Crusty Fried Chicken

Our first North Dakota recipe takes us to… West Virginia. Hey, sometimes, it works that way.

I can’t say I’ve seen too many fried chicken recipes that involve basting with milk. Looking for any explanation of how this might work led to a 2011 post on One Perfect Bite, where Mary wrote that she originally made this recipe from a Farm Journal cookbook “nearly 50 years ago.”

Fair enough. In 1961, I think there was only one Farm Journal cookbook in print, the one at the left, published in 1959. And it does have this chicken recipe in it, and that’s probably where our recipe box owner in North Dakota got it.

But the Farm Journal cookbooks were collections of recipe submissions. So where’d the original recipe come from?

The earliest mention of this recipe that I’ve been able to find–and the only one predating the cookbook–is in the September 17, 1957 edition of The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette, as part of their annual “cook book” insert:


Crusty Fried Chicken Gets Grand Prize Award

 
First prize winner in the poultry category, and one of the grand prize winners, was Mrs. Homer D. Baxter of 2640 Conners Dr., with a recipe for Crusty Fried Chicken.

For this recipe, which Mrs. Baxter says is moist within and brown outside.

3 (3 pound) ready to cook frying chickens (use breasts, thighs and legs)
2 packages dry salad dressing mix, garlic flavor
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons soft butter
1-1/2 cups prepared pancake mix
1 cup milk
Fat or salad oil for frying

Wipe chicken pieces with a damp paper towel. Combine salad dressing mix, flour and salt in a small bowl. Add lemon juice and butter; mix to a smooth paste.

Brush all sides of chicken pieces with paste. Stack in bowl; cover. Store in refrigerator overnight. About one-and-a-half hours before serving, place 1/2 inch of fat in bottom of large skillet or dutch oven to heat.

Dip chicken parts in milk, then in dry pancake mix. Coat well. Dust off excess. Lightly brown in hot fat. Turn with tongs. Place chicken one layer deep in shallow baking pan. Spoon about one-half rest of dipping milk over pieces. Cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Remove lid. Baste with remaining milk. Cook uncovered 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Makes eight servings.

(Click to expand the cover of the section, if you're interested.)

Mrs. Homer D. Baxter’s name was Mabel, née Mabel M. Connor in 1899 to Margaret (born in Pennsylvania) and John Connor (born in Ireland). Yes, yes, John Connor. I know, I know.
2014-7-10-terminator

She married Homer on November 29, 1923. Here’s a wedding announcement from the December 2, 1923 edition of The Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail:


——-
Big Chimney Wedding
—–
Miss Mabel Conner and Homer Baxter married Thursday

 
A courtship of about two years’ duration culminated in the marriage of Homer Baxter and Miss Mabel Conner, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ira E. Baxter, of Big Chimney, at 8 o’clock Thursday night.

The marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. C. B. Jackson, of Big Chimney, and those present besides Mr. and Mrs. Ira E. Baxter were Asa Baxter, a brother, Mrs. Roy Hoover, J.H. Pauley, Miss Clara Pauley, Miss Carolyn Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Chapman, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Teel, and Mr. and Mrs. P. S. Pauley.

The couple will reside at Big Chimney.

 
In 1930, Mabel’s father gave her a bit of land in Big Chimney. From the July 3, 1930 edition of The Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail:

John H. Conner to Mabel Baxter, lot on Elk river and New York Central railway right-of-way.

For reference, Big Chimney is about seven-ish miles Northeast of Charleston, and the New York Central railway followed the river from Blue Creek (about five-ish more miles Northeast) all the way to Charleston. Here’s a photo of Blue Valley from 1912–the bridge in the left of the picture would become the New York Central’s crossing point on the Elk:

 
The minister who married the couple, Rev. C. B. Jackson, held other services at the Big Chimney Baptist Church, so it’s a reasonable inference that Homer and Mabel were Baptists, at least at some point. But by 1933, Homer took over as at the pastor of the Clendenin Advent Christian Church. From the August 20, 1933 edition of The Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail


Clendenin

 
[unrelated announcements omitted]

Rev. Agee Withrow has resigned as pastor of the Advent church, and will preach his farewell sermon Sunday. Rev. Homer D. Bater, of Mink Shoals, will be the new pastor.

 
Later in the 1930s, Homer was preaching at the First Advent Christian Church in Charleston, and in the early 1940s, at the Elmore Memorial Advent Church, also in Charleston. By the 1940 census, he and Mabel had two children:

 
In the 1970s, Homer wrote a 16-page booklet titled The Two Adams about Advent theology. (The second Adam is Jesus. Don’t worry, that doesn’t spoil the ending–he discloses it in the opening.) He observes, among other things, that the Original Sin was Adam’s tasting of the forbidden fruit, not Eve’s tasting, because Adam received the commandment to refrain from eating the fruit before Eve was formed.

“Adam was the responsible person, instead of Eve. Nothing unusual occurred until Adam ate of the fruit.” — Homer D. Baxter in The Two Adams

 
Hey man, I’ll eat whatever kind of fruit I like.

Homer passed in 1982; Mabel followed in 2007. They’re buried next to each other in Sissonville, West Virginia.

Baxter grave marker at Floral Hills Garden of Memories Cemetery, Sissonville, West Virginia. Photo by Kenny Davis. Used with permission.

 
(Click to expand the Farm Journal's copy of the recipe, if you're interested.)

Crusty Fried Chicken

New way to fix fork-tender chicken–moist within and brown outside. A Farm Journal 5-star recipe

 
3 (3 lb.) ready-to-cook frying chickens (use breasts, thighs, and legs)
2 pkgs. dry salad dressing mix, garlic flavor
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soft butter or margarine
1-1/2 c. prepared pancake mix
1 c. milk
Fat or oil for frying.

  • Wipe chicken pieces (use damp paper toweling).
  • Combine salad dressing mix, flour and salt in small bowl. Add lemon juice and butter; mix to a smooth paste.
  • Brush all sides of chicken pieces with paste. Stack in bowl; cover. Store in refrigerator overnight.
  • About 1-1/2 hours before supper, place 1/4 to 1/2″ of fat in bottom of large skillet or Dutch oven; heat.
  • Dip chicken parts in milk, then dry pancake mix. Coat well. Dust off excess. Lightly brown in hot fat. Turn with tongs–not fork.
  • Place browned chicken one layer deep, in shallow baking pan. Spoon about half the rest of dipping milk over pieces.
  • Cover with lid or aluminum foil. Bake in moderate oven (375 deg.) 30 minutes.
  • Remove lid. Baste with remaining milk. Cook uncovered 20 to 30 minutes, or until tender. Makes 8 servings.

From a box sold in Christine, North Dakota.

Crusty Fried Chicken

2 pkg. dry salad mix, garlic flavored
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. salt

Mix in small bowl and mix to a smooth paste with:

1/4 c. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soft butter

Brush chicken with above paste. Cover and store overnight in refrigerator.

1 c. milk
1-1/2 c. pancake mix or Bisquick

1-1/2 hours before supper, dip chicken in milk and Bisquick; brown in frying pan using tongs.

Put in roaster 1 layer deep. Pour 1/2 of milk used in dip over chicken. Cover and bake, 375 deg., 30 minutes.

Remove cover. Baste with rest of milk and bake about 30 minutes uncovered.

Very good. [Can anyone read the parenthetical at the top?]



2 Comments

  1. Lori

    Looks like Dorothys in parentheses at the top

  2. Darla Blair

    Dorthy’s (meaning Dorthy’s recipe)

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