Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wednesday, September 5 - Kentucky Fried Chicken

Sanders Cafe. Doesn't sound like much, but here in little Corbin, KY, was where "Col." Harland Sanders perfected his fried chicken recipe.

Well, I had a hankering for good fried chicken this morning, and we needed to get away for awhile, so we went out for some KFC. Now this isn't JUST ordinary KFC -- well actually it is, but WHERE we went for the KFC was the real story.

You see, (or you have seen if you've clicked on the link to Sanders Cafe above), this is the reconstructed cafe where the "Original Recipe" was perfected. And it's only about 74 miles away. Now, we have a KFC in Danville (who doesn't have one?), but we've wanted to see where it all began. We've wanted to drive down to Corbin ever since we first found out about its historical significance.

So it was off to Corbin, about 29 miles from the Tennessee line. The more one reads about the life of Sanders, the more one is impressed. When I-75 bypassed the town which is on US-25 (once the main route between Illinois-Michigan area and Florida), Sanders's business basically tanked.

At age 66 (in 1956), he sold the cafe and the motel for enough to pay off the debt, and armed with $108, began to take his recipe and his "11 secret herbs and spices" around the country, selling both. Thus began the Kentucky Fried Chicken empire. In 1964, Sanders had moved to Shelbyville (where his widow, Claudia, ran "Claudia Sanders' Dinner House" -- yes, we've eaten there too -- Claudia still had THE original recipe!), and sold the franchise for $2,000,000. Not bad at 74 years old.

Sanders Cafe, truth be told, is somewhat a disappointment. The building is NOT the original, but is furnished with replica furniture, and the museum does have many Sanders-related items, so that part was quite interesting. The food is standard KFC fare, though I must admit, the chicken IS good!

We actually spent more time looking at the memorabilia, like the replica kitchen (to the left) which contains many items from Sanders's original kitchen, than we did eating. If you want to hear about it, I can tell you about the totally unruly little girl who nearly spoiled everything! But that's another story.

On the way home, we circled up through Renfro Valley (Kentucky's version of Nashville), where we hope to go for a George Jones concert later this year; and Berea, Kentucky's arts and crafts capital -- thinking Christmas shopping already!

We ended up in Richmond, home of Eastern Kentucky University (which has a campus in Danville, and I've applied for part-time faculty positions there). EKU's football team played UK last weekend and didn't do that well -- 50-10! Oh well.

Then it was back through country roads to Lancaster and Danville. We noticed that between Richmond and just east of Lancaster, EVERYTHING was brown. Cattle grazing had nothing to eat that we could notice; trees on the side of the road were brown and dying. That part of the "Bluegrass" should be renamed "Deadgrass" -- SO sad to see it looking like that. I have never seen the effects of drought to that extent. It makes our brownish lawn look absolutely lush in comparison, and we were so glad to see green grass again, as we approached Lancaster.

Barry's left foot is elevated and at last peek, the cat was sharing the futon with him (good kitty). The black-and-blue is less, but it's more swollen than it has been. Of course riding all over eastern Kentucky probably didn't help that, bbut he has a doctor's appointment in the morning to see if it's OK. He's been good about staying off it, or at least wrapping it with an Ace bandage, but it needs to be looked at (yes, Alison, I ended that one with a preposition -- should have said, "a doctor needs to look at it." There!) OH, Alison, I picked up a couple of travel brochures dealing with Civil War sites and re-enactments in KY. I'll get them off in the mail tomorrow.

With temps still in the 90s here, very much like a hot Maine July, my body is telling me that it's still summer -- NOT time for school. Casey schools have been in session for 3 weeks, Danville for 4 and Harrodsburg for 5. But it still does NOT feel like school, so I haven't missed being back in the classroom at all. I'm sure I will once the weather cools off here -- by November probably, it'll seem like fall.

Thus ends the saga of two Mainers in search of the "Holy Grail" of Fried Chicken! Time to publish, and off to bed soon.

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