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No Fry Zone

January 17, 2011

If all goes well, there should be an Ask the Profussor later this week.  But there was one question that has come up a couple of times over the past few days which really demands it’s own post.  It’s about my Super Bowl preplanning and game strategy.

RealFoodMom was first to ask:
Am I missing something if I suggest cooking your own chicken wings at home? They would be hot and fresh, and even could be made out of happy meat.

And KB @ Home-Baked Happiness also chimed in:
You could make your own wings. Or buy the kind that are frozen in a bag, so they can be fresh out of your oven.

Even the mysterious Fuddley got in on the action:
I agree w/real food. Shovel out the grill and do them right. Enjoy the party and the friends. All the commercials will be on youtube later.

All of these are perfectly reasonable suggestions.  Well, except for the notion that wings should be prepared any way other than deep fried.  I do especially appreciate the notion of eating the wings from happy chickens during the big game.  But fundamentally, there is one major consideration that none of these suggestions address.

The Fussy household is a no-fry zone.

Really, that is based on many factors.  No, you don’t need a dedicated fryer to fry at home, but it helps.  And for most of my adult life I have been resisting the urge to buy one.  Primarily because fried foods are just so delicious.

Sure, some of the newer model fryers have air filters on them, but frying foods is a stinky and messy process.  Even if your fryer doesn’t splatter, one still has to dispose of significant amounts of used oil.  And given my obsessive-compulsive nature, I would want to use fresh oil all the time.

Without a doubt, this would get really expensive given my thoughts on corn, vegetable (AKA soy), and canola oil.  Let me tell you, organic expeller pressed canola oil is not cheap.

Sometimes it’s best to let other people do your dirty work.

Especially since the only way to master something as tricky as frying chicken wings is to do it all the time.  I have no illusions about the difficulty of rendering out the fat under the skin, keeping the meat tender while cooking it through, and crisping up the skin to a beautiful burnished brown.  This is one reason why good wings are hard to find.  I have every reason to think my amateur attempt to cook wings will result in total failure.

Frankly, even wings that have suffered through the ardors of delivery would likely be better than what I could create on my own.

Speaking of which, it’s absolutely impossible for me to cook wings and be in my game-watching mode.  The two are completely incompatible.  I don’t even like to get up and use the bathroom during the game.  Or the commercials.

Sure, the spots will be on YouTube later.  Many of them may even be posted prior to the game.  But for me, part of this annual event has to do with participating in a national communal experience.  I’m doing the exact same thing at the exact same time as tens of millions of my fellow citizens.  It would be cheating to use a DVR.

It’s rare these days to have such a mass audience for anything.  Sure, 95 million people have seen this video, but it’s been over the last two years. Super Bowl Sunday has historically drawn more people to their televisions in the course of just a few hours.  And every year, one of those tens of millions is little old me.

I don’t want to miss a minute of it.  And I’m certainly not going to be cooking.

Having an talented person work a nearby fryer filled with fresh oil and crisping up batches upon batches of happy chicken wings, coated with homemade Buffalo style sauce of Frank’s Red Hot and butter (produced from the cream of cows that were untreated with rBGH) would be ideal.  But ADS is all the way out in California, and I haven’t heard anyone else clamoring to come over to my house and cook for me on the big day.

So I’ll make do with what I can.  If that’s delivered wings, then so be it.  Yes, the food is important.  But there are so few occasions to participate in a true national event that I want to make every second count.

And when it’s done, I’ll shudder like I do every year, and remark how I can’t imagine that there are people who do this every weekend during football season.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2011 1:03 pm

    Of course you have every right to order out to enjoy the game. But I don’t feel wings are all that hard. Maybe being a Southerner just hardwires that information into you ;) I love an excuse to make wings, whether pan-fried and crispy or baked into hot sauce or lemon-pepper. I’ve never deep fried chicken. It isn’t necessary, it urges one to overcook the meat, and unless one is using lard (this one isn’t) it doesn’t add flavor. a few tablespoons of olive oil, c’est tout.

    Enjoy your game! But someday, think about enjoying your own chicken wings too. :)

  2. January 17, 2011 4:43 pm

    Wings-at-home was something I thought about suggesting in the earlier post, but, uh, didn’t. Haha!

    My mother has recently been investigating ways to make wings at home and–though I’m sure someone will consider this to be the total opposite to the point of wings–thus far the best way they’ve come out is by not frying them, but preparing them in a way that is not so very different from how we roast a whole chicken. We thought, well, when we do that it ends up crispy and heavenly on the outside, tender and moist on the inside, so why not try it for wings? It’s been a great success, and I’d argue it’s better than a good percentage of the wings we’ve gotten out.

  3. Matt K permalink
    January 17, 2011 5:40 pm

    I agree with you about frying at home (I only do it for Channukah). Here’s what I do for wings – get plain (or garlic butter) wings (plain is a little better because there’s no sauce to make them soggy). Mix the sauce (butter, Franks, and salt if needed) and poor it over the delivered wings. They may not be quite as crispy as wings you make yourself, but they’re a little better and you are guaranteed a good sauce!

  4. Ellen Whitby permalink
    January 19, 2011 1:02 am

    I don’t disagree with you about the post-frying smell that lingers for way longer than it should but I do think it’s worth it. Not that I’ll be frying wings anytime soon, but ironically, my son has asked if we could have a dinner that is completely fried. We’ll start with fried fish and french fries (homemade, of course). To accompany that we’ll have fried eggplant and for dessert, we’ll have batter-dipped deep-fried oreos. I’ll be sure to change the oil in between foods. It will be a stinky mess but it will be delicious.

    Maybe even some of the Fussys will join us.

    As for the Superbowl, I’ve always thought it a good policy to let your hosts decide what should be on the menu. If they want to fry wings themselves or order in, it’s really their choice.

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