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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Scottish

White or Dark Meat

It’s National Fried Chicken Day. Who doesn’t like fried chicken? I always thought this dish was a southern “invention” but according to the National Day of Calendar, it was introduced to the southern part of the U. S. by Scottish immigrants. I sure would have gotten that question wrong were I playing Jeopardy.

I have to admit I have never made fresh, coat it yourself, fried chicken. I guess it’s because I’ve never been around someone that knew how to do it the right way and come out with a juicy inside, crisp outside, piece of cooked meat. I have used some Shake-n-Bake in my day, but found it too salty for my taste. About once a year I get a hankering for Kentucky Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, cole slaw and a roll. Once a year is enough because the amount of salt in the coating outweighs the taste of the chicken.

When I was a kid, my mother believed in fresh food, but occasionally she would let me have a Swanson TV dinner. I always picked the fried chicken. There’s just something about picking up a chicken leg to eat that satisfies the primal. Of course a napkin at hand was a necessity.

These days I do eat a fair amount of deep fried chicken in the form of Buffalo Wings. They originated in Buffalo, NY. Every once in a while the group I am with will have a good laugh about being expected to eat the chicken wing when we were young. It was considered the least important part of the chicken back then. Now, it is fried, slathered in hot sauce and people order them on purpose, ten or twelve at a time. In fact, I have some leftovers in the fridge from the last time we went out. I guess they will be my lunch today.

Claiming My Heritage

It’s National Tartan Day. I’m proud to say I have the bloodline to wear a few different Scottish tartans. My father was a Carmichael, his grandmother was a McIntyre and they could prove lineage back through the Royal Stewarts. In the old days, I’m talking 1700 and 1800’s, a tartan was a visible sign of where one lived, and who that person was loyal to. Wearing a tartan you didn’t have the bloodline to claim was a punishable offense.

I lived in England from September 1974 – April 1977. My Aunt Ruth Carmichael came to visit the summer of 1976. I was talking with her about wanting to get a coat made with the McIntyre Tartan. She asked, “Why not the Royal Stewart?” then explained that it was acceptable to wear the tartan of the highest ranking family you could prove. I was elated, the Royal Stewart Tartan is bright and attractive. I got that coat, and wore it until the butt was thread bare. I even got stopped on the street one day in Thetford, Norfolk, England, and asked if I had the bloodline to wear it. How fun it was to say yes and know what I was talking about.

.royal stewart                                                           Royal Stewart Tartan

If you study tartans, you will learn that there are two or three plaids that “belong” to each family. One is worn for everyday and another for dress-up occasions. They were woven in cotton for summer wear and in wool for the winter.

Of course when I see a tartan, my mind jumps to bagpipes. I always wanted to learn to play them. I’ve been told I have enough hot air to do so. Anyway, on our recent visit to New Orleans, weren’t we surprised when one of the musicians that had been playing all of the woodwind instruments, and the harmonica, turned from the crowd, and turned back around playing a jazz harmony on the bagpipes. Everyone’s mouth dropped open. I wouldn’t have believed it was possible had I not seen, and heard, it myself. What a treat.

These days anybody can wear a tartan plaid, but if you are in Great Britain, don’t be surprised if you get questioned.

 

 

 

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