Within living memory was a time when commercial products and establishments went a long way to convince consumers that their products were “Just like!” if not “Better than!” homemade. This marketing was still going on when I was a kid in the Sixties, even though most Baby Boomers were a generation removed from true home cooking with fresh (unprocessed) dairy, meats and produce. Beautiful, honest homemade resurged and thrived because of what I like to call the “Whole Earth” attitude—God bless Stewart Brand and all who sail in him—but there’s a counter-movement of sorts in those who seek to replicate restaurant dishes for their home table.
It’s only logical that recipes for successful restaurants are closely-guarded secrets. As a child, I knew a woman who claimed to know the Sanders’ Original Recipe of “11 herbs and spices”, one of the most famous trade secrets in the industry, by virtue of the fact that she had worked in a franchise outlet in Grenada, Mississippi for three months while her husband was in the Grenada County lock-up for beating up a grease monkey who’d stolen a gun from the glove compartment of his car while it was in for an oil change. I don’t think she really knew the recipe; her fried chicken tasted nothing like the real thing, but then she always did cook 2/3 through her daily bottle of vodka.
It wasn’t until 2016 that the KFC recipe was made public. The Chicago Tribune reported that a nephew by marriage of Colonel Sanders claimed to have found a copy of the original KFC fried chicken recipe on a handwritten piece of paper in an envelope in a scrapbook. The intrepid journalists in Chicago apparently admitted this discovery was within the realm of possibilities, but as journalists of fortitude and integrity, felt compelled to verify the recipe before publication. After “some trial and error” they decided the chicken should be soaked in buttermilk and coated once in the following breading mixture, then fried in oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown. With the addition of MSG (in an unspecified amount) they claimed the recipe produced fried chicken “indistinguishable” from fried chicken they had purchased at KFC.
11 Spices – Mix With 2 Cups White Flour
2/3 Ts (tablespoons) Salt
1/2 Ts Thyme
1/2 Ts Basil
1/3 Ts Oregano
1 Ts Celery salt
1 Ts Black pepper
1 Ts Dried mustard
4 Ts Paprika
2 Ts Garlic salt
1 Ts Ground ginger
3 Ts White pepper
While the KFC empire is built upon fried chicken, cole slaw is a signature side.
KFC Copycat Cole Slaw
13 cups chopped cabbage This is about 1 large head of cabbage or 2 medium heads of cabbage
1 green bell pepper (optional, there is no bell pepper in the KFC recipe)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot 1 medium size carrot
2 cups Miracle Whip Light
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
If you are lucky enough to have a food processor, get it out of your cupboard. Start to cut up the cabbage and place it in the processor. While cutting up the cabbage, also cut up small slices of green pepper, onion, and carrot and add to the processor. Mixing up the ingredients this way will help distribute the flavors throughout the slaw. You may want to use a little less of the onion, or green bell pepper, but do use all of the carrot. If you do not have a food processor, no problem, simply chop the cabbage, onions, and carrots into small pieces. Add chopped green bell pepper if desired. Now mix Miracle Whip, vinegar, oil, and sugar until you have a smooth mixture. The taste should be sweet with just a hint of vinegar. The amount of dressing may be increased or decreased according to the amount of slaw you are making. Add to cut up veggies and mix well. Let stand at least one hour to let flavors mix.
When all is said and done, I’m of the studied opinion that foods are a lot more than the sum of their parts. Does KFC copycat cole slaw taste exactly the same if you’re not eating it out of a Styrofoam red-and-white container with the Colonel on it?
You tell me.