Was KFC recipe really stolen from a Black woman?

December 12, 2019 at 04:00 pm | History, Opinions & Features

Theodora Aidoo

Theodora Aidoo | Staff Writer

December 12, 2019 at 04:00 pm | History, Opinions & Features

Pic Credit: blackhistory.com/

There are quite a few accusations of white entrepreneurs and chefs allegedly taking recipes from African Americans in time past without giving them the due credit.

One of such cases is the fact that the inventor of the Jack Daniel’s recipe was a former slave.

There is also a widespread claim that Colonel Harland David Sanders’ original Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe was stolen from a black woman named Miss Childress. And that claim has been lingering for long.

While others say the recipe theft is true, attributing it to the inability of blacks to properly document their culinary practices and recipes largely because they were denied the right to learn to read and write, others believe there is no factual evidence backing the allegation.

The blend of herbs and spices used to season the KFC chicken has been attributed to Miss Childress’ recipe. According to reports, in the 1950s, America’s best-tasting fried chicken, cornbread, greens, and other popular dishes were traditionally prepared and cooked by Black women who were mostly maids, hence the reason many people cannot believe that White people were mastering in these types of cuisines.

Image result for KFC chicken
Pic Credit: bbc.com

One of those backing the claim is the African Diaspora which wrote on its Facebook page: “Meet Mrs. Childress. Colonel Sanders Stole His Famous Fried Chicken Recipe From A Black Woman Named Mrs. Childress. He later paid her $1,200 for her recipe. KFC is worth 15 Billion Dollars today.”

Also, a book by Joshua Ozersky titled Colonel Sanders and the American Dream, which many have quoted and alleged to ascertain the recipe controversy has it that Colonel Sanders “tried to create an alternative reality in which the white planter not only ate the chicken but implicitly made it.”

However, this is not enough proof that Sanders stole Childress’ recipe since no profound evidence has emerged yet.

Ozersky continued that in 1966 Colonel Sanders patented his pressure cooker process and he reportedly said that the method he had come up with allowed cooks in his restaurants to create “accurately controlled conditions of temperature, pressure, time, sizes of serving pieces, and the amount and composition of breading used” to create chicken that had a superior taste with great texture.”

Maybe, just maybe, Sanders decided to attribute the success of KFC to a pressure cooker instead of a Black woman, Childress.

Does this end the debate? No!

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