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Kurt Michael Friese Pwns KFC

November 3, 2008

By David Thier

KFC should have listened to the old adage: “Don’t claim that nobody can make your fried chicken meal for under ten dollars unless your absolutely sure that they can’t.”

The chicken giant has been throwing down the gauntlet all across the country in a feeble attempt to slap in the face the claims that eating in is more expensive than having inept chefs prepare bland chicken with biscuits and gravy and put in in a bucket for you.

It makes you wonder how deep they were into the gravy at the point they decided to make that claim, because they were dead wrong. It didn’t take a celebrity chef to prove that, but luckily, we had one available.

A KFC ten dollar meal consists of seven pieces of chicken (breasts are cut in half, so one whole chicken actually contains ten pieces), biscuits and gravy. Using not top-of the line but not Wal Mart-quality ingredients, Kurt Michael Friese was able to make the whole meal at $7.94. Using top-of-the line organics, he was able to make it for $10.62, just 4 cents higher than a KFC meal with a 58 cent Iowa state sales tax.

The one big difference in Friese’s Recipe and KFC’s? Time. KFC was making an attempt to capitalize on a struggling economy by emphasizing how cheap their products were, but really, they’re only cheap compared to other things that people make for you. Stripping away all of the costs associated with running a restaurant will always make it cheaper to cook at home, and having a degree of responsibility for the ingredients and processes you use. Yes making a home cooked meal brings the family together, yes cooking is an act of pleasure and love, yes connecting to your food essentially connects you to your body, heart and soul. But considering the recession, let’s just pick one reason for why this is important: it’s cheaper.

Here’s a basic video of a charming man named Dave showing how to fry chicken, and then Kurt’s recipes, all out of 1985 The Joy of Cooking:

Pan-Fried Chicken (pg. 424)

1 young chicken, cut into 10 pieces (cut breasts in half)
8 ounces flour (seasoned with salt and white pepper, or the seven secret spices if you know them)
8 ounces lard, butter, or grapeseed oil (or a mix)


Heat the fat in a large frying pan until fragrant. Meanwhile dredge the chicken pieces in flour, then place in pan. Brown lightly, then turn and brown other side. Turn down heat to medium-low and continue cooking, 35-40 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through. Serve immediately.

Poultry Pan Gravy (pg. 341)

1/4 cup fat from frying pan
1/4 cup flour left from dredging
Chopped giblets from the bird, if you like
Enough boiling water from the mashed potatoes to make 2 cups (or boiling stock, if you have it made already)
Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a new pan over medium-high heat and add flour to make a roux (a thickener made of equal parts flour and fat). Cook, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes. Add giblets and boiling water or stock. Simmer 15 minutes. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Mashed Potatoes (pg. 318)
This recipe says it serves 6, but I figured 4, since everybody wants more potatoes.

2 pounds russet potatoes (peeled or unpeeled and scrubbed, as you prefer), cut up
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot milk

Boil the potatoes in 4 cups of water until tender (about 20 minutes). Strain and reserve water for gravy if desired, and mash potatoes to desired texture with remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve immediately.

Buttermilk Biscuits (pg. 634)
Yield: 24 1.5-inch biscuits

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup lard or 5 tablespoons butter (cold, diced)
3/4 cup buttermilk


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Sift together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter or lard. Stir in the buttermilk until just incorporated, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 30 seconds. Pat down to 1/4 of an inch thick, then cut with biscuit cutter.
Bake on sheet pan 10-12 minutes.

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