Chicken Map uncovers two unique Carolina styles

North Carolina-based EDIA Maps announced their latest project today — the Great Carolina Fried Chicken Map. Timed for National Fried Chicken Day (July 6th), maps are now available for pre- order on their website, www.ediamaps.com and are scheduled to ship out in August. Creators of the Great NC BBQ Map and Great NC Beer Map, this will be their first project to include both North and South Carolina.

The printed road map will detail over 300 fried chicken dishes across the two states, “from classic Southern-fried to newfangled fowl with fancy fixin’s.” All the fried favorites are included, from biscuits and sandwiches, to chicken-and-waffles, Nashville-style hot chicken, Korean double-fried, smoked-fried, wings, and two styles that originated in the Carolinas — dipped chicken and Calabash chicken.

“When we started this map, we really didn’t expect to uncover fried chicken traditions that were unique to the Carolinas. We understood that both North and South Carolina had long-established fried chicken traditions but what we didn’t realize — and it seems that few people do — is that we have two fried chicken styles that started right here,” EDIA Maps co-owner and Creative Director Amanda Fisher said.

These two styles are dipped chicken and Calabash chicken — both originating in North Carolina.

Dipped chicken was created in the 1940’s at Frankie’s Chicken Shack in Salisbury by dipping pre-fried chicken in a hot vinegary dip, which turned out to be Piedmont-style (also commonly called Lexington-style) BBQ sauce. This was a solution for reheating the chicken in a time before the modern conveniences of fast food technology, which allowed them to pre-fry to keep up with demand. Though Frankie’s is now closed, the map tells you where you can still find this fried chicken style around the Carolinas. And it also points out that, though the style itself began in North Carolina, the father of dipped chicken, Benjamin Franklin Cureton, hailed from South Carolina.

Calabash is a style of frying most commonly associated with seafood, attributed to the North Carolina coastal fishing village of the same name. But that lightly-breaded method of battering that turns out a delicate, flaky crust — and the term, itself — has now spread to chicken found throughout both Carolinian states.

Whether dipped, Calabash, or one of the other styles highlighted by the map, each restaurant will have a symbol identifying their most popular fried chicken dish and detailing how it’s fried — preparation method(s) (such as brining, marinating, battering, etc.), oil type, and frying method.

The back of the map will include restaurant addresses, phone numbers and hours, with additional icons denoting any restaurants that have a buffet or cafeteria line, as well as places that are cash-only or take-out-only.

Aside from all the practicalities of restaurants and dishes, the map also details the history and culture of fried chicken, packing in illustrations and explanations along the margins of the map. For instance, you’ll learn:

• What the first recipe for Southern Fried Chicken looked like

• Where to find the World’s Largest Frying Pan (yes, it’s in the Carolinas!) and what time of year you can find chickens in it, frying

• The origin of the term “spring chicken”

• The chicken’s most shocking genetic relative

“Though it comes in map format, the depth of what we provide is really more like a guidebook,” Fisher explained. “When we create a map, we go deep into the subject matter and synthesize all we learn to present it in an infographic style that’s intuitive and easy to understand.

“We do more than just plot stops along the road — what we really do is give people ways to discover their region in a new way, through food. To have that depth of understanding — to know all the complicated layers of history and culture — all the things beyond flour and buttermilk that helped to create that drumette in your fried chicken bucket — it completely changes the experience. Something that is so familiar you suddenly see in a new light. And we think that little shift in perspective is what turns a meal into an adventure, a discovery.

“The idea with our maps is that to have an adventure, you don’t have to actually travel far — you just have to look at things in a new way. That is our single biggest goal — to give people a new, deeper, and exciting way to look at what’s in their own back yards and to hopefully feel an even greater sense of pride over those local traditions.”

The Great Carolina Fried Chicken Map is created by EDIA Maps, with graphic design by Good South in Raleigh, and printing by Meredith-Webb in Burlington — truly a Carolina product.

Maps are available at www.ediamaps.com.

EDIA is a two-person, map-making team comprised of Amanda Fisher and Paul Bright, both native North Carolinians. Their focus is on niche maps that turn the everyday into an adventure. The company launched in the summer of 2014 with the release of the Great NC BBQ Map, the first printed road map of barbecue and the most comprehensive guide on the state’s most beloved food tradition. They are also the makers of the Great NC Beer Map and the Charlotte Adventure Map.

Author: Duane Childers

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