Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Finger Lickin' Chicken

by Pa Rock

I saw an article on the Internet today regarding America's number one artery blocker, Kentucky Fried Chicken. It seems that Colonel Sanders' handwritten secret recipe of eleven secret herbs and spices (the herbs and spices that give the company's chicken its special taste) was being moved from one super secret location to another. That task will involve off-duty police officers, private security guards and an armored car. During the transfer the recipe, now fading on a sixty-eight-year-old piece of yellowed paper, will be slipped into a briefcase and handcuffed to the chief of the private security firm that is responsible for the document's safe passage between secret vaults. It is, it seems, one of the best protected trade secrets in existence.

Those under a certain age, say forty or so, might not even realize that Colonel Sanders was a real person. But myself, on the other hand, being well above that age, can remember him quite well. His name was Harlan Sanders, and like many other people in Kentucky, he called himself "Colonel." He ran a restaurant in eastern Kentucky that specialized in very good fried chicken with a unique flavor. He eventually sold his chicken recipe and his franchise idea for a hefty (at the time) sum of one million dollars.

One of my first memories of the Colonel was when he appeared on an old TV game show called I've Gotta Secret. His secret was that he had brought one million dollars to the studio in a large glass box to show everyone how rich he was - and every one obligingly ogled all of that cash. Years later he became bitter with the thought that he had sold too cheaply.

Another memory of the Colonel was listening to him being interviewed on the radio as I was driving cross-country in the early 1970s. The questioner asked him about his favorite piece of chicken, and without hesitating, he said that the wing was the most flavorful part of the chicken.

The Colonel also did many, if not all, of the KFC television commercials. It was said that over ninety percent of Americans could recognize his face, while roughly half that number could recognize a picture of the President!

Colonel Sanders died in 1980, but his secret recipe lives on. The "original recipe" still has that unique taste, but somehow it is not nearly as good as it was fifty years ago. But then, few things are.

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