The funny, kind, thoughtful comments this blog has received so far have been a delightful surprise. The other blogs I write generate mostly spam, alas.
I wanted to share the following advice from Cali, who read the post with Mrs. Johnson's fried chicken recipe and had some excellent advice to share:
"As a former chef, fried chicken is easy, but GOOD fried chicken isn't so easy. A big part of what makes this (recipe from Mrs. Johnson) so good is that she used shortening to fry the chicken, not vegetable oil. And now that most shortenings are trans-fat-free, it's not even going to hurt your arteries, much. The small pieces make a difference, too. You can cook them at a higher temperature which allows them to brown quickly, seal in the juices and get them out quickly so they stay juicy. One thing, if you season the chicken and then dredge it in flour, your chicken will be tastier as your seasoning will stay on the chicken and not be thrown away in the excess flour.
If you want to really go over the top and you have a place where you can buy freshly rendered lard, try it with lard. That makes for some really tasty fried chicken. Just avoid that stuff in the little box or plastic tub at the grocery store. It's hydrogenated and really not good for you.
Of course, you could render your own lard if you are feeling really ambitious, but it's pretty involved. However, you do get some lovely cracklin's as a bonus! (Lard also makes awesome pie crust and biscuits! Banana cream pie instead of pudding, anyone?)"