United Kingdom

Fear of a Fried Chicken

Food politics in Great Britain


Cory Doctorow/CC

Chicken joints are proliferating in Great Britain, Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer points out in Foreign Policy. "Multiple streets in London and elsewhere now have three, four, or five chicken shops within just a few blocks of one another, marked by their distinct—often red, white, and blue—shiny plastic storefronts, and their names, which gesture toward southern Americana: Carolina Chicken, Tennessee Fried Chicken TFC, Dixie Chicken, Dixy Chicken," Wittmeyer writes. ("Some names, like Miami Chicken, miss the mark a bit," she adds.)

That may sound finger-licking good to you, but Wittmeyer reports that it "has generated a certain amount of angst across the political spectrum":

Much of the anguish over these restaurants purports to be based on health concerns, and, with an obesity rate of 25 percent, Britain might prefer its growth industries to consist of something other than fast food. But some of the chicken-related anxieties…are tinged with sentiments that appear somewhat less savory (so to speak). In an article for the Daily Mail, one author writes about how "the grottier outlets lend an air of seediness and decline to the thoroughfares of many [of] our cities and towns, sharing customers with those other symptoms of modern urban deprivation: pound shops, betting shops and payday loan operators." Somehow, fried chicken has become a quick stand-in for the ways modern life has gone wrong.

From there Wittmeyer goes on to explore the anxieties about race and class that have helped fuel the chicken angst—and along the way, she explains how fish-and-chips, before it became Britain's national dish, was once a meal maligned by anti-Semites because they thought it was too Jewish. You should read the whole thing.

NEXT: Santa Monica Gets Its First Conviction Under Anti-Airbnb Regulations

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. That’s probably the best food in Britain. But no worries for the Brits, I give Theresa May about a week before she bans chicken.

    1. Breakfast is the best food in Britain. And cheese.

      1. That’s depressing.

        1. And soon, Theresa May will ban breakfast, and cheese.

        2. You need to try an English fried breakfast.


          1. That is like 3 breakfasts for me. And I’m not a skinny thing.

  2. Complete flippin’ idiots. You could’ve gone Chicken Cottage, proper halal, bargain bucket, 6.99.

  3. Fried chicken is good.

    1. RACIST

      I bet you like watermelon too…


  4. Baltimore has 630,532 people and 735,524 chicken joints. What’s not to like?

  5. Britons faced with “ethnic” food wanted a speedy, cheap meal that was “theirs.”

    And Spotted Dick was born.

  6. Curiously, if the chicken joints served the exact same food, but had dark-wood paneled decor, called themselves some pretentious Williamsburg pub shit like “STODDARD & PROULX,” had a menu done entirely in lower-case lettering with nothing but whole numbers indicating prices, and charged four times as much for servings half the size, the Food Nannies would floridly praise instead of censure them.

    1. Principals, not principles.

    2. , called themselves some pretentious Williamsburg pub shit like “STODDARD & PROULX,”

      Clearly VA, and not BK

      the great Wbug VA pub is “Chownings Tavern”(?) Have the brunswick stew.

      the great Wburg BK pub is was “Teddy’s“. Famously featured in the movies “King of New York”, “P.S. I Love You”, episodes of Boardwalk Empire, others. Try the steak sandwich, or Kirby’s Catch on Fridays. (assuming its not already closed; they agreed to sell last year)

  7. Force and oppression are the clearly the only solutions. Any Brit twit can see that.

  8. Tennessee Fried Chicken? Who’s it run by, Captain Saunders? No copyright infringement here, my name is MacDonald.

    1. Fried Chicken is far too generic of a term to copyright. So I think it’s open game for anyone to use it with any other term they want. It would be like saying if someone had a franchise named ‘Kentucky Truck Parts’, that I couldn’t have one named ‘Tennessee Truck Parts’.

      1. In NYC we have a chain of KFC knockoffs called “Kennedy Fried Chicken”.

          1. I’ve only had the “chicken fries with fries” – great 4am drunk food.

            1. You have those “Crown Fried Chicken” halal places?

        1. I like Popeyes. It’s way better than KFC.

          1. And Bojangles is better than both of them.

  9. Did the Nice terror attack (I wish that wasn’t the name of the city) article just evaporate?

    1. what he said.

  10. They disappeared the Nice post. I guess the situation is unsettled and we don’t know what’s going on.

  11. Strange ,I just made some fried chicken for dinner. Cut breast meat into strips seasoned and rolled in corn meal. Made some Carolina slaw with cabbage out of the garden.I don’t eat fried food often,but,damn that was good.

  12. Also, fried chicken.

    Wait, are we still doing that?

    1. No, it’s as dead as phrasing.

      1. Traktor Pullz ?

  13. Completely OT: finally took the plunge and upgraded from Windows 7 to 10.
    System seems good, no driver issues, don’t really see any improvement (or decline) in performance.
    The strange thing was how long it took. It was hours. I finally just left it running and went to sleep, so I don’t know how many hours. It was like the old days, when formatting a 100k hard drive with a Windows 98 boot disk took half the day.

    1. I discovered that if you have a Windows 10 box hooked up to the router via Ethernet, it’s difficult to turn off the automatic updates (you have to edit the registry). A bitch for people without unlimited bandwidth.

      (I decided when I got my new computer to make it a dual-boot system. I don’t think I’ve logged into Windows for weeks.)

      1. I should have added: Linux Mint. Runs great, although I don’t have Opera any more.

  14. . . . she explains how fish-and-chips, before it became Britain’s national dish . . .

    *English*, not British.

    England, Scottland, Wales – three very different cultures with different ‘national dishes’.

    Oh, and there’s not ‘British nation’ at all. There’s the UK and the individual nations that make up the UK.

    In any case, the national dish of all those guys today is the donor kebab, had at 2 am ‘because that’s what’s open’.

    1. the individual nations that make up the UK

      I always resisted this definition, because if (say) “Wales” is a nation, why not “Catalonia” or “Quebec”? It seems a looser definition of “nation” than is normally understood.

      1. Has its own (mostly) sovereign government.

        The UK is like a smaller (slightly less fascist) version of the EU. Sure, all those nations that make up the EU are independent – as long as they choose to do what they’re told by Brussels. At least Scottland and Wales (not England tho) have more independence from the UK government than Spain does from the EU one.

        1. In any case even if you don’t consider E/S/W to be true nations, there’s still no ‘nation of Britain’ – its the United Kingdom as the next level of government and that include E/S/W along with North Ireland and a smattering of tiny possessions that haven’t gotten around to secceeding yet.

        2. “The UK is like a smaller (slightly less fascist) version of the EU.”

          Right. Remember how Ireland won their indenpendence by just having a referendum? And remember how EU troops occupied England after Brexit? What is your definition of fascist anyway?

  15. Imagine what will happen when someone opens an authentic Southern barbeque joint.

  16. Dixy Chicken


    1. Remember that southern transvestite band, the Chicksy Dicks ?

  17. Showbox Download, Showbox Apk Download, Showbox App Download: Nowadays technology has brought a lot of changes in our lives, especially in education and communication.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.