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February 23, 2018 American Studies | College of Arts and Humanities

Psyche Williams-Forson weighs in on the complex history of fried chicken.

Chris Fuhrmeister | Eater

"The “fried chicken” episode of Ugly Delicious is heavy and uncomfortable and spends nearly an hour addressing subject matter that is often glossed over by chefs and diners who don’t want to experience heavy and uncomfortable moments. Fried chicken is a universal food. Different versions have come out of different cultures around the world. In America, unfortunately, it’s also a food tied to racist stereotypes that can be traced back to enslaved Africans cooking the dish for their captors.

"Host and Momofuku chef-restaurateur David Chang takes a look at Nashville hot chicken, a dish that was once available at only a couple of black-owned restaurants in the Music City but is now one of the most popular dishes in modern food culture thanks, in part, to a growing chain owned by a white family. He meets with Edouardo Jordan, a black chef in Seattle who steered clear of fried chicken for years because of its connotations; Jordan now operates a traditional Southern dining room that is one of the best restaurants in the country. All the while, Chang, with the help of food writer and historian Lolis Eric Elie, tries to figure out how fried chicken became an epithet of sorts and what can be done to evolve beyond that thinking."

Read the complete episode review on Eater and watch episode 6, "Fried Chicken," on Netflix. Photo: David Chang and Psyche Williams-Forson in "Ugly Delicious," 2018 (via Netflix)