Sunday mornings in Binghamton I used to go to Theo’s Southern Style Cuisine, a hole-in-the-wall joint that specialized in fried chicken that would save your goddamn soul. They did a buffet on Sundays; mashed potatoes so buttery and smooth you could suck them through a curly straw, cobbler made of peaches and dreams, grits in a cauldron and the fried chicken, oh, the fried chicken! Battered with magic, deep-fried in miracles…when Theo’s closed, it was like a piece of my soul had been ripped out.
But the lesson Theo’s taught me was this: Chicken Breakfast.
Chicken Breakfast isn’t just “oh, I have some leftover KFC, guess I’ll put it on a plate at 10 in the morning,” what are you. some kind of monster? Chicken Breakfast is an EXPERIENCE, it’s a STATE OF MIND. You have to give yourself over to Chicken Breakfast and let the spirit of Chicken Breakfast take over your soul.
First, you find the best fried chicken you can. Maybe this is Kennedy Fried Chicken, maybe it’s Mark Bittman’s recipe, heck, maybe it’s from the grocery store. It will never be Theo’s, so just give up on ever knowing what perfection tastes like. Buy the best of What Will Do and throw it in the oven and warm it up. Chicken Breakfast must be served warm.
Next, you’re going to need mashed potatoes. They must be velvety, creamy and have enough butter to choke Paula Deen.
You can have grits, but if you’re like me and don’t especially love them, cornbread is a great alternative. My husband likes his with strawberry jam. It is breakfast, after all.
Peach Cobbler is not eaten as a separate piece, like dessert, but rather, on the plate with everything else. The fruit is what makes it extra breakfast-y.
10:15 is the ideal time for Chicken Breakfast. Put it all on a chicken plate. If you don’t have a chicken plate, go get one. Mine are gingham-print and they’re from the now-defunct Building 19 in Dedham, Mass. Worth the whole 75 cents I paid for them.
Tuck in. Savor. Enjoy your new-found bliss.