Positivity 2: Hot Chicken

And so, the plan continues. Another day, another target of positivity and gratitude.

Lest I offend my wife by following up her entry with hot chicken, I would point out that I’m trying to keep it somewhat light here– following the sacred with the profane, if you will.

Sometime around the 1940s, Thornton Prince stayed out too late one night. When he came home the next morning, his girlfriend/spouse/significant other decided that she would have revenge. She fried Thornton some fried chicken for breakfast (sounds good to me)… and then doused it with some manner of fire peppers (Cayenne maybe, who knows?).

Thornton Prince liked it. And eventually opened a store selling it. And this very day in the north end of Nashville, his niece, Andre Prince Jeffries is selling hot chicken. You take chicken and fry it in a cast iron skillet with a liberal helping of lard… and you add SOMETHING. Who knows what? Crack, plutonium, liquid fire, I’m not sure. But whatever it is, it is GOOOOOD.

Picture the best fried chicken you ever had, made into the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten. And then multiply it by 10… and you might be close.

I started eating Prince’s back around 2008, and for a period, I couldn’t go to Nashville without my hot chicken fix. Julie has eventually prevailed on me to cut back, so it’s just an occasional treat. But I’m still grateful for its existence and the chance to enjoy Nashville hot chicken.

A few tips, if you’re curious:

1) There are three or four places in Nashville that make hot chicken. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack on Ewing Drive is apparently the gold standard. It’s not the nicest part of town and the chicken takes a looooong time to fix, particularly when they’re busy (basically, when they’re open).

2) Approach the heat cautiously. Prince’s serves the chicken in mild, medium, hot, and extra hot. I’ve never made it above medium, which will cause you to shed tears and turn red. Go above that only either with experience or an iron stomach.

3) If you want a sample of the hot chicken culture, Nashville has an annual hot chicken festival on the 4th of July. It’s a good time, although the lines are long.

Peace and chicken grease. Possibly literally.

Joe

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