Food and Book Pairing: The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

The Book

  • Title: The Chicken Sisters
  • Author: KJ Dell’Antonia
  • Publisher: GP Putnam’s Sons
  • Release Date: 12/1/20
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Publisher’s Summary: In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state–and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi’s before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie’s. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire. . .The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, Food Wars becomes her chance to step back into the limelight. Mae is certain she can make the fading Mimi’s look good–even if that pits her against Amanda and Frannie’s. With a greedy producer stoking the flames, their friendly rivalry quickly turns into a game of chicken. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?

The Chicken Sisters was a great read. The story alternated between Mae and Amanda’s perspectives which deepens the characterization of each sister and prevents the reader from automatically sympathizing with one sister over the other. It would have been so easy to set one sister up as “the villain,” but Dell’Antonia doesn’t do that.

There is something inherently comforting about fried chicken and The Chicken Sisters had that quality as well. The fact that the story was so rooted in family history and lore added to the cozy feeling of the novel.

Of course reading this novel led me to craving fried chicken, which leads me to the next part…

Food Pairing: Fried Chicken…obviously

Honestly, it would be hard to read the chicken sisters without craving fried chicken and biscuits…so…I made fried chicken and biscuits.

We had some buttermilk in our fridge that I wanted to use up, so I decided to make the New York Times Cooking recipes for Buttermilk Biscuits and Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Both recipes turned out even better than I could have hoped. The biscuits were buttery and flaky and the chicken’s coating was crispy and flavorful.

We ended up serving the chicken and biscuits in a few different ways. We made sandwiches and also cut up the chicken and topped a salad with it. I would highly recommend both approaches!

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