Fried chicken is a nostalgic American meal.
Whenever I bite through the crispy skin into the juicy white meat beneath, I feel a rush back to my childhood, sitting with friends and family and enjoying togetherness.
I don't think I'm the only one who remembers happy family dinners when we have a fried chicken lunch here at the Home. Our residents enjoy eating a KFC dinner every once in a while, probably for the same happy memories that I do. Inevitably, when we host these dinners, someone brings up the fried chicken that their mother or grandmother made and took along to eat at the Fourth of July picnic or packed on a family picnic. Food connects us to our history and to one another. Eating a sentimental meal is almost as good as rereading a journal of our early memories.
There are all sorts of reasons for this, but one is that both the sense of smell and the sense of taste are attached to areas of the brain used for memory and emotional learning. (If you're interested in the technical terms, check it out this article.)
So there you have it. Is America obsessed with fried chicken because it really is delicious or because it recalls us to a simpler, happier time in our lives?
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