Food has always been my love language. I got married March 20th, 2020. In the week prior our well-planned, 100 person wedding became an intimate back porch ceremony with our immediate families, dog, and friends tuning in over zoom. March 22nd, 2020 lockdown began. My spouse is a frontline worker and went back to in-person work within a few weeks. We would be in semi-quarantine for the next two years.
There I was in a new city, with my new husband, in our new apartment, and I was both bored and scared. I’m a busy person. When I imagined my first year married it was filled with mini road trips and evenings out with friends – spending time with family that was now our family. Quickly, my new husband and I realized we do not handle things the same way. I wanted to talk about what our life would look like after lockdown and all the amazing adventures we would have. He wanted to bury his face in a book until it was over. We both tried to engage with the other’s coping style, but it never became natural.
There was not much to say, there was nothing to do, so I cooked. Cooking became my distraction. When people would ask if I was just sitting around all day I would say, ‘Nope. I’m either cooking one meal or prepping for the next one.’ I planned happy hour zooms with friends and made delicious drinks. I added metal shelves to the kitchen to be more ‘cheffy.’ My husband got in on the fun when he got a pizza cookbook and a stone for our oven. He learned how to ferment dough and which canned tomatoes made the best sauce. Food is how we stayed connected.
Food as a connection was not new for me. I have a serious egg allergy but lucky for me I have a mother whose creativity in trying new recipes never made me feel like I missed out. She learned how to make just about everything without eggs. She taught me that food is love.
One of the crowd stopper things I learned to make during quarantine is fried chicken and biscuits. I grew up hearing stories about my great-grandmother who, while being a single mom and working as a NICU nurse, still got up every morning to make her kids homemade buttermilk biscuits. A few recipes consults with my southern grandmother and some time on TikTok is what led to this recipe:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 stick of butter cold and cubed
- 1 cup of buttermilk chilled
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Flour with salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste mixed in
- Neutral, high heat oil (Avocado oil or Crisco)
First, the biscuits. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Incorporate cold butter chunks into the dry mixture and gently mix-in buttermilk. Dump mixture on to clean floured surface and do a series of stacks and folds. Cut with biscuit cutter and bake at 450 f or 230 c until golden on top – about 13 minutes.
As far in advance as possible, marinate chicken thighs in salt and buttermilk. Just enough to get it wet. Then, when ready to cook, heat a skillet and add a high heat oil. Sprinkle a tiny bit of water into the skillet, if it sizzles it’s hot enough. Toss chicken with flour mixture until thoroughly coated. Cook until both sides are golden brown and internal temp is 165f or 75c.
Slice biscuits in half and place chicken in the middle sandwich style. Top chicken with hot honey and serve with a sweet salad. Southerners love a sweet/salty combo. This is a perfect brunch food that goes well with a mimosa.
Victoria (she/her) is currently a student pursuing a graduate degree in counseling. In her free time she enjoys coffee, thrifting, being in the sun, and of course, cooking. She lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her husband and dog.