As a college graduate with a degree in History, you'd think I'd show a little rigor in my research methods. So it is with some degree of chagrin that I admit how often I consult The Wikipedia. Because all of us is dumber than one of us, it we see it on the internet and on the wiki in particular, then we figure it must be true.
However, it has come to my attention that there is a major piece of Nashville culture that has been overlooked by the Wiki World.
There is no entry for "hot chicken." I think we need to dedicate ourselves here to (w)righting that wrong. Who's with me?
Actually, I've never tried to create or edit a Wikipedia entry, so I was kind of hoping that one of you more technologically savvy readers might get this started. History major, remember?
To kick things off, I'll offer up an excerpt from a paean to hot chicken that I wrote several years ago:
A culinary treat unique to middle Tennessee that I love to partake in every couple of months for the same reason Hunter S. Thompson told me he still used acid a few times a year, "just to clear out the pipes."
I won't even speak of the poseur hot chicken spots around town. With me, it begins and ends with Prince's. A plate of Prince's hot chicken rubbed hellishly black with Cayenne cooked in a huge cast iron frying pan full of 10W-40 served on two slices of Wonder Bread can lead to a capsaicin buzz which verges on the hallucinatory.
The first time I ever had it was at Summer Lights many years ago when they were selling wings out of a booth downtown. I was second in line behind an hunched over elderly couple. The smiling proprietor of the booth looked like Raj's mother from "What's Happening." She beamed at the old man and asked, "What'll you have, sweetie?"
"I'd like and order of extra-hot wings."
"Oh naw, baby. You don't want extree-hot. Why don't you try medium," she cooed helpfully.
"No siree, ma'am. I want extra-hot," the man said as he cut his eyes boastfully to his bride of many decades.
"Aw baby, this is the last chance I'm giving ya'."
"Nope, extra-hot is what I ordered and extra-hot is what I want!" he said defiantly.
She served him a red checkered paper basket of molten lava wings with a big smile on her face and watched him walk away as I stepped to the front of the line.
"Crazy motherf*#%er," she muttered softly.
I said, "I'll have one order of medium wings, please."
Even medium was difficult to eat and I made the crucial error of going to the porta-john BEFORE I'd washed my hands. You don't realize that everything down there is glandular until your glans bursts into flame. Fairly warned be ye, says I.
And Prince's will definitely, how shall I say this, burn you twice. A friend of mine had the unfortunate situation of having to ask his girlfriend to drag a box fan into the bathroom and point it at him while he spent hours on the toilet. I never found out which end the fan was pointed at...
Let us know in the comments if you get the Wiki stub started and maybe we'll all make a contribution to the canon of culinary knowledge.