Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Fried Chicken 4th

It’s nearly Independence Day, already! They’re even doing 4th of July weather reports, so we know it’ll be here in a matter of days. How’d that happen?

That means it’s time to buy a few chickens and haul out the cast iron skillets. Why? you ask. Because, in the Shay household, 4th of July means FRIED CHICKEN!

mom's chicken pan

(Hooray!!!)

I put flour, salt, pepper and a little garlic powder in a bag (paper or plastic) and shake my chicken up in it (a few pieces at a time) then fry the pieces in canola oil. With the heat on about medium, I cook the chicken with a lid on for a few minutes on each side, then take the lid off and turn the heat up a little to give the chicken a good color and great crunch. I’m not the best chicken fryer in the world (can’t be, since I only practice my magic one time a year) but nobody complains while they’re chowing down. LOL.

I’m not sure when it started, but sometime in the distant past, I started frying chicken one day a year. Only on the 4th of July. One of the first Fried Chicken Fourths I remember, the kids were all fairly small. (grade school/middle school age.) I fried up a few chickens and we loaded up and went to Oklahoma City. We found Thunderbird Park, which had old military equipment (tanks, jeeps, helicopters, planes) for the kids to play on, and some picnic tables, and had our lunch.

okc imagesO1XZL3TY

There was a military museum nearby, the 45th Infantry Museum, and since our family never saw a museum we didn’t love–at least that’s what our kids thought– we had to check it out!

OKC imagesHGIILUOM

Since G-Man’s dad was in WWII, our boys had a great time.

okc imagesYW0MT0Z9This is not a picture of Gary’s dad. LOL.

Finally, after our fried chicken and a stroll through history lesson, we all went to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden.

the-oklahoma-city-zoo-coupons

Since we had three little boys in tow, you can probably guess how much time we spent in the Botanical Gardens. LOL. But we had a great time at the zoo. Especially when we found the Tiger Cage. (C-Town and Pryor Creek Tigers! Yay!!!)

oklahoma-city-zoo

I have some great memories tangled up with our fried chicken. Times when Mom and Dad came up for chicken, and afterward we parked on the Salina Bridge to see the fireworks, and times when we took our Party Barge out on the lake for tubing and chicken. I’m SO looking forward to grandchildren and the fun time we’ll have with them eating my fried chicken on the 4th! (And possibly any time they want it.)

Loving the Fried Chicken 4th!

Do you have any traditions you practice on the 4th that you can share? We might want to add them to our chicken. 😀

 

 

 

 

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A Fried Chicken Fourth

Can you believe summer’s already a third gone? (Thank heaven!) Today’s July 1. (I checked my calendar.) It’s 4th of July this next Wednesday.

4th OF JULY. I love the idea of a day off in the middle of the week, but it’s not really a day off. We have a family tradition that I can’t escape. (Not that I want to.)

I fry chicken every year on the 4th. It’s good stuff if I do say so myself. (Aunt Phyllis, Mama and Grandmother all taught me how.) Here’s how.

Years ago, when the boys were all still small, we decided to go to OKC for the 4th and take a picnic, so I fried chicken. We went to a military park near the OKC Zoo. The kids had a great time, running around, playing army and getting in and out of the equipment.

I loved it. My kids couldn’t tear up military equipment, so I didn’t have to stay right on top of them. 😛 With three rambunctious boys, that’s a blessing!

After lunch, we visited the 45th Infantry Division Museum. G-Man loved it, I kind of enjoyed it, and the boys were bored. Remember I said we had rambunctious boys? We didn’t stay long.

The zoo was great, though. Zoo’s are built for buffalo and elephants, so kids can’t hurt them too much. All we had to worry about was the boys getting lost or climbing into cages. Thankfully, they didn’t.

Unless I have zoo confusion, they had a great aquatic show with dolphins. We loved it!

This 4th, I’ll be frying chicken again. I dream of S’mores every year, but don’t get around to preparing for it. Maybe Mama’s Icecream. 🙂 Here’s the link to the best homemade icecream recipe in my world. (Any flavor you want as long as it’s vanilla.)

Most of my kiddos will be here, which is the best part of that holiday for me now that they’re all grown up and I don’t have to worry about where they are and what they’re doing every second. With all the wives here to help, the holiday has become a joy!

And if I’m really lucky, we’ll have fireworks.

How do you celebrate our country’s independence?


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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?

or

 Pretty cute, huh? 🙂


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A Holiday with a Bang

Did you have a great 4th?

I took this! I forget who set it off, but isn’t it pretty? 🙂

We did. And today I’m exhausted. But it’s good exhausted. I cooked and cleaned in the morning, and fried chicken all afternoon with Nikki–DIL2b. After dinner, which concluded with cake and homemade ice cream (yum!!!) we had fireworks. I didn’t even have to beg this year.

This is #1. Loves the firework thing.

I thought I’d share a few of my pics from last night with you. I’m not a great photographer, but it was so much fun I wanted to share.

Here you go–

 I think I can safely say, sparklers were the favorite firework of the night. Looks like a bonfire, but it’s just a lot of sparklers.

These things were huge and made a neon colored light.

Circles. Make circles!

Love it when the kids take directions.

Cool, huh?

This next one is one of my favorites.

Don’t you love the way Nicole (also a DIL2b) makes the sparks look like a shower?

As the darkness grew, we started seeing what #1 called flying saucers. Aliens. I started  believing him until BB said they were flying laterns and everyone had seen them in a movie called The Hangover. (I must have slept through that one.)

It’s a big paper bag with a net thing inside that you light.

This was so exciting because we live in a neighborhood on the lake. And the wind was blowing.

What I really enjoyed was watching them all work together. You don’t often see people working together without a hitch. But they did. It was beautiful as they let it go. I had the hose nearby, just in case the breeze caused it to dip onto the house next door.

The bag didn’t catch on fire. It didn’t fly into our neighbor’s house. Instead, it flew out across the lake. G-Man watched it with his binoculars for as long as it was in sight.

It lifted off and headed toward heaven. I wonder how high those things really can go?

So . . . did you have a great holiday? Fried chicken or hot dogs? Lake or stay at home? I just loving knowing how other people spend their holidays.