Finger Food, Part 1 Fried Chicken
Starting a new series today on finger food. My older brother Marshall Noel Opie (named after Thurgood Marshall) became a freshmen at Howard University in the fall of 1980. We grew up in a middle class predominately white school system in Westchester County, New York 30 miles North of New York City. I believe my mother encouraged him to attend Howard because it’s a good school with a long tradition of excellence and it provides a healthy dose of the black experience to African American youth like us who grow up in white communities. At the first meal—a formal southern fried chicken sit down with all the fixings—the students hesitated before eating. They were looking for clues from each other about how to eat the fried chicken: knife fork it or work it with your fingers? Most started with the knife and fork. After a pause that seemed like an eternity, my brother said non-verbally, forget this elitist custom and starting eating with is fingers which triggered a chain reaction and everybody followed suite laughing and enjoying the finger licking good fried chicken.