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A lot of hoopla has been made over NBC’s decision to celebrate Black History Month with fried chicken and collard greens on their lunch menu. Do you know how black people became associated with the food?

Fried foods date back to ancient cultures in Europe, Asia, and even North America. In medieval times, fried chicken was already being eaten in western Europe.  Scottish immigrants to the United States are often credited with being the ones to introduce fried chicken to the country where as most other European immigrants to the country ate baked chicken.

Many of these Scottish immigrants settled in the southern United States where fried chicken became extremely popular.  When African slaves who worked as cooks were brought to the country, they put their own spin on the dish using seasonings and spices not found in most Scottish dishes.

Most slaves weren’t able to raise more expensive meats, and were allowed to have chickens, so frying chickens became a common occurrence on special occasions throughout black communities in the south.

In the 19th and 20th century, foods like fried chicken, chitlins, and watermelon became considered stereotypes, no thanks in part to minstrel shows, and restaurants like Sambo’s and Coon Chicken Inn.

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