By Karl Terry: FNM columnist
Ever get a song stuck in your head with no hope of shaking it?
Lately for me it’s been the Zac Brown Band’s song “Chicken Fried.”
You can’t miss the tune if you listen to a country music station longer than 15 minutes these days.
“You know I like my chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up”
I really thought they were probably talking about chicken fried steak. I wanted them to be talking about chicken fried steak but after looking up the lyrics, Mr. Brown just might be talking deep-fried poultry here.
The song was really starting to talk to me. I wasn’t craving cold beer on a Friday night but I was getting pretty desperate for a chicken fried steak so I had one at lunch one day last week at a new joint. I’m not going to give ‘em a free plug today. I don’t want the place to be overrun. But ask me and I’ll give you directions.
I do love a well-served chicken fried steak. You can tell by looking at me. For some people comfort food is maybe macaroni and cheese but for me it’s chicken fried steak. If I had to choose three meals to eat the rest of my life they would be chicken fried steak, enchiladas and pizza. If I had to choose one it would be CFS.
I once worked with a guy, Lynn, in Colorado who shared my passion for chicken fried steak. The only place to get it halfway right near where we lived was the Red Rock Diner. Bob treated his steak well but he also had vegetarian fare on the menu. To me a perfect chicken fried steak could never come from such a place.
Lynn and I had both eaten most of our chicken fried steaks in smoke-filled cafes, served by brassy waitresses on a heavy blue plate. The crust, or scab as my dad called it, just right, not too thick, not too thin, swimming in cream gravy with either fresh-cut fried potatoes or mashed potatoes on the side.
Lynn fancied himself a hard-core hippy freak but couldn’t quite pull it off. As soon as he opened his mouth the Oklahoma twang flowed out straight from his nasal passages and you immediately labeled him “Okie.”
One year on a road trip back to visit Mom in Oklahoma City, Lynn vowed to eat nothing but chicken fried steak along the way in search of that perfect chicken fried steak. Recently, Zac Brown’s song had me thinking about a road trip where I ate nothing but chicken fried steak — that is until I began to question the lyrics.
I ate a lot of fried chicken growing up so I guess maybe it would be all right if that’s what the song’s lyrics were talking about. I don’t think I could eat nothing but fried chicken for the rest of my life though and I’m certainly not going to design a road trip around stopping at every KFC in the state.
Come to think of it, if I eat too much fried chicken or chicken fried steak there’s no way those jeans are ever going to “fit just right.”