you have some data. You know what stereotypes are based on, right? The truth.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Black people like fried chicken for the same reason white people do. Because it tastes so damn good.

PluralThumb said...

This article is preposterous.
Black people ?
Eating a food to enjoy oppression ?
I'd ask for a refund of my time and English & instead get some fried chicken to speed up my death. Although I hate fried chicken, probably because I actually need the such to lubricate my lumpy insides from injesting jet fuel and a moment of happiness of gnawing on a leg of my once beloved childhood pet. I'd rather smoke cigarettes for almost 30 years. I should remove myself from this blog. Thank yous.

- I quit going to the gym & took up smoking.

iowan2 said...

That's quite a rant, disdaining stereotypes, directed, I assume, at me. The Dems have lumped me in with half the nation as being a racist, deplorable.

When the left goes on rants because of some sterotype, they have to check the season. It's campaign season. Identity politics is the King, we worship for another 12 months.

Kevin said...

As usual, Dave Chappelle is on this!

https://youtube.com/watch?v=a2z19FYdsZk

rehajm said...

Now let's examine the Japanese obsession with Shake Shack...

Francisco D said...

When I was at the U of Chicago in the 70's, all of us white kids were frequent customers of Harold's, "The Chicken King" restaurants. They were all over southside of the city. On my first visit to the one on 53rd St.

I went to that Harold's near the U of C campus. It was the mid-70's with my (Black) brother-in-law who was attending the Law School. Harold's was where you went with a hangover. I can't remember if the chicken tasted good, but it helped with the hangover. The white bread at the bottom soaked up the grease. It was gross.

A few years later, I was into huevos rancheros after a night of partying. The Mexican restaurants in Lincoln Park felt safer - no plexiglass barriers.

Beasts of England said...

’It's a beautiful thing but I'm afraid true southern cooking is a dying art.’

Almost none of the recipes are difficult, but many require hours of prep / cooking time. I’ve seen the generational decline and pray for a renaissance, but I doubt it’s coming. Thankfully my lake house is in the rural South and there are four bonafide veggie joints within a fifteen minute drive. Please excuse my beans and cornbread privilege. 😋

James K said...

To celebrate a multi-billion dollar corporations exploitation of poor and black people is absurd

Exploitation (def): Providing a product that people want to buy at a price they are happy to pay.

I grew up in a large, predominantly black, city, and in the more run-down neighborhoods all you would see in commercial areas were empty boarded up buildings with an occasional liquor store, and an occasional fried chicken place. For some odd reason there were no Williams-Sonoma stores or gourmet steak houses.

Heartless Aztec said...

Arghhh. It's not "firstly, secondly, thirdly", etc. It's first, second, third, fourth and so on.

mandrewa said...

"Fried foods, particularly chicken, became part of black culture due to food scarcity in slavery/Jim Crow times. To celebrate a multi-billion dollar corporations exploitation of poor and black people is absurd."

All of this is nonsense. Fried chicken is a sign of wealth not food scarcity. If we go back one hundred and fifty years, fried chicken would be something wealthy people ate not poor people. In fact this is still true for the most of the world, outside of the United States, today.

Second the popularity of Popeye's is completely driven by choice. Fast food companies succeed by doing a better job of supplying what people want than anyone else.

But here is where it gets interesting. Who is it that wants?

By the standards of the id, spicy fried chicken is very close to being an optimal food. That is by the instinctive standards of the basic brain, spicy fried chicken is competitive with other inexpensive superfoods that are although common today were either extremely expensive for our ancestors or simply not available at all.

But by the standards of the ego, it can be a completely different story. Some egos are aware that spicy fried chicken when consumed to excess will make you fat. But however sure the ego may be that this is the case, that id just doesn't seem to get it, and the person ends up eating spicy fried chicken anyway.

Since egos often lose out in a conflict with the id, some people will then blame the outside, ie. Popeyes, for their own internal conflicts.

Anonymous said...

"Am I calling the NYT racist? I don't know! I could just say I enjoyed reading the article. But I'm a white person. Maybe if I enjoyed reading the article, it would be racist. I can see the NYT put a lot of effort into coddling and cosseting me as I enjoyed the racism, if it was racism, and if I enjoyed it."

Lol. Worthy of a Stan Mack panel. (You just know there's somewhere out there on the streets of New York saying something like this in dead earnest.)

Jeff said...

Race this, race that. Just shut up already!

AllenS said...

When I think of black soul food, I remember chitlins, especially the smell of them cooking.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Anyway, you would think that if the NYT was going to be upset with Bojangles, it would be because they're a front the CIA uses for spreading chemicals in the black community that causes passivity.

Anonymous said...

That bio, at the Times, shows that he writes on race issues for the NYT.

Does the NYT employ non-whites to write about anything else? I remember when we used to apply the "ghetto" metaphor to this sort of career tracking.

Ralph L said...

Robert E. Lee said his idea of Heaven was unlimited fried chicken (cooked by black slaves, of course).

When I could still stomach the pepper in Popeye's chicken, it annoyed me that they'd have big trays of cooked chicken laid out while taking forever to get it to the customers. Poorly organized, especially compared to Chik fil A.

The Southern tradition of fried food originated in the West Country of England, the Northeast's tradition of baking came from East Anglia, according to David Hackett Fischer.

Fritz said...

Oysters and lobster were originally poor peoples food too. I guess they're racist too.

Fernandinande said...

So, blacks are completely obsessed with race? And don't mind culturally appropriating the S.E. Asian chicken for their own purposes?

Illogical letter writer lacks logic: " stereotypical...black people as fried chicken loving... massive public health crisis that disproportionately affects black people."

tim in vermont said...

I think the Popeye’s spokeslady these days is hot.

tim in vermont said...

There is a fish and chips shop at the Black Country Museum in Birmingham, Midlands, that fries them in lard, and it’s really really good. You have to try it to understand.

mccullough said...

I remember when Obama semi-scolded blacks for eating “cold Popeye’s for breakfast.” Such stereotyping. The Cancel Culture Warriors are coming for him.

Francisco D said...

(Non-cattle) Farmers like my grandparents had fried chicken on Sunday as a special treat. They raised their own chickens because they were cheap to raise and it was the Great Depression. On weekdays they often just had bread and corn for dinner.

I am going to guess that Black sharecroppers in the South acted quite similarly to my Norwegian grandparents. However, I am not aware of any affinity that Norwegians have for fried chicken because we are more likely to culturally identify with lefsah.

Paco Wové said...

"How about...an article about how good like chicken wings was once forced up slaves because whites refused to eat it? Or just not stereotyping people based on race?"

I love how that second sentence follows hard upon the first.

Fernandinande said...

Exploitation (def):

Companies are racist if they have outlets in black neighborhoods and they're even more racist if they don't.

MayBee said...

What *are* the rules? Politically, we apparently can talk about what black people like and want as much as we want. To *not* do it is racist. I think that's incredibly divisive, and here we are....seeing how it looks when we talk about other things.

whitney said...

It really seems like we're separating the Chicken stores. White people go to Chick-fil-A, black people go to Popeyes. Chick-fil-A's much calmer, also I don't feel like everyone hates me when I walk in the door, they also will serve police officers. But now Kanye has written the song about Chick-fil-A. That really throws a wrench into the works

Michael K said...

The Times continues on its obsession with race. I think they call that "racism."

CWJ said...

DrSquid,

I remember Harold's. Speaking of 53rd St in the '70s, my favorite was Ribs 'n Bibs.

n.n said...

Why are we (sic) pigeonholing people into stereotypes?

Diversity (i.e. color judgment) and exclusion, including color blocs (e.g. so-called "minority"), sex chauvinism (e.g. feminism), political congruence ("=") or selective exclusion, affirmative discrimination, generally the establishment of Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic quasi-religion ("ethics")... for leverage and profit.

Unknown said...

No articles praising pizza or pasta either. Much loved by some and only some Italians. Bad for your health! Carbs!

No articles praising noodles either. Much loved by Asians. Bad for their health! Carbs!

No articles praising tortillas. Much loved by Hispanics. Bad for their health! Carbs!

More articles about eating crickets, please! Cheap protein for the masses...

Janetchick said...

I own two fried chicken restaurants, one in Austin and one in Houston. We are part of a chain, but not Popeye’s. We do NO marketing, but yet we stay busy. Do we have a bunch of black customers? Why yes, we do. We also have a bunch of white and brown and other hues. They all found us without aggressive or otherwise marketing. Fried chicken brings folks together whereas reading the New York Times does not.

Wince said...

The brief take-away: Finger Lickin' - Bad.

n.n said...

If you're black stop eating chicken. If you're Mexican stop eating tacos. If you're white stop eating. If you're human eat the following... Throw another baby on the barbie. Round and round, prejudice is a progressive condition.

Birches said...

Does the commenter not realize that white people in the South are also fatter than the rest of the US and also love fried chicken?

The South has the best fried chicken I've ever had.

Bob Boyd said...

Sometimes a chicken sandwich is just a chicken sandwich.
And don't get me started on what Bill Clinton used to do with a chicken sandwich. He's the one who invented the term spicy chicken sandwich.

cacimbo said...

Popeyes fried chicken is delicious. The closest Popeyes to my home is packed with Chinese immigrants, seems Chinese love fried chicken too. I have not had their chicken sandwich, but assume it is bone free. It always amazed me that in poor black neighborhoods they sell "chicken sandwiches" which consist of two chicken wings (bones and all) between white bread.

Decades ago I was playing Balderdash. The category was "ethnic foods" beginning with W. I wrote - watermelon. My friends all called racism and insisted watermelon is not an ethnic food. I still say it is. I don't know if this goes on today, but in NYC during the 80's and 90's you would find trucks selling whole watermelons parked in black neighborhoods. You did not see that in the white, asian, and hispanic neighborhoods. I also don't find anything racist about acknowledging that particular foods are very favored by certain races/ethnicities.

RK said...

It's not racial, it's cultural. I've also heard Asian people have a preference for rice dishes.

richlb said...

Is fried chicken popular in prison?

Kirk Parker said...

What's with all this 'rich people's nonsense? Poor people keep chickens the world round.

Big Mike said...

There are risks to marketing to black people. They can call you racist. And there are risks to writing about marketing to black people. They can call you racist.

Am I calling the NYT racist? I don't know! I could just say I enjoyed reading the article. But I'm a white person. Maybe if I enjoyed reading the article, it would be racist. I can see the NYT put a lot of effort into coddling and cosseting me as I enjoyed the racism, if it was racism, and if I enjoyed it.


Life is a lot simpler for us unreconstructed 60’s liberals who demonstrated in the name a society where only the totally ignorant pay any attention to race. We succeeded!

Ironclad said...

Popeye's used to serve more Louisiana food - creole, etoufee and gumbo as well as the dirty rice, so it certainly wasn't "targeting" blacks then - just the regional niche market. But where did "hot chicken" come from - hint, it wasn't a racist plot to feed unhealthy foods to the group that invented it.

If you want to play the "racist" card for a major marketing campaign aimed at the black community - try Sprite! Ever seen a commercial for it that isn't 99% black? Heck they had LeBron James image on it (kowtowing to China I guess too) at the movie the other day.

Outrage is SO selective in the Twitter Mob

AlbertAnonymous said...

“Black identity”?

See there’s your trouble.

Why do people see themselves, see their entire identities, as a color? Why do people define themselves by the private parts between their legs, or their sex partners?

It’s so limiting and small.

I’m so much more than the color of my skin or the fact that I have a penis, or that I’m attracted to women. If my identity was limited to one of those things (or even all of those things) I’d be so boring. Just one of Millions of a type. No thanks.

Beasts of England said...

All this talk about yardbird and none of y’all have mentioned chicken and waffles? How dare you!! :)

Anonymous said...

Fried chicken barely registers on my soul food meter. Go to a real soul food restaurant and it will be there, but smothered steak, smothered pork chop, knuckles, etc will be more popular. The greatest thing, though, is the stewed ox tail. Forget everything else. Unfortunately it's gotten expensive - ribeye costs less per pound at my grocery store.

Seeing Red said...

The best schnitzel is fried in lard.

The best, flakiest pie crusts use lard.

Mc Donald’s had the best fries when the used beef tallow.

rcocean said...

THe idea that black people like Fried Chicken because of "food scarcity" in Slavery/Jim Crow is ridiculous. Jim Crow ended 55 years ago, and there was no "food Scarcity" in the 20th Century South related to Fried Chicken. The Fried Chicken and watermelon stereotype goes all the way back to the 1920's, that's almost 100 years ago.

African Americans have their own food culture, and they like certain things and don't like others. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER GROUP. They seem to like fried chicken. I lived in black neighborhood for 1.5 years, and we had KFC and Popeyes, and that was it for Big Commercial Fast Food. And we had some locally owned BBQ places. IOW, reality fit the stereotypes. Which is why stereotypes exist.

Of course liberals and morons can't understand GENERALIZATIONS. BTW, I've had Popeyes and I prefer Chick-fi-la. Maybe that's because I'm white.

Seeing Red said...

For the record, orange chicken is an American creation.

Hmmm. I might have Panda for lunch.

The best fried chicken is brined overnight and fried at 330 degrees.

I was talking to a chef who trained in the South. Unfortunately I never wrote the recipie down.

Chickens were for eggs. You only ate it when it was old, tough and eggless.

rcocean said...

It just struck me why this article is in the NYT. Its an anti-chick fi la article. By boosting Popeyes and telling black people its a "black person fast food place" its trying to create an image of Chick-fi-la as the "White persons fast food place".

Seeing Red said...

Interesting, so slaves ate chicken while Poor white people ate squirrels?

Tommy Duncan said...

Blogger gilbar said...

"how about this hypothetical? Would IT be Racist? Or Just TRUE?

New Decorah Lutefisk Restaurant Strikes a Chord With Norski's


gilbar, the statement is racist because of cultural appropriation. "Decorah" is a family name in the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) nation. White men stole the name and used it to denote a honky city in Iowa. I know that because a Lutheran Hispanic friend of mine (from Clinton, Iowa) learned the truth while attending Luther College in Decorah.

Howard said...

No one beats the Colonel's eleven herbs and spices

gilbar said...

Ralph L said...
Robert E. Lee said his idea of Heaven was unlimited fried chicken


heh! that's Funny! During their mission trips through the south; the men in the Army of the Tennessee got SO TIRED of eating Chicken*, that they'd be offended at the thought. Hams now; they never got sick of Hams.

Tired of eating Chicken* Grant Moves South, Bruce Canton

Howard said...

Salmon in the PNW before Grand Coulie dam was white trash fish

Fernandinande said...

When you come home you can eat pork and beans
I eats mo' chicken, any man seen
I am a back door man -- Willie Dixon

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Chicken is eaten pretty much everywhere in the world, by the rich, the poor, and everyone in between. It doesn't make Black folks special.

"Secondly, fried foods are unhealthy."

It depends on what the food is. Frying is a perfectly good and healthy way of cooking food.

I've been to Popeyes and Chik-Fil-A. They're okay. I'd rather eat KFC, although I rarely go there.

I've only been to one authentic Black chicken joint, on the recommendation of a friend. If soggy fries, greasy white bread, cheap supermarket battered fish, so-so chicken, surly employees, and unkempt, probably dirty premises are the real African-American cuisine experience, I want no further part of it.

Ralph L said...

In Arlington 30 years ago, there was a popular place called Whitey's that specialized in fried chicken. White Yuppie clientele.

CJinPA said...

Does #BlackTwitter not know that everyone cooked with lard years ago?

Using social media to fill out articles that would otherwise rely on reporters speaking face-to-face with everyday people is not a surprising development. But the ramification is obvious: issues big and small decided by emotional Hot Takes. The person interviewed on the street is giving a Quick Take, which may or may not be very illuminating, but on social media we are performing for the public. That's fundamentally different. We're not just giving our snap opinion, we're giving a snap opinion designed to generate heat. That's one reason our culture's temperature feels to hot.

Mike said...

It's racist to say that black people can't participate in capitalism. It's racist to say black people can't make their own choices when responding to advertising.

Skeptical Voter said...

I'll go with the Drill Sgt's comment. Until factory farming of chickens, chicken was a bit of a luxury. Chickens were for laying eggs, and you kept them until they got old and tough. Then you boiled or fricasseed them.

It may have been Hoover running in 1928 who promised "a chicken in every pot".

Whoever wrote that bit about chickens and Jim Crow was a city boy or girl, ignorant of animal husbandry history.

Ken B said...

The best fried chicken I ever had was at The Old Country Store in Logan Mississippi.
https://www.natcheztracetravel.com/natchez-trace-mississippi/lorman-natchez-ms/oldcountrystore.html

The chef owner is a black guy who founded a fried chicken chain, then moved back to this podunk town to cook his own fried chicken. It is wonderful. He is a character who talks to customers at the table. Very neat building too.

Greg the class traitor said...

Fried foods, particularly chicken, became part of black culture due to food scarcity in slavery/Jim Crow times.

Herbert Hoover promised "a chicken in every pot" because chicken was EXPENSIVE.

Fried chicken was not a "slave food". Chicken only became cheap in the US because there was a Depression era project to massively grow chicken stocks in the US.


So the "top rated" comment at the NYT comes from a place of total ignorance. I'm shocked, shocked!

Ken B said...

No one dare count the donut shops per capita in Canada.

FWBuff said...

According to Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof":

"When a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick!"

Bob Boyd said...

Why did the chicken cross the road?
He saw a social justice warrior coming and just didn't want to fucking hear it?

tcrosse said...

I have a dream that one day a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned.

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

Ahhhhhhhh....Harold's. Best one down by U of C was on 63rd, but maybe that was because of the frisson of danger that one felt going there late at night (esp. during finals for some reason). It was always de rigeur to do a "Harold's run" during parties. Gizzards were my particular thing, since I was perpetually broke, not being from a rich, white, East Coast family that subsidized my partying. The rich kids got white meat. Us poor whites got the gizzards.

Someone opened a Harold's here in Madison a while back. It was over by the west side Woodman's and I did my best to heavily subsidize it in order for it to stay open. But alas, it failed and is now replaced by an Indian place.

Bob Boyd said...

Ironically, there are fewer donut shops in police states.

Bruce Hayden said...

“The brief take-away: Finger Lickin' - Bad.”

My partner actually grew up eating fried chicken at Col. Sander’s house. He moved to Las Vegas at some point, and her mother did his books. No surprise, the fried chicken that he served was excellent. Unfortunately, she doesn’t do well with eating fat, so would have to remove the breading before she could eat the chicken (she still does, which, in my view, ruins the experience). Did this in front of the Colonel. He never had a problem with it, but he also served a bunch of other picnic stuff that never ended up in the restaurants bearing his name, so all was good.

At some point, she wanted to try something else, besides LAS and PHX, so bought a farm in Kentucky (she never said whether having known Sanders colored her choice there). And that is where she learned to cook southern fried chicken. Layers upon layers of lard and flour. Huge amount of work, but delicious. Except that she still had to remove those layers upon layers of breading, due to the lard, before she could eat more than a bite or two. Her kids though love it. She would make it that way when she was raising a bunch of kids, who all had friends,neither her ex husband. Now, we don’t have kids around very often (the occasional grandson, but that is it), and I have been told that I don’t need it, so she hasn’t cooked it in the last 20 years.

As for the farm in KY, she moved after the locals dynamited the trailer they were living in, while they were building a house (they didn’t like rich outsiders). Sold it almost 20 years later for not much more than she paid for it, after adjusting for inflation. But the big problem arose after her son asked her, after his first day in a private school, whether he would have to learn Kentucky talk if they stayed. But the kids did have fun, including watching one of the chickens being breaded above, literally running around with his head cut off. Ok, that was her son who got the big kick out of that, not her daughter. He has taught his sons how to kill chickens, pluck and clean them, and then fry them up southern (Kentucky) style (except that coyotes got their whole flock of chickens a couple years ago).

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"Frying meat in lard isn't really magic"

Thank You, Professor!

hey- anyone up for Sylvia's?

William said...

Just yesterday there was an article in the paper about how somebody got stabbed to death for cutting in line at Popeye's. What a clever marketing gimmick. It really piques my interest in their chicken sandwich. Some foods you'd die for, but the great foods you'll kill for.....The recently opened Chick Fil A in my super liberal neighborhood always has huge lines. I wonder if some of the attraction might be its status as a forbidden food......As many have noted, fried chicken was never a poverty food. Collard greens and chitlins were. Collard greens are edible, but there's no way I'm ever going to eat chitlins......I think BBQ features the cheaper cuts of meat, but most people are willing to pay premium prices for good BBQ. What's the take on BBQ? Who's appropriating whom? I never associated fried chicken exclusively with black people. It's hard to stay current with racist stereotypes.

Yancey Ward said...

Popeyes was founded by a white guy. It is owned by a Canadian corporation.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

The Drill SGT said...

that's fundamentally false. Up until factory farming, chickens were expensive rich people food

And your comment is fundamentally bullshit. My parents grew up in Southern Appalachia (Western NC to be exact) during the Great Depression and they ate plenty of chicken.

Mark said...

So, this most-liked commenter fully embraces the stereotype while condemning others for supposedly stereotyping.

Biff said...

"Frying meat in lard isn't really magic"

Related: sometimes I think that no one born after 1975 has any idea how a french fry is supposed to taste.

PM said...

I watch sports shows. The black commentators, when Popeye's announced the end of their recent chicken-sandwich shortage, were ecstatic. It's practically cultish. So what? I grew up in a black neighborhood. Everybody liked fried chicken and bbq, including me. The Popeye's sandwich must be particularly good.

As far as the 'watermelon' thing - that was mostly perpetrated by Hollywood - the grand poobah of black stereotyping - in movies and cartoons. cf. Lee's montage at the end of "Bamboozled".

Yancey Ward said...

Popeye's did try out the soychicken BBQ sandwich at a taste testing, but the testing personnel didn't make it out alive.

Mark said...

My desire to have the hyped Popeye's sandwich has passed.

Now, if I could find some place -- ANY place -- that could served up a good kung pao chicken, I would be happy. Used to be you could get it, back when it was prepared by real chefs, but now that most Chinese places have become nothing more than take-out fast food joints with cooks that are the equivalent of the people that fry hamburgers at McDonalds, good kung pao is almost impossible to find.

Q22 said...

Marketing to African Americans is racist
Not marketing to African Americans is racist
Writing about marketing to African Americans is racist.
Ignoring marketing to African Americans is racist.

I sense a pattern.

Curious George said...

Not to open another whole can of worms, but remember their old jingle?

"Lub dat chicken from Popeye's"

Howard said...

Bought fried chicken for the wife a couple times up in Canadia last month. The thighs are approximately 1/3 the size of US chicken thighs.

Curious George said...

By the way, this Popeye's advertising isn't racist.

Not compared to Queen B Barbeque's! So good!

hombre said...

It is crucial for the NYT to perpetuate the racism conversation for the proglodytes. In this instance, it must be directed at a chicken sandwich - not even a Chick-fil-a sandwich.

NYT commentators are the walking probability of being offended as are their columnists. My lord, targeted advertising is racist? Isn’t targeting what advertising does? And why shouldn’t Popeye’s put their stores where the customers are? Tell me again.

hombre said...

So the taco wagon that rolls into the Mexican neighborhood is racist? Who knew?

Or is it just the Taco Bell that builds contiguous to the Mexican neighborhood?

Oh! Was I supposed say “Latinx” instead of Mexican? My bad.

Milwaukie guy said...

Do any of the Harold's lovers remember the name of the noted catfish restaurant, somewhere between Bronzeville and Cermak?

Fernandinande said...

I have a dream that one day a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned.

Why?

Milwaukie guy said...

Besides stewing old hens, young roosters are eaten much more. You see, chickens are only two genders and you don't need a lot of roosters for the egg business. Butter and egg money.

Gospace said...

There are reasons we don't go to the closest Popeye's, about the same distance from the house as the closest Chick Fil A.

Clientele.

Seeing Red said...

Lobster was poor people food, too, once upon a time.

Seeing Red said...

This white person grew up eating Brown’s Chicken. I started eating Popeye’s in the 80s. Brown’s closed. I still miss their cole slaw. I think they made it with French or Western dressing. Was never a big KFC fan. My relatives in St. Louis, though.

I eat the salad and waffle fries at Chickie’s and I eat Popeye’s more than I should. The drive-thru order taker is usually Hispanic.


Skippy Tisdale said...

If I can't eat a Chick-Fil-A sandwich because the owner is a Christian and I can't eat a chicken sandwich from McDonald's because they are a massive corporation that exploits it's workforce (same for Wendy's Burger King, Applebees, etc.) and I can't get a chicken sandwich form Popeye's because they are exploiting black folk, where the fuck am I supposed to get a chicken sandwich?

tcrosse said...

St-Hubert has been quite successful selling rotisserie chicken in Québec.

Rusty said...

Anybody remember, "Jubilee Showcase"? Except for the used car commercials the advertisers were all black owned businesses. 'Moo and Oink" purveyors of various meats and internal organs. And for some reason I'm reminded of "Rays BarBQ. Home of Rays Famous "Mambo" Sauce."

Rusty said...

Soul food is just poor people food. Black or white.

Anonymous said...

"What's the take on BBQ? Who's appropriating whom?"

According to legend, the term barbecue originated in Texas in the mid 19th century. The vaqueros would slaughter a cow, butcher it, and then bury the head wrapped in burlap in a coal pit ("barbacoa de cabeza"). When the germans got here, they flipped their lids as they considered the sweetbreads to be a delicacy, and started cooking brisket instead.

gilbar said...

I just want to say; If you don't eat Bojangles You SUCK as a person.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Bought fried chicken for the wife a couple times up in Canadia last month. The thighs are approximately 1/3 the size of US chicken thighs.

"She had the sightless eyes
Tellin' me no lies
Knockin' me out with those American* thighs" --AC/DC

(*"American", as in U.S., vs North American, which includes Canada)

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

@Skippy Tisdale asks:
... where the fuck am I supposed to get a chicken sandwich?

from the Russians.

oh, wait-- nevermind.

Greg the class traitor said...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...
The Drill SGT said...

that's fundamentally false. Up until factory farming, chickens were expensive rich people food

And your comment is fundamentally bullshit. My parents grew up in Southern Appalachia (Western NC to be exact) during the Great Depression and they ate plenty of chicken.


Really? Did they eat plenty of old, stringy, chicken from hens that were no longer laying enough eggs? Or did they eat fresh good chicken from checks that were raised solely as food?

GingerBeer said...

Life on the Left must be exhausting if one must feel the need to be so offended by a fried chicken sandwich. Must every decision be fraught w/ political peril? I can imagine turning down a handful of Skittles could be problematic.

DrSquid said...

After I became numbed to the health/safety risks of life in the south side of chicago, I would occasionally drive down So. Cottage Grove Av to the nearest Leon's BarBQ joint. Same bullet proof decor, same crazy delcious urban poor food. My wife (at the time, girlfriend) figured out Leon's recipe and we still enjoy it regularly.

Now I need never go to Chicago again.

Rusty said...


"Really? Did they eat plenty of old, stringy, chicken from hens that were no longer laying enough eggs? Or did they eat fresh good chicken from checks that were raised solely as food?"
According to my grandmother during the depression you raised chickens for the eggs. That way you didn't have to buy a lot of feed. When the a hen quit laying she went into the stew pot. Old chickens were stewed.

tim in vermont said...

"Really? Did they eat plenty of old, stringy, chicken from hens that were no longer laying enough eggs? Or did they eat fresh good chicken from checks that were raised solely as food?”

Them and particularly obnoxious roosters.

JaimeRoberto said...

I'm surprised to find so many Hyde Parkers here. Ribs n Bibs was my preference, but Harold's was much friendlier to my student budget. These days I enjoy drinking lemonade through a plastic straw at Chik Fil A. It feels so transgressive.

rcocean said...

"My parents grew up in Southern Appalachia (Western NC to be exact) during the Great Depression and they ate plenty of chicken."

So what? that doesn't mean chicken wasn't expensive to people who lived in the North or in Cities! I had relatives in the 1930s that could go down to the ocean and catch a salmon anytime they wished. Guess that means y'all in Appalachia could buy a salmon for 5 cent a pound.

BTW the internet has some interesting food prices from the late 1940s

Hamburger - 55 cents/pound
Whole Chicken - 41 cents/pound
Coffee - 43 cents/lbs.
Eggs - 65 cents/dozen

tcrosse said...

Here's the wikipedia piece on City Chicken, which was a popular faux-chicken dish in parts of the country where pork or veal were less expensive than chicken. The expression Spring Chicken refers to young fryers which before WWII were typically only available in the spring.

Milwaukie guy said...

I didn't try to find the name of that catfish place because I was wondering how far Hyde Parkies got out. Back in those days, probably most students didn't have cars.

I hung out a lot with UC students in the early 80s when I was living in South Chicago and working at Ford. My best ex-wife waited tables at Orly's. Remember the Tiki bar?

Michael said...

Met a black man at a business conference and learned he lived in Harlem near 125 and Lenox a short walk to the Red Rooster restaurant where I had recently dined on fried chicken. Which was wrongly ladled with gravy. We discussed the wrongness of gravy on fried chicken, the insult to the bird and the dish. We were in solid agreement that it was an outrage and I promised to take him to excellent fried chicken when he came to Atlanta. His first name was Daryl. A few weeks later I got an email from Daryl saying he was coming south and wanted to have dinner and I replayed that I was all set to take him for some excellent fried chicken, sans gravy. Not to realize I had met two black Daryls at the conference and this was not the one I thought it was. We met instead at a steak restaurant where I confessed I did not always assume a fried chicken venue to my black friends and associates. He thought it pretty funny. Successful black businessmen of my acquaintance are not wrapped up in that nonsense. And uniformly like fried chicken. Without gravy.

Unknown said...

How are the Blacks affecting climate change with this?

Unknown said...

> Popeyes’ inroads with black Americans may be as much about marketing as anything else. The company has made appeals to African-Americans in its advertising, stoking criticism that it is pandering.

OMG

Carlos Slim's newspaper criticizes private companies PANDERING to minorities. How many articles pushing reparations has the NYT published?

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Nancy Reyes said...

here in the rural Philippines, you can get this type of deep fried chicken: not just at KFC, but at Jolibee (local hamburger franchise), Chow King (a local Chinese food franchise) and Greenwich (the local pizza franchise).

the local McDonalds not only has fried chicken (with rice) as a menu item, but now they have a Samurai Chicken sandwich, with a naked chicken patty covered with teriaki sauce.

and yes, we are seeing obesity in kids, although it might be because kids now can afford to take a tricycle (motorcycle side car) to school instead of walking.


DrSquid said...

Milwaukee guy

I definitely remember Orly's and the Tiki Bar. Were you in the neighborhood for the scandalous Orly's advert in the Maroon "Eat at Orly's or I'll shoot this waitress." Somehow the locals didn't find it too funny. It worked for National Lampoon with a dog, but perhaps a waitress was a bridge too far.

Of course, these days I'll probably be banned from the internet for using "waitress" instead of server.

hugh42 said...

Thanks for fronting this amazing NYT article. Don't read the racist rag myself. Comments are comprehensive and correct.

In the Fifties my parents would not go to a famous Rt 11 joint specializing in chicken in the basket cost too much. We only had it at my grandparents place about 3 times a year.

Milwaukie guy said...

Yes, the Orly's ad! I knew both of the owners and did their menus. The lesser partner got married in Rockefeller Chapel with all of the Irish muckety-mucks and the reception was at the restaurant on the top floor of that bank building with the best white French dressing.

My six-week-old daughter cut a loud, wet fart that echoed in Rockefeller. We held the little bugger up for a full inspection of the culprit. She went to Chicago magnet schools and got her BA and MA from UC.

When she first got to the South Side, she couldn't believe how long it took black teenagers to use the crosswalk.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Everything is racist, of course.
Saying different racial groups have different preferences is racist--we're all the same.
Saying different racial groups have the same preferences is racist--how dare you ignore our unique tastes and culture!

Popeyes corporate is now owned by RBI, a Canadian restaurant holding company. Almost all their stores are franchises. I don't have any data on the racial breakdown of franchise owners, but all the Popeyes I have been in (all in the southern US) have had mostly- or exclusively-black workers, so I'd wager the percentage of franchise owners who are black exceeds the baseline proportion of black people as a proportion of the US population. I could be wrong on that, though. The company was founded in the early 1970s by a white guy from Louisiana, but the parent company went bankrupt in the 90s and for a while was owned by the same company as Church's (another chicken restaurant, mostly in the south). I don't think there are any claims that the Popeyes founder stole his recipes from black people (as there are, without evidence, against KFC's Colonel).

At any rate it's racist to support companies that exploit black customers.
It's also racist to not support companies that employ black people.

Logically speaking, everything is racist.

walter said...

They renamed the Naked Tenders to Blackened Tenders.
Anti-Naturist racists!!

ken in tx said...

In the South, in the 60s, in college, at a film festival, I saw a film of a half-naked woman rubbing watermelon on her belly. We were supposed to understand that this symbolized interracial sex. This made no sense to me because everyone I knew, both black and white loved watermelon, and probably half-naked women as well.

walter said...

A fully naked woman negates the importance of the watermelon.

gpm said...

>>Brown’s closed.

There's still a Brown's at 111th and Cicero in Oak Lawn. I try to hit it every year while I'm staying at the glorious Oak Lawn Hilton at 95th and Cicero so I can fulfill my Christmas Eve and Christmas day obligations in the southwest Chicago suburbs (Orland Park and Lockport), primarily for the glorious fried gizzards.

>>Now I need never go to Chicago again.

Yeah, but where do you get your Italian beef??? Much more important than fried chicken, where Popeye's will do in a pinch (though, alas, our local Popeye's in Kenmore Square just closed). We had a place in the Boston suburbs, run by some expatriates, but it close about two years ago. While observing the obligations, I also try to get to the original Al's on Taylor Street, across the alley from my high school, while I'm staying at a hotel in Greektown, but they tend to be closed around Christmas.

But then there's the Mr. Gyro's on Halsted for, you know, the gyros at 2 o'clock in the morning. OMG, I get so homesick during my Christmas visits.

>>I'm surprised to find so many Hyde Parkers here.

So many with Chicago roots. You can take the boy out of Chicago, but you can't take Chicago out of the boy. Dr. K's about 10-15 years older, but we otherwise have very similar backgrounds (though nobody in my neighborhood had a black mammy!). Roughcoat about my age and background. Many others dropping hints now and then.

--gpm

stlcdr said...

Blogger Unknown said...
How are the Blacks affecting climate change with this?


11/7/19, 4:43 PM


They are the hardest hit, I’m sure.

Lurker21 said...

It does seem old-fashioned, like something from another era: "Those quaint and curious Negroes really appear to like this sandwich. What will those people think of next?" People are too quick to jump to accusations of racism, but the article could have foregrounded the popularity of the sandwich and then gotten to the ethnic angle some paragraphs down, instead of putting it in the title.

Maybe Eligon's next article will be about how he, an African-American had to go through sensitivity training for his anti-Black racism.