You do not know me, but I've been a "Chow" lurker for years, always learning and becoming inspired by everyone in the community. I've tried my hand at recipes, helpful suggestions and plenty of tips and hints on where the best places to grab some grub should arguably be. The site is practically like family in terms of always having been a reliable source of advice I could come to at any time and gain valuable insights and ideas. Today is no different, but under rather unique circumstances I finally decided to join so that I could actually post and contribute... and I'll begin to explain why; as it is with a very heavy heart that I write this.
In some summary, back in January of this year, my husband and I relocated to a new area and met a neighbor across the way who is a firecracker of an individual brimming with personality, zeal and both a love and passion for life. Through neighborly conversations across our back alleyway and garage, we've been privileged to come to know this gentleman over the past 6 months. He has always been a unique and charismatic individual, one whose personality is the refreshing type of "in your face" "tell it like it is" attitude; a person who has learned a lot in life and through his own trials and tribulations. And ever since we met him... he has attempted in such good faith to offer back to everyone he knows the best parts of him that he can possibly offer as a result of his wisdom, experience and life lessons.
We knew early on of his significant medical issues and he has always been a trooper - come also to find out a survivor of lung cancer. But he was long in remission when we first met him - doing very well and continued to beam his personality over to us each and every time we saw him. Then one day a few months back, he had kept telling me that his dog was extremely and unusually clingy and he just didn't know why. I had suggested to him that he should go to the doctor, because given his history of cancer it was possible that his dog knew something he didn't and it would be wise just to make sure. I then asked him if he had been to the doctors recently and if everything was okay with him. He told me that a month ago everything had been just fine, so there must be some other reason the dog was acting weird. I shared with him my own personal experiences I've had and continue to have with my own two highly insightful Cocker Spaniels and my own medical issues that they both have known of before I did - as well as their knowledge of when I was pregnant before I even knew and urged him to please see the doctor. A few weeks later he did as his dog did not let up on his attachment... to eventually be given startling results: his lung cancer had returned rather furiously and he needed surgery, and at the time they gave him 6-12 months to live. Fast forward shortly thereafter... given a later unfortunate accident requiring x-rays, later then comes to find out that he now also has cancer of the spine. A few days ago he had been told by several doctors after multiple opinions that the cancers have metastasized and he is now stage 3 nearing 4 lung and stage 4 spinal cancer. They gave him less than 3 months to live if that after three separate opinions.
Given recent complications, he hasn't been able to eat and had been rather rapidly losing weight. He is now at a point however when the inflammation in his trachea and throat has gone down significantly and he can eat normally for a time, no more exclusively surviving off of Water, Ensure and Popsicles. In the meantime during the present window of time where he can eat normally, he made a request for homemade southern crispy fried chicken which he holds as the dearest of his all time favorite comfort food.
Now I like many of you have made homemade fried chicken before by both family recipe and cookbook style... and both myself and family has always been pleased. But as we all know, there are all sorts of "fried chicken" recipes from either source in terms of flavoring, seasoning, preparation etc. Ordinarily when searching for the perfect sure to please recipe, trial and error prevails... and you win some and lose some... a tweak here, a tweak there. But this is no ordinary situation and no time to not get it right when you have someone asking for it as their dying wish. If you can imagine for a moment, that you'd want to give someone a hell of a last meal and a forever lasting memory of a good time had by all while breaking bread eating down home southern comfort food... this is what I hope to accomplish, as I really need to make one helluva meal for this special human being. As I can't save his life, and know of no other way to help him except through prayer, I need to find some way to give of our family onto his with the blessings that we have and our shared love of food and cooking is the best possible and memorable vehicle to achieve this.
As I know he's been through much hardship and suffering in life and doesn't have very many people to rely on, I just want to give him a strong memory that people do care for him in this world and that much love, laughter and light can come from a shared passion of the love of food through a labor of love meant to both fill the belly and warm the heart. So you all can imagine why I am in active search for one of the truly best artery clogging fried chicken recipes possible... as sometimes many, many days can go by when he can hardly keep down water let alone liquid food and then the days when he can eat just like you and I as if nothing were wrong are growing far and few between, so I need to strike while the irons hot. As a result of the same, I am hoping that the faithful and teeming millions here on Chow can help me in this quest, to help me make one of the very best last meals possible for a wonderful and deserving human being who could use the smallest bit of happiness and levity to his coming days, however long those may actually be. With many thanks to all who may help me decide and cook this very special meal.