My friend Adam lives in New Orleans, and he constantly posts on Facebook about the amazing food in that fine city–not only making me jealous, but insanely hungry.
Unfortunately, I have no plans to visit Louisiana anytime soon so I hatched a scheme to have some New Orleans food travel to me.
My friend Katherine was going to New Orleans on a business trip. She also happened to have plans to have dinner with Adam, who is our mutual friend.
I then made two simple requests. I asked Adam to buy me some fried chicken from the legendary Willie Mae’s Scotch House, and I asked Katherine if she would bring it back to Seattle for me.
Why fried chicken? It’s my husband’s absolute favorite food, and I wanted to give him an amazing surprise. I’m not going to lie–after seeing Willie Mae’s featured on countless food shows, I wanted to try the chicken too!
Adam bought the chicken on a Wednesday, he and Katherine had dinner Thursday, and then Katherine was scheduled to fly back to Seattle Friday morning.
There was just one problem.
Katherine’s flight was delayed–not by a matter of minutes, but by several hours. She had put the chicken inside her suitcase, which sat in the plane’s cargo hold. And the plane sat under the sweltering Louisiana sun.
Katherine sent me an apologetic text saying that the chicken was probably going to be spoiled. I wanted to see it for myself and asked her not to throw it out when she got home. Because she is a good friend, Katherine unpacked the chicken, smelled it, deemed it okay and threw it in her freezer.
It seemed impossible to coordinate our schedules so that I could get the chicken. Nine days after the New Orleans chicken had arrived in Seattle, I finally picked it up. At this point, I gave up on surprising my husband and told him the entire chicken saga.
We discussed at length whether or not we should eat the chicken. My husband was against it, and I was solidly in favor of it.
I said that if the chicken was going to give us food poisoning, it would probably do so instantaneously. So we should at least try it so that we knew how Willie Mae’s chicken tasted. It would be shame to not eat the chicken after it had travelled so far.
I was able to convince my husband so we took it out of the freezer bag, carefully examined it, gave it the sniff test and then reheated it in a 400 degree oven. I figured such a high temperature would kill anything nasty and keep the chicken crispy.
I took the chicken out of the oven, and I had very low expectations about how it would taste. I thought it would be terrible.
I was wrong.
Incredibly, the fried chicken was moist, flavorful and it still had plenty of crunch. Willie Mae’s fried chicken is definitely unlike any other fried chicken I’ve eaten. It was spicy but in a way I’m sure that is unique to New Orleans.
After my husband saw that I didn’t have any food poisoning symptoms and that I actually seemed to be enjoying the chicken, he ventured a bite and was pleasantly surprised as well.
If Willie Mae’s chicken tasted good after sitting in a suitcase for several hours, flying cross country and having been frozen, I can only imagine what it’s like when it’s fresh!