Batter, Fry, Repeat
By Melissa Bryant
Fried chicken — it’s crispy, greasy and the favorite dish of Food Network South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals founder, Lee Brian Schrager. Some see it as lowly fare, but for Schrager fried chicken harkens back to his childhood when he acquired an appetite for everything culinary. After a little bit of coaxing, the food guru compiled his second cookbook, Fried & True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides, with recipes written by well-known friends and unsung chefs from around the country.
In the Kitchen with Mrs. C
“My earliest memory of cooking dates back to when my parents would take their summer vacation without us kids. We had this older Italian woman who came to stay with us. Her name was Ms. Catanzaro,” Schrager reminisced. “When my parents left, she would prepare these incredible Italian meals for my siblings and me. My first love for breads, yeast, flour, pizza and gnocchi came from her. So every summer I learned to cook from Ms. C.”
Schrager’s newfound passion led him on a steady climb up the culinary ladder. “I’ve only done food my whole life. From bagging take-out in a local Chinese restaurant to working the graveyard shift in a hospital cafeteria, it’s always been about food for me,” said Schrager.
Fried chicken is delicious, comforting and satisfying. It has an ability evoke precious childhood memories and unite individuals across political, religious and racial lines, which is at the heart of Fried & True.
“Some of the recipes come from big fancy chefs but the majority of them are from local mom and pop places,” said Schrager. “I met with these amazing cooks and just sat down and talked to them. They opened up and shared their stories with me. Everyone loves to share something that’s special to them and fried chicken recipes are very personal. People love to share a personal story.”
Fried & True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides is sold by Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Amazon.com, Google Books, iBookstore and IndieBound.