Friday, May 14, 2010

Fried Chicken: The Pioneer Woman vs. Thomas Keller

Considering that there are still some people left who wouldn't shy away from the dreaded F word when it comes to preparing chicken, keep in mind that there's a decision to make: Just how much trouble would you want really to go through in order to do it?

There are populist cookbooks that promise basic recipes for basic people. These take shortcuts and try to speed the process. Meanwhile, lots of fancy, big-name chefs write folksy cookbooks for the little guy, too. But it's a very specific sort of little guy they have in mind—the kind willing to toil for days on end just to get food on the table. Which brings us to the ultimate fried chicken "throw down."

Throwing down the gauntlet (or should I say greasy oven mitt) and representing the populists with a shaker of Lawry's seasoned salt, is Ree Drummond, the Oklahoma ranch wife best known for her chatty, open-hearted blog, the Pioneer Woman, in which she documents her daily life frosting cinnamon rolls and herding cattle. Published last fall, Drummond's best-selling book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks offers recipes for easy, family-style comfort food, like pot pie and cobbler.

In the other corner, with his fleur de sel and palette knife, hovers Thomas Keller, the perfectionist founder of hallowed Napa Valley restaurants, including the French Laundry. Keller's best-selling book, Ad Hoc at Home promises recipes for "doable" family-style comfort food, like pot pie and cobbler.

Read more here and see how it all plays out.

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