It was a fried chicken sort of Sunday.
I like to cook on Sundays, and one of the highlights of my week is deciding what to fix for the big meal.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that if picking a Sunday meal is a highlight of my life, perhaps I should try to scrounge up a few bucks and buy a life.
You might have a point.
If there is a meal that says “Sunday,” it’s fried chicken. At least that’s the way it was when I was growing up.
Fried chicken on Sunday was pretty much a middle-class standard when I was a kid. Fried chicken was the Sunday meal of choice when my parents grew up, and it was the Sunday meal of choice when their parents grew up. I’m not sure if the chicken or the egg came first, but I’m pretty sure fried chicken on Sunday came third.
A few years ago, I wrote a column about my dad’s hometown of Fredonia, Kan., and mentioned fried chicken on Sunday. A woman who grew up in Fredonia called me later and said, “When you mentioned fried chicken on Sunday, I knew your dad was from Fredonia.”
Some time ago, I came across a collection of fried chicken recipes online and saved them. On Sunday, I dialed up the recipes and zipped through a few. One called for soaking the chicken in buttermilk for a few hours, and another specified that the chicken be fried in Crisco, and I decided to give both ideas a try.
We didn’t have any buttermilk because ... well ... I always thought buttermilk was disgusting, so I drove to the large, 24-hour retail store in our town. When I got back and poured the buttermilk into a bowl, it didn’t so much pour out as ooze out. I took that as a bad sign.
“Is buttermilk supposed to ooze?” I asked my wife.
“No,” my wife said.
“Then I think I bought some bad buttermilk,” I said.
“Take it back,” my wife said.
The problem was I didn’t want to go back to the store. I think they do that on purpose. They make it so hard to shop there that you think twice about going to the trouble of returning something. Actually, I didn’t even have to think twice. I thought once and decided I wasn’t going back to the large, 24-hour retail store in our town.
Thankfully, my wife remembered that adding lemon juice to regular milk works as a substitute for buttermilk, thus saving me a trip back to the store.
I fixed up the faux buttermilk, poured it over the chicken, put the bowl in the refrigerator, grabbed a beer out of the refrigerator and sat down to watch the St. Louis Cardinals game on TV.
While I was watching the game, my wife was in the backyard planting stuff in her herb garden, and our 15-year-old daughter, Emma, was sitting in our porch swing reading.
“I should stop watching this game and go out and enjoy this beautiful Sunday afternoon with my family,” I told myself.
Myself didn’t say anything for a few seconds and then started laughing. “HAHAHAHA,” myself said to me. “You almost had me for a second.”
When the game ended, it was time to fry the chicken. While I fried it, I put some biscuits in the oven to have with the mashed potatoes and gravy that I also fixed. I suppose you could prepare fried chicken and not fix mashed potatoes and gravy, but I also suppose you could stick a lit cigar up your nose, and I wouldn’t do that either.
All in all, it was a pretty great Sunday. I got to have fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, the Cardinals won, and I had to make only one trip to the large, 24-hour retail store in our town.
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