In Gainesville, Georgia, there is an ordinance that requires people to eat fried chicken with their fingers. Eating fried chicken with a knife, fork, spoon or any other utensil is strictly forbidden and illegal. I love food and am very particular about it. The idea that a town has gone so far as to codify a LAW about how to eat is WONDERFUL.
A little history about this magical law. Gainesville calls itself The Poultry Capital of the World. They even have a chicken monument in the center of town. I was surprised to hear them referred to as the Poultry Capital because I’d never associated Georgia with chicken. Call me naive, but I would have assumed the Poultry Capital was someplace in Kentucky.
Like Corbin, Kentucky where KFC was started. Or, Louisville, Kentucky where KFC is headquartered. Heck, the Poultry Capital sounds like it could maybe even be some place in Louisiana, like New Orleans, where Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits was founded. But nope, it’s Gainesville Georgia.
The reason? Chickens are apparently Georgia’s biggest agricultural crop making them over $1billion a year! Okay, Georgia, I see you, respect.
But just how serious is Gainesville about this fried chicken law? From my research, pretty serious. Even though the town insists that this law is mainly a publicity stunt, people have actually been ARRESTED for breaking this law — I kid you not!
The first person arrested was the former President of the University of Georgia. The most famous person arrested was…wait for it…wait for it… Colonel Sanders! Yes, don’t you love it? Mr. Kentucky Fried Chicken himself was arrested for eating fried chicken with utensils — you’d think he’d know better.
The most recent arrest was of a 91 year old woman named Ginny Dietrek in 2009. Her citation required her to not get up from the table until she’d eaten the chicken with her hands “down to and including the licking of the fingers upon the ingestion of the last available morsel.” She was later crowned the Honorary Georgia Poultry Princess.
If you haven’t figured it out already, I think this law is woke. If this went before the Supreme Court I’m sure there’d be obvious issues with how this law infringes upon a person’s 1st Amendment right to express themselves, specifically, expression of fried chicken consumption. But, this is the Woke Law Court and the first amendment only applies when and if I say it does.
I love that there is a law that regulates how people eat fried chicken. And I love that it’s enforced. I‘ve seen someone eat fried chicken with a knife and fork before and it was awful. First of all, it’s very difficult. A knife and fork aren’t equipped to remove all the delicious edible bites from a chicken bone. You end up leaving a ton of meat on the bone that gets totally wasted. Unless you’re eating with me in which case I’ll clean the bone for you as not to embarrass you in front of the other self respecting fried chicken eaters.
Second of all, eating fried chicken with a fork just just looks wrong. Fried chicken looks like it’s supposed to be eaten with your hands. It’s designed to hold up when you literally, well, hold it up with your hands. If you didn’t want to get dirty — why are you eating fried chicken?
Finally, it’s disrespectful to eat fried chicken with utensils. The people who created fried chicken made it to be eaten with your hands. Is that true? I don’t know. I think it is. It feels true. Certainly fried chicken feels like something you eat at a church picnic or in the park on a gingham blanket. It’s not a fancy high fallutin’ food. So respect the cultural, albeit unfounded, practice of fried chicken.
I wish there were more laws like this. There should be a law that you can’t eat a slice of pizza with utensils (this law would not apply to deep dish of course — I’m not a monster). Nor or a taco or a doughnut. I mean the list is long of the foods I’d regulate. I just think that certain foods were created to be eaten and enjoyed in a certain way and if you don’t want to honor that then you don’t get to eat it. That’s my take.