A Brief History
On July 29, 2020, Americans celebrate another of our greatest holidays, National Chicken Wing Day! In our household, this is a major event, so important that we actually celebrate it about once a week! Unlike poseurs that only load up on delicious deep fried, sauce infused (or dry rubbed) wonderfulness during major sporting events, real chicken wing aficionados partake in their chosen repast of joy whenever the urge strikes! Still, we agree that a special day must be set aside each year so that the uninitiated may be reminded of what they are missing.
Although chicken wings can be enjoyed prepared in dozens of different ways, basically any way chicken can be prepared, even soup, we are really talking about deep fried chicken wings with the “Buffalo Wing” variety being the standard bearer of this iconic American food. Allegedly the legend began at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, in 1964, a shockingly recent invention when this author thinks, “Hey, I was born well before Buffalo wings existed!” What a scary thought… Yes, Major Dan and Dr. Zar have made the pilgrimage to the Anchor Bar and enjoyed the real thing in its own birthplace, and if you are wondering, the wings were great.
But first, a word about chickens… As you can tell by clicking the link, we have previously discussed this wonderful domesticated critter that people have used for tens of thousands of years, for food, eggs, and feathers. (Domestication came perhaps around 3000 BC.) The roosters even serve as a fine rural alarm clock. The 20 billion chickens kept by people provide the extremely inexpensive but high quality protein found in their eggs, enough to provide each American with about 250 per year. As for wings, Americans knock down about 25 billion (yes, with a “B”) per year. So where does that leave all these wingless chickens? Right where they are at! Because chickens cannot fly and do NOT NEED THEIR WINGS! This is all part of the serendipity that is either God’s plan or Mother Nature, depending on your philosophy.
You can enjoy your chicken wings with the traditional “Buffalo” style hot sauce of varying degrees of heat, or a myriad of other flavors, such as mustard based sauces, barbecue type sauces, Teriyaki, garlic, garlic-Parmesan, and all the various dry rub types. So, you ask, what are the favorite wings of HistoryandHeadlines? Major Dan says Quaker Steak and Lube Louisiana Lickers are the best, while Dr. Zar claims Rooster’s Mild have the best taste. Please tell us the place and the variety of wings you think are the best. (Since we have only been to Anchor Bar twice we have not had enough of their wings to compare them to those of which we have had many hundreds.)
Whether you like traditional “bone-in” wings or the boneless variety, or perhaps either “flats” or “drumsticks,” deep fried “Buffalo” wings are now an established American tradition that we embrace whole heartedly. How about you?
Question for students (and subscribers): Are chicken wings the greatest American food? Why or why not? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Humphreys, Daniel. Wing Night: Wing Recipes for Fans. Amazon, 2019.
Quintana, Robert. Wing It!: Flavorful Chicken Wings, Sauces, and Sides. Gibbs Smith, 2013.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Flickr user: Andrew Nash of Buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. This image was originally posted to Flickr by andynash at https://www.flickr.com/photos/94611718@N00/5413160317. It was reviewed on by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-sa-2.0.