I have a confession to make: while I’m completely and utterly mad about trying new things and indulging myself in the finer treats the culinary world can offer, I can be most plebian about my comfort foods.
Case in point: KFC.
You read that right: greasy as heck, certainly bad for you, but nevertheless oh-so-good-tasting Kentucky Fried Chicken is one of the most non-negotiable comfort foods in my life. On those days when I’m dangerously close to burning out and my fatigue is beginning to get the better of me, I admit that I’ll step into the nearest KFC branch on my way home and order (shudders!) a two-piece chicken meal with coleslaw and an orange soda.
And the chicken has to be the Colonel’s Original Recipe and dark meat only; ergo, only drumsticks and thighs can help ease my pain. (Breasts and wings – “healthier” though these may be – leave me bored, dissatisfied, and cranky at the end of the meal.) In a pinch, though, I’ll have a mix and match – one Original and one Hot and Crispy – if a part of choice isn’t available with the original 11 secret herbs and spices.
And there should be gravy – spot on serious lashings of the stuff. If it weren’t an injustice to the other diners, I’d hijack a thermos of gravy from the refilling stand and keep it within close reach for the duration of the meal. But, of course, I still have better manners than that.
However, on days when I crave seriously comforting sustenance but have to dash from point A to point B, a two-piece meal – even a one-piece meal as the fowl is still on the bone – will take too long to eat. On those days, I can put a slight Oriental twist to my meal with a Chinese Imperial Supreme Bowl.
To describe this dish is to say this: it’s a deep-fried chicken thigh fillet on rice. Over it goes a spicy-sweet, rather garlicky sauce reminiscent of old-school Kung Pao [Gong Bao] chicken. There’s fried eggplant, too, which is another of my comfort foods. Finicky types will shy away from fried eggplant, but if you’re not eating that, slap it on my bowl, please.
Okay, so it’s not haute cuisine; heck, it isn’t even classic Chinese food. But it’s good, filling, and reasonably priced. Not quite a two-piece meal, but it hits the spot when I need it the most.
(But all this talk of KFC chicken has, alas, awakened some serious cravings! Oh, dear…)