Today is “CHICKEN FRIED STEAK DAY.” What a shame it falls on a Sunday this year. That just interferes with traditional football fare (wings, chili, chips, dip). I was not born in Texas. So, when I first heard of this somewhat Southern, with a heavy leaning toward Texan dish, it was completely foreign to me. I could never master the cooking of it, because I was not exactly sure how it was supposed to taste.
Still, I thought it was “just me.” Then, a few years ago, the mystery shopping company for which I used to work acquired some GRANDY’s franchises in northern Indiana. When attempting to schedule these shops to our mystery shoppers, I was often asked, “What the heck is chicken fried steak?” Only then did I realize I was not alone. Shoppers wanted to know: “Is it chicken? Or is it steak?”
Clearly, they were asking this born-in-Syracuse-came-to-Texas-by-way-of-Kentucky woman a question I was not qualified to answer. Yet, I attempted: “I believe it is a ground beef patty breaded and fried like chicken.” The most common response to that was: “Why?” It was as if these mid-westerners were demanding a more definite decision. Do you want a hamburger? Or do you want fried chicken? Because I completely understood their position, I was left with only one defense: “It could be considered the best of both worlds (beef meets chicken – except with no chicken), and the gravy is really good.” Besides, when smothered in all that gravy, the type of meat becomes more of a moot than a meat point.
To this day, I stand by that conclusion/opinion about this very popular, albeit region-centric delicacy.
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