There are few 'true' guilty pleasures in the world of food if you really think about it. And no, pizzas, burgers and doughnuts are not one of those, but fried chicken is.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Shouldn't desserts be the hands-down winners when it comes to guilty pleasures? True, but no one in their right minds would make a habit of indulgent desserts unless they are specifically suicidal. But fried chicken is an innocent and silent killer that springs the guilt on you only at the right moment! Let's dissect this a bit.
Off the top of my head, it's fried! So based on how religious you are with the paper dabbing and oil draining, this dish can be mildly unhealthy to borderline criminal. In addition, fried chicken is a food item that feels amazing until it doesn't. You cross a certain threshold, and then the fuzzy feeling quickly transforms into a queasy one.
But recently, when I was ordering in some fried chicken, I gave this some thought. Why is it that I can't ever eat just one piece? Something about fried chicken makes it imperative to have at least two or more pieces at one go. The way I understand is that the first piece is like dipping your toes in warm water, just a tester. That's when the resounding crunch of the batter, juices from the meat and the wafting aroma of fried batter and oil overwhelm you.
The second piece is really where the magic happens. You begin tasting the different spices that impregnate the batter. You start feeling the textural differences in the various parts of the chicken. It is also the stage where the hunger drive kicks in, and you know in your heart whether this is going to be a four-piece meal or more!
While there is no logical answer to 'how many pieces of fried chicken can one eat?', in my opinion, three is the magical number. Any less than three, and your soul remains unsatisfied. You may satisfy your hunger, but your heart will still crave for more. That third piece ensures that you put this matter to rest until the next time you walk past a fried chicken joint, but hogging on any more than three is a risky call. If the pieces are big, they can pile on, and we are essentially arriving at queaseville! Hence, my general rule of thumb for a three-piece is one breast, two legs. The only case where I'll agree to add a fourth is if it's a wing.
But even if you ignore the base factors, there are a few more that determine my propensity to be manic. Just like the start of any conversation, the weather is the initial trigger for fixating on a number for fried chicken. Cold weather generally warrants some indulgence, as do some good rain showers.
There are other logistical concerns like the batter and the spice levels as well. Beer batter tends to be lighter and crunchier, but a buttermilk batter does add a bit of heft to the chicken. If the spice is as hot as Nashville-style chicken, more than a couple of pieces is simply out of the question!
Usually, accompaniments also are critical for driving up the consumption of chicken. If you have the right dip and relish that can cut through the fatty chicken, the count of pieces can climb steadily happen. The same goes for a refreshing drink that can wash some of the chicken down without filling you up. A good IPA, perhaps? Just kidding, I like IPA with anything. 😂
There are 'n' other reasons to eat more or less fried chicken, as is the case with any other yummy, guilty food. But the most crucial point while hogging on fried chicken is simple - when was the last time you had it?
Because if the answer to that question is 'more than a month ago', then a bucket of chicken it is! 😂
Unless Swiggy is running a discount on a bucket of six; so then you make up your mind, irrespective of all the crap I mentioned anyway! 🤷🏻♂️