Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

Chicken Tales


When Mom and Dad were first married (they were 18 and 19, respectively) they lived in the Basin near Old Ford. Dad went to school at the University of Tulsa. Mama stayed home (sometimes) and one day decided to fix Dad fried chicken for supper.

Now Mom had learned to cook at her mother’s knee, and could fry up some great tasting chicken. The only trouble was, she didn’t have an ax to kill the fowl.

So what did she do? What any self-respecting born-during-the-depression Okie would do. She rung that bird’s neck.

When Dad got home from school, she had fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy on the table.

How many eighteen-year-olds do you know who could do that?

I don’t pretend to know what all has to happen to take a chicken from the hen-house and get her on the table, but I know it has to do with giblet, innards and feather removal. Ick.

I can cut up a chicken (surprised to my MIL when G-Man and I were first married) and I have a wishbone piece! But I’m not sure how you get to the inside stuff you have to throw out.

To be honest, Mom, Grandma, Grandmother and Aunt Phyllis were all fantastic chicken fryers. Mom gave Phyllis the kudos for being the very best. I’m not sure if that was because her chicken was any better or if she did it to get Phyllis to fry the chicken most of the time. 🙂 Whatever it was, we were ALL glad she did.

A long time ago, Phyllis told me how to make the World’s Best Fried Chicken. Now I do it every 4th of July.

Want to give it a try? (You don’t have to wait for Independence Day.) Click here! PHYLLIS’S FRIED CHICKEN.

BTW: Have you butchered your own chickens? Tell me about it.

PS: #4–Still need a Father’s Day gift? How about this?


 Pretty cute, huh? 🙂

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

8 thoughts on “Chicken Tales

  1. Susan, I know how to cut up a chicken, fry a chicken, and pluck a chicken BUT I have never wrung a chicken’s neck or chopped the head off–thankfully I have never been that hungry. I remember watching my Grandmother kill the chickens and then I would help her pluck the feathers. Grandma Shoemaker is probably the one who taught me how to cut up a chicken to fry.
    When we were kids, Daddy got some baby chicks for us to raise. The “cute” stage when they are tiny with yellow fuzz didn’t last long. Needless to say, I didn’t get so attached to any of them that I refused to eat our Sunday dinner of fried chicken!

    Phyllis’ chicken was really good as was our Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Cousins, etc.! We are blessed to come from a long line of good cooks on both sides of our families.

    • That’s another chicken tale, isn’t it, Dannel Boy?
      Can you make fried chicken?

    • I wonder how many of us would still fix fried chicken if we had to go through this time-consuming ordeal of killing, cleaning & cooking? Me–I’m just alll about the eating fried chicken. Thanks for sharing this article!

  2. Didn’t have Phyllis’ fried chicken, but, she must have told me to shake it in the bag. B/c I started doing that along about that time. Chili was what was always requested by us. She was nice enough to make it for us & Edna Cramer would bring dilly bread.

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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