A once familiar site - Beck standing in front of her stove in her house in Peaceful Valley. Pictured with her is my mother, Jean. Looks like they may have been frying up something for supper, maybe some chicken?
Recently, Aunt Jo gave me the recipe for Beck's fried chicken. I guess you can call it a recipe - there was nothing really special to it although I identified three possible major points. First point, the chicken must be adequately salted. Beck salted her chicken in her sink. She didn't use black pepper to season her chicken unless the chicken was being fried for breakfast, then pepper was added. Otherwise, just salt and nothing else. There was nothing special about the coating - just plain ole flour, any brand will do. Beck saved her empty flour sacks to shake the flour around the chicken pieces, but if not available, she used regular brown paper sacks. Jo said that although Beck used to use lard for frying chicken, later on she just used vegetable oil, any brand, no special kind. Second major point, the oil must be really hot. Beck used a regular cast iron skillet in which to cook her chicken, and the oil was really hot when she added the chicken although it would be turned down shortly thereafter. So obviously having the oil the right temperature is key. Third point, the skillet was covered while the chicken was being fried. And the chicken was turned often, every couple of minutes or so. Check it and turn, check it and turn, recovering the skillet each time. That's it. Beck's fried chicken. I told you there was nothing really special about it. Why is it so hard to duplicate?