The fried chicken and waffles I had at Yardbird a few weeks ago
Photo: Monique Judge

As a black woman, I will never allow anyone to shame me for loving fried chicken, or red Kool-Aid or watermelon. Loving these things are my birthright, stereotypes be damned.

I love fried chicken.

As July 6 is National Fried Chicken Day, I begged my bosses to allow me to write this post even though we know all you angry grays are going to show up and make jokes about black people eating chicken. We don’t give a fuck. We eat chicken and you still mad and still in the grays. Choke and die.

I am very particular about my chicken. I mostly only eat dark meat, and even then it has to be thighs and not drumsticks. I do eat wings, but I prefer flats over drums.

The flats-over-drums thing caused a big debate in our work Slack this afternoon. According to the poll I took, here is where The Root staff (that were present at that moment) stands on the flats versus drums issue:

  • Senior Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. says “Flats are the white man’s favorite. White men love flat shit: flat asses, flat wings, etc. Drummettes have a handle for civilized eating. Also, you can’t eat flats in public”

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(That part is actually a damn lie. I can stick a whole flat in my mouth and pull out nothing but bones, but I’ll save that discussion for an upcoming column on The Root After Dark: How to Suck the Meat off of Chicken Bones)

  • Maiysha Kai, Managing Editor of The Glow Up, agreed with Stephen and said, “I feel like I get more meat on the drums.”
  • Managing Editor Genetta Adams said, “When I was young and stupid, I loved drums. Now I prefer flats.” When asked to explain her answer, she said, “There’s more meat on flats.” [Editor’s note: This was back when I used to eat meat. —Genetta]
  • Yesha Callahan, our Deputy Managing Editor, said she doesn’t even eat wings. The only part of the chicken she eats are breasts. She only likes dry-ass white meat. I have petitioned our Editor in Chief Danielle Belton to hire a private detective so we can find out once and for all if this heffa is really even black.
  • Contributing Editor Angela Bronner Helm said she prefers drums. “Drums just sound blacker,” she said. “Hello? It’s drums.” We’ll let her have that one, because she also brought up the good point that “technically wings are both white and dark meat so they are superior,” but she messed it up by adding, “but if you break a wing down, the drum is the better part.”

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(This is when Yesha replied that “chicken wings are the crab of poultry.” Seriously, is she really black?)

  • An editor who would prefer not be identified but who has seriously investigated the matter proffered that “with flats, you have to wrestle out the meat in the middle with your tongue.” They then told me to shut up, because they knew I would have a smart remark to make after that. I did, in fact, keep my mouth closed. [Maiysha: Okay, that was me. Shut up, Monique.]
  • Genetta, however, did not. She said, “You have to put in the work before you put in it your mouth—take out one of the bones and then suck the meat.” This is exactly the way you eat flats. She didn’t tell a lie.

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I have mastered a recipe for oven-fried chicken that I would put up against skillet-fried chicken any day of the week. Yesha teases me constantly for oven-frying chicken. She lies and tells people that I eat Shake ’N Bake. I do not.

What I do make is crispy and delicious and has a lot less grease than regular fried chicken. My seasoning blend includes regular flour, Dixie Fry, seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, a dash of chili powder and black pepper. I put all of that in a bag the way your mama does when she makes fried chicken. I dip the chicken pieces in egg wash, coat them with the flour mixture and place them in a 13 x 9 baking dish that already has Pam or some other cooking spray sprayed on the bottom and along the sides. My oven is heated to 400 degrees.

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I bake the chicken for about an hour to an hour-and-a-half, and I only turn it once.

The chicken comes out golden and beautiful, well-seasoned and delicious.

I love fried chicken, and now I just shared that love with you.