Hot chicken

Hot chicken. Everyone in Nashville knows it was invented here and, theoretically, the highest and best practitioner is Prince’s Hot Chicken on Ewing Drive where hot chicken was invented as a way for a wife to get back at her philandering husband. Sadly for her, he liked it and word got around, as it does, and now hot chicken is a part of life here.

Part of the ritual of Noah’s return to college is to sample some foods he can’t get in Knoxville. So yesterday we went for hot chicken, not at Princes, because it is not air-conditioned, which I do not do in August, but another fine purveyor of the craft, The Wing Basket.

Hot chicken is basically fried chicken that will blow the top of your head off. It is breaded with flour and then a nuclear paste is applied before the chicken hits the fryer, thereby making it impossible to eat the chicken without consuming an inordinate amount of incendiary chiles. It’s really good. You can order it at various levels of heat, but even the “mild” will burn the roof of your mouth flat off. It always comes atop a slice of white bread with a side of dill pickles. They are supposed to take the edge off the burn. They do not.

Mark has eaten far more hot chicken than I have and he reports that grown men, who should know better, will order the hottest level of hot chicken and then literally cry through their meal. Hurts so good. There is even a Hot Chicken Festival in Nashville every year on Independence Day, not coincidentally usually one of the hottest days of summer.

To give you an idea of the level of heat hot chicken produces, I will tell you a story. Turn away right now if you’re squeamish. Hot chicken will leave your lips burning for hours, but it has a more insidious result. A few hours after consuming his hot chicken with relish, Mark had to use the rest room. He noticed, actually he was alarmed to notice,  that there was a terrible burning sensation as he…well…passed water. So to speak.  He likened it to what is known as a zippo tank, which is equipped with a flame thrower. That is how potent hot chicken is. It actually moves through your body and back out again.

Why do we Nashvillians love our hot chicken? Because it’s ours and ours alone. Because it is a test. A test we take over and over again and we always pass. So to speak.

2 Comments

Filed under chicken

2 responses to “Hot chicken

  1. Mark

    Let me just say…yumm, and ouch.

  2. Julie

    hilarious!!! ( we missed you last night at Jane’s and all figured you must be taking Noah to Knoxville or something important like that)

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