Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Having Fun with the Trivia of Life

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Having Fun with the Trivia of Life

Article excerpt

I am fascinated with the trivia of life. That's the "why" of things we do every day, without thinking about them, that have interesting and surprising origins.

Fried chicken is a good example of my trivia of life.

All over the world, mention the South and food, and fried chicken is about the first thing that folks will mention.

Surprisingly to me, fried chicken did not originate in the South -- nor even in this country.

James Boswell, from the Lowlands of Scotland, and his friend, England's Samuel Johnston, enjoyed roast and broiled chicken in Edinburgh and London; but not until the two reached the Isle of Skye in Scotland had they ever tasted "fried fowl," as prepared by Mrs. Lachlan MacKinnon of Corry, near Broadford on that beautiful island.

It was 1773 when Boswell and Johnston visited Scotland.

Less than 10 months later, the MacKinnons were hoping to join the hundreds of Skye people who were leaving for North Carolina. They planned to accompany the famous Flora Macdonald and Flora's husband, Allan MacDonald, to the New World. It happened that Mrs. MacKinnon was Allan's sister.

When they left Scotland, they brought their recipes with them.

It's also interesting to note that our famous and wonderful Southern biscuits are simply the scones of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Sometimes you can get a good idea of your ethnic background by the simplest of things.

Continuing the "chicken theme" of the beginning of this column, I ask you, "How many pieces of chicken do you end up with when you cut up a chicken?"

If you cut your chicken into 12 pieces before frying, it's a good bet that your family is from the Highlands of Scotland.

Lowlanders joint their chickens into only eight pieces.

What did you call your father? If you called him "Daddy," you're probably of Scottish ancestry. If you called him "Papa," you're most likely of French family, and if you called him "Father," you are most likely from England or Germany.

See? The trivia of life is fun! …

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