Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Finger Licking Good

KFC Restaurant
"There's no accounting for taste," goes the old expression, but personally, the Kentucky Colonel's "finger licking good" fried chicken is hard to beat.  In my opinion, it's the best since my Aunt Kathryn's (Charles Mateer's mother)  iron skillet fried Sunday dinner special.

( Sunday dinner, of course, was at 12 noon, right after church.)

As modest as I am, truth dictates that I admit that I am somewhat of a celebrity at my local KFC restaurant.  It's all because I mentioned one time that I knew the white haired, goateed old man in the white suit, pictured on the wall of the restaurant.

Not well, BUT I once spent a couple of hours with him when
Colonel Sanders
he was a guest on the TV show I was hosting.  (I only bragg about all the celebrities I knew to people who don't realize that anyone who ever hosted a local TV or radio show probably interviewed  at least a 100 "stars" whose 

PR people regularly booked them on as many stations as possible.)

The Colonel seemed to me to be a very 
nice, modest man...who had a lot to be 

modest about.  His early life was one of 

ups and downs, mostly downs, until his love of cooking finally paid off.

Prior to that he had held a variety of jobs, selling insurance, working for a steamboat ferry company and eventually took a correspondence course that allowed him to earn a law degree. 

However, he ruined his legal career by getting into a fist fight with his client in the courtroom.

Sanders First Restaurant in Corbin, Ky

Later he opened a restaurant in Corbin Kentucky and found modest success for the first time in his life. 

 But at the time of his 65th birthday the restaurant had ceased being profitable and he had completely used up his savings. 

 He was  dead broke.

Harland Sanders
Sanders used the money from his first social security check to travel by car, often sleeping in it, calling on restaurants to try his special chicken recipe and invest in its success.  He estimated that he called on 1009 restaurants, often cooking samples for the restaurants, before he got his first "yes" response. 

And, the rest is history.


I could also impress the workers at the local "Trader Vics," except for the fact that there is not one anymore close to where I live.

In fact, there are only 4 left in the United States.  But in the 1960's the "Tiki" theme was popular and a self promoter  named Victor Jules Bergeron changed the name and decor of the restaurant he owned in San Francisco, from "Rinky Dinks" to "Trader Vics."  (Rinky Dink was borrowed from he WW1 song, "Rinky Dinky Parley Vous.")

Bergeron told me that until he came along, there was no such
Victor Jules Bergeron
thing as "Polynesian Food."  He said he just made that up. 

He also "invented" himself, falling right in to the persona of a South Pacific trader/pirate.

His wooden leg (lost in a shark attack, he said) fit right in with  his new image with which he was known to entertain customers by sticking an ice pick in it.  Often he would tell people, "Never get one of these...unless you really need it."

I guess that was pretty entertaining after the customers had consumed a couple of Trader Vics other "invention," the Mai Tai.