Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Back in the day, Kentucky Fried Chicken served finger lickin' good food. Remember the spicy, sweet cole slaw and the warm, peppery gravy?
A dozen or more years ago, the fast food chain cooled the heat, saying the hot stuff just wasn't family friendly. That's when we stopped eating there. Without the bite, it was boring.
So we are excited tonight because we're hungry and we see road signs for Sander's Cafe in Corbin, KY, the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The signs promise we can eat at the original cafe, the very place Col. Sanders transformed an already popular southern treat, fried chicken, into a national pleasure with a secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.
Maybe, just maybe, we hope, we can order the original cole slaw (I'll buy a quart!) and savor the bite of the original gravy.
We pull off the highway and drive for a while. Then, there it is. A neon sign. Sander's Cafe. Suspiciously, it glows in the shadows of a modern KFC marquee. You know the one. The bucket with the colonel's face.
We park. Go in. Rats. It's not a cafe at all. It's a KFC franchise connected to a little museum featuring the life of Col. Sanders and his famous fare.
When we order, I ask if the food is the Colonel's original recipe. The teen behind the counter wrinkles her nose. "Huh?" Then she mumbles and shrugs. "I dunno." At least that's what I think she said.
We order anyway. The chicken was good and greasy. But the cole slaw? Awful. The mashed potatoes and gravy? Nondescript.
We'd feel cheated, but thanks to the museum we can honestly say "goodbye ho-hum." It's a charming little place that takes us back into yesterday, which is where we intended to go anyway.