What do you think of as the perfect accompaniment to watching a big game, or socializing with friends? For many people having buffalo wings is essential for a before-game appetizer, a pizza side-dish, or just their favorite menu item to eat at a restaurant! How did chicken wings become so popular? We will explore how they have become a staple food in many restaurants, and why people love them so much.
Roots of Buffalo Wings
Buffalo wings, like many culinary creations, has conflicting stories of origin. The prevailing tale recalls the first wings being served at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY in 1964, being the creation of Teressa Bellissimo. The iconic blue cheese dressing and celery on the side? Those were just the items she happened to have on hand. How Bellissimo came up with this dish is recalled two different ways. Her husband claims that the bar was sent a shipment of chicken wings instead of the other chicken parts they had ordered and had to come up with some way to sell them. Bellissimo’s son claims that buffalo wings were a midnight snack his mom would make for him and his friends. Another story traces the wings back to a man named John Young who grew up in Alabama farm country and moved to Buffalo in the mid 20th century. Young had a restaurant called John Young’s Wings ‘n Things from 1964 to 1970 when he left Buffalo and moved to Illinois. Young contested that eating chicken wings had always been common in poor, rural America and it was only the more affluent that had discarded this part. Young served up his chicken wings whole with a tomato based sauce he called mambo sauce, and his wings were breaded and fried. We may never know the exact origin of the chicken wing (or perhaps multiple people thought of this delicacy at the same time) but everyone can agree we are glad that it was invented!
Wings in New York
The city of Buffalo has been celebrating Chicken Wing Day since 1977, and for a long time wings were considered a regional food, found only in New York. Thankfully, they have gained widespread notoriety, and now can be enjoyed all over the country. In 1993 the first annual Wing Bowl eating contest was held, and now draws crowds of over 20,000! The record for wing-eating belongs to Molly Schuyler who in 2016 ate 429 chicken wings in under 30 minutes. That is almost 33 pounds of wings and 77,650 calories! While most people don’t eat that many wings, there is no denying that they have become a staple of American cuisine. When the Buffalo Bills won four consecutive Super Bowl championships in the 1990s, the spotlight was put on buffalo wings as the perfect Super Bowl food.
Traditional Buffalo Wings
Simply called “wings” in Buffalo, there is only one true form of the classic buffalo chicken wing. They must be snapped in half so they look like tiny drumsticks, and then deep fried without any breading or coating. After frying, they are tossed and slathered in that famous sauce—melted butter, hot sauce and red pepper. Frank’s RedHot is the usual sauce of choice, but the Anchor Bar has there own recipe that they use up to today. The Anchor Bar also makes its own blue cheese dressing, and everyone knows how well crisp celery and cooling blue cheese dressing pair with the spicy wings. While this is the beloved traditional form of wings, in recent years you can find everything from Asian spices to Mediterranean flavors coating these tasty bites, with a huge range of dipping sauces.
Wings in Alexandria
Are you craving wings now? If you are in Alexandria, you are in luck because Maggio’s restaurant not only has Italian favorites and pizza, but we have your beloved wings! The average American eats 90 wings per year, and Americans collectively eat 1.25 billion wings on Super Bowl Sunday alone! We love our wings in this country, and Maggio’s is here to make sure that craving is fulfilled! We serve them with blue cheese, ranch, or BBQ sauce, and they go great with our pizza! Whether you want them catered for a big game, or just want to enjoy them with friends, wings are a great food to enjoy with friends and family!