My grandmother Cullen (nee Helen Clifford) was born in Kentucky in 1899. She was one of eight children. Her mother knew how to fry chicken, and she taught little Helen everything she needed to know about chicken, flour, hot grease and a good iron skillet.
My wife was one of six children — the youngest of five girls — and she continues the tradition, using the same massive black skillet that my great-grandmother and grandmother used. It was cast by my great-grandfather Clifford when he was an apprentice in a Louisville foundry in the 1880s.
I got some nice presents for Father’s Day, but the fried chicken dinner was my favorite. I can still hear the hot grease popping when the chicken hit it. I still can smell the scent of the sizzling chicken. I can see the beautiful, crunchy, golden brown skin, cooked to a turn. I can feel the steam rising as my teeth sunk into the tender white meat.
It was heaven. Perfection on a plate. Mark Twain knew all about it.
Danville native Kevin Cullen is a former Commercial-News reporter. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.