Do you guard any secret family recipes?
Is there a special holiday dish that no one else can recreate because only you know the hidden ingredient?
How would you feel if somehow it got out?
It’s been a few years, but we suspect Joe Ledington, nephew of KFC’s famous Colonel Harland Sanders, still winces at the memory of (possibly) letting slip the much-guarded recipe of 11 herbs and spices that have made KFC chicken a fast-food staple.
A family scrapbook shared with the public may have revealed the famous fried chicken recipe.
View this post on Instagram
During an interview with Jay Jones of the Chicago Tribune, Ledington shared a scrapbook that belonged to his Aunt Claudia Ledington.
According to the article, “Claudia worked as a waitress in the cafe and was instrumental in launching what would become a multibillion-dollar fast-food chain boasting nearly 20,000 KFC restaurants in more than 125 countries.”
The scrapbook had the usual family photos and notes that had some interest, but it was what Ledington revealed in the back of the scrapbook that has caused a kerfuffle. There was Aunt Claudia’s will and on the back was handwritten note. At the top, it read, “11 Spices — Mix With 2 Cups White Fl.”
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) August 19, 2016
Esquire notes that the recipe read like this: “11 spices — Mix with 2 cups white fl 1) 2/3 Ts salt 2) 1/2 Ts thyme 3) 1/2 Ts basil 4) 1/3 Ts oregano 5) 1 Ts celery salt 6) 1 Ts black pepper 7) 1 Ts dried mustard 8) 4 Ts paprika 9) 2 Ts garlic salt 10) 1 Ts ground ginger 11) 3 Ts white pepper.”
The article notes that Jay Jones followed up with the company that owns KFC but their only statement was, “Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one’s ever been right.”
Esquire also reports that The Chicago Tribune tried the recipe. Tasters reportedly felt it was even better than the Colonel’s.
Then, “when the test kitchen added some MSG to that blend of 11 herbs and spices, they had an identical match on their hands. Which I guess means that the handwritten recipe on Ledington’s aunt’s will isn’t “accurate” but it’s pretty much there.”
So, why not create your own taste test just in time for those holiday parties? It could be fun to see if guests can tell the difference between your chicken and the KFC version.
Even if it’s not the secret recipe but it will certainly be the appetizer everyone goes home talking about from your special event.