On a Wing and a Prayer
THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE WORLD’S GREATEST FINGER FOOD. BY BARRY KAUFMAN
PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN
Although he’s now heralded as an artistic genius, his works selling for millions of dollars apiece, Vincent Van Gogh only sold two paintings in his entire lifetime. Johann Sebastian Bach’s skill as a composer went largely unnoticed until nearly 100 years after his death. Stephen King’s first novel, “Carrie” was rejected nearly 30 times before it found a publisher. The point is, sometimes it takes a while for greatness to be truly appreciated. And in the culinary world, nowhere is that truer than in the case of the humble chicken wing. The history of the chicken wing is hotly contested. As with most of the finest food creations, the South can lay claim to its true origins, even if the “official” story says otherwise. If you go by the official story, the first-ever plate of chicken wings was served in 1964 at Buffalo New York’s Anchor Bar. Southerners, as usual, know better. Deep-fried chicken wings had been a staple of Southern cooking for decades before that first plate, a fact that is even begrudgingly acknowledged by the National Chicken Council, (which we promise actually exists). Perhaps it was this status as a Southern staple that led to chicken wings’ less-than-savory reputation among chefs. After 22
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