They've become as integral a part of watching football as beer and potato chips. On Super Bowl Sunday we are going to stuff ourselves with chicken wings.
In the 24 hours that make up Super Bowl Sunday, it's estimated that Americans will consume 1.25 billion succulent Buffalo chicken wings. That's 100 million pounds of wings, equivalent to 15 Space Needles or 100 Tyrannosaurus Rexes. All in one day.
Not bad for a dish that came out of nowhere. In the 1960's the chicken wing was thrown away, or used to flavor stock.
The current owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo told The Travel Channel the magic moment happened in his bar, 50 years ago, with Teressa Bellissimo's improvisation.
"One night back in the 60's Teressa was struck with culinary inspiration. She deep fried a batch of chicken wings, tossed them in sauce and served them to her son and his hungry friends," says the Travel Channel report.
Now they're everywhere.
Wherein lies terrible peril my friends, which could lead to the damnation of your culinary soul.
First there are "wings" you get from pizza places: slimy, baked in a pizza oven, splattered with weak sauce. I don't care what the special offer is, these are an abomination.
The biggest danger out there are those who would tell you to turn your back on deep fried righteousness. Popping those wings in the oven at 375 degrees?
The wing skin ends up with that dry oven texture and the meat's moisture leaks away. They're weak and unworthy of the name "Buffalo wing."
When Slate.com put out a piece this week extolling the "oven" method for wings, I snapped.
I worked in a wings joint for two years, under a guy who learned his wings in Buffalo. I've made thousands of wings, maybe not 1.25 billion, but a lot. And I know the one and true path.
Deep fried, Frank's Durkee Sauce, cut with butter.
As the great Vince Lombardi, whose trophy will be ours, meant to say, "Deep frying isn't everything. It's the only thing."