FOOD FRIDAY: Cornbread, Charles Pan-Fried Chicken

Indignity Vol. 4, No. 69

FOOD FRIDAY: Cornbread, Charles Pan-Fried Chicken
It tastes like cornbread, for sure.

I'D STOCKED UP on groceries to get to Friday without ordering any restaurant dinners, but then someone had a Wednesday thing to go to, and someone else's Thursday thing turned out to really be a Wednesday thing, and I wasn't going to cook a whole pot of macaroni and cheese for just the two of us who were still at home. So I ordered a batch of chicken from Charles Pan-Fried Chicken, plus the various sides, and when we dug into the giant paper sack, in addition to the big square takeout clamshell full of fried chicken pieces, there was an equal-sized takeout clamshell full of cornbread. 

The cornbread isn't a side you ask for. It just comes with the meals. The chicken from Charles Pan-Fried is widely and deservedly celebrated, tender on the bone under an abundant, deep-brown, sharply crispy coating. You expect excellence, and you get excellence. The cornbread doesn't get that kind of billing. 

Why would it? Usually I like a piece or two of cornbread just fine, especially if it's warm and buttered, maybe with a little honey on it as a treat. But cornbread, even from places with otherwise compelling food, tends to be bland, with a coarse and messy crumb. After a while, it gets kind of hard to swallow, especially once it cools off. 

So the first time I opened a clamshell from Charles Pan-Fried and found it full of cornbread, I was halfway dismayed. The cornbread looked lovely, well browned on top and golden below, but it was in big, thick slabs, and there was a whole lot of it. I supposed I would nibble on some, more and more slowly, while focusing on the chicken, and afterward I'd be stuck with more cold cornbread than I knew what to do with. 

Still, I grabbed some right away, to tuck into while it was still warm. It broke without crumbling. I took a bite. For a moment, I forgot all about the chicken. . 

The Charles Pan-Fried Chicken cornbread is moist and tender and not the least bit gritty, so that butter is purely optional. It tastes like cornbread, for sure, but it manages to simultaneously and equally taste like poundcake. It's still good as dessert, after the chicken and the first round of cornbread have settled for a while. It's still good as breakfast the next day. 

And it's important that it holds up, because, again, there is so very, very much cornbread—a bounty of it, the kind of generosity you rarely encounter in New York City takeout. I ate a slab and a half, maybe two slabs, to go with a thigh, a chunk of white meat, yams, green beans, collards, and black-eyed peas, and the 12-year-old ate his share, and the box was still more than half full of cornbread. Plenty to run through the toaster oven in the morning, to feed the whole family. 

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A lovely shrimp sandwich on a plate with a chicken motif, apparently on Dave's lap
Sandwich selfie

Shrimp sandwich

IT WAS ECLIPSE day! A day like that requires a special sandwich, so I made the shrimp sandwich from Indignity Vol. 4 No. 21. The cooked shrimp were chopped coarsely and remained bite-sized. It was a decent “seafood salad,” although if I made it again, I would ditch the olives and add lemon juice and fresh chopped herbs. Served on the grocery store sandwich bread that the kids prefer.


Send us your sandwiches!

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A not-flat cloudy sky, grayish-blue, blah

New York City, April 18, 2024

★ The blinds were down at daybreak but the light didn't much improve when they went up. The parka shells came back out, after it had seemed safe to order them stowed away. The balcony railing was wet; later the balcony railing was mostly dry. The heat was off and the cold crept in relentlessly. No only were the jeans back in service, but it was time to pull a wool sweater down from the shelf. The prospect of taking an extended look at what was going on out in the frigid gloom had no appeal. Unyielding and unchanging as the gray looked, though, on inspection the slightly different-shading clouds were racing by. Long after the day seemed to have been over, a few patches of brighter dark blue showed through in the evening sky.

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This first rectangle, below, is the podcast file right here on GHOST. If you are reading this in your web browser, you can just stay right here and click that sideways black triangle and listen to three minutes and 53 seconds of podcast! HOWEVER, we have learned that if you are enjoying this post in an email, when you click on the triangle you will be taken to the web version of this post, and then you can find and click on the triangle and it will play. Let us know!

Indignity Morning Podcast No. 258: Trend-piece nut graph.

This next rectangle delivers you to the mighty and all the episodes of INDIGNITY MORNING PODCAST. It works!

INDIGNITY MORNING PODCAST Episode 258: Indignity Morning Podcast No. 258: Trend-piece nut graph.

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WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS in aid of the assembly of the final three sandwiches selected from New Presentation of Cooking with Timed Recipes, by Auguste Gay with the collaboration of Anne Page. Published in 1924, and now in the Public Domain and available at for the delectation of all.

For each sandwich
2 slices of buttered bread
1 hard boiled egg
1 tablespoon American cheese, grated
4 slices of tomato (thin)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise sauce

Chop egg. Mix egg, cheese and mayonnaise sauce. Spread on both slices of bread. Place tomato slices on each slice of bread. Put slices of bread together and press lightly.

For each sandwich
2 slices of buttered bread
2 slices of cold roast or boiled turkey
1 1/2 tablespoons cranberry sauce

Spread the cranberry sauce on both slices of bread. Place the slices of turkey on one slice of bread and cover with the other slice of bread.

For each sandwich
2 slices of buttered bread
2 tablespoons watercress, chopped
1 orange

Peel and slice the orange in thin slices. Spread chopped watercress on each slice of bread. Arrange the slices of orange on one slice of the bread. Put slices of bread together and press lightly.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, be sure to send a picture to 


The second printing of 19 FOLK TALES is now available for gift-giving and personal perusal! Sit in the strengthening sunshine with a breezy collection of stories, each of which is concise enough to read before the damp ground seeps through your blanket.

HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm DailyThe special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, available for purchase at SHOPULA.

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