Friday, March 09, 2012

Snacking State-by-State: New York V - The Sauce Beneath My Wings

One of the classic American snack foods is the famous Buffalo wing.  These days you can get them in all manner for forms: one favorite sports bar of mine in DC serves several varieties, including Jerk Chicken, BBQ and I could swear they used to serve them Carolina-style.  But the classic Buffalo wing is also on the menu, and it is indeed from the City of Good Neighbors.

Official Name: State of New York
State Nicknames: The Empire State
Admission to the US: July 26, 1788 (#11)
Capital: Albany (6th largest)
Other Important Cities: New York City (largest in the state, largest in the nation!), Buffalo (2nd largest), Rochester (3rd largest), Syracuse (5th largest) 
 Northeast, Mid-Atlantic; Mid-Atlantic (US Census)
RAFT NationsMaple SyrupWild RiceClambake
Bordered by: Québec (Canada) (north), Lake Ontario (northwest), Ontario (Canada) & Lake Erie (west), Pennsylvania (south and southwest), New Jersey (south), Connecticut & Long Island Sound (southeast), Massachusetts & Vermont (east)
Official State Foods and Edible Things: apple (fruit), milk (beverage), sugar maple (tree - for the maple syrup), rose (flower - they are edible, you know), trout (fish), apple muffin (muffin), bay scallop (shell), beaver (mammal, though outside of "Bizarre Foods" you won't see many people eating these)
Some Famous and Typical Foods: In New York City, anything and everything - it is one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the United States, and is a culinary capital of the nation; typical NYC foods include: Waldorf salad, bagels & bialys, corned beef and pastrami, chocolate egg creams, hot dogs, New York pizza, General Tso's chicken, Baked Alaska (invented in New York City), and so on; New York cheesecake; "garbage plate" (Rochester only); Buffalo wings (Buffalo of course); apples and maple syrup, and of course, more apples

The Buffalo wing has its origins at Buffalo's Anchor Bar, where in 1964 bar owner Teressa Bellissimo created them.  From there the creation story gets a little murky - either she created the Buffalo wing sauce out of a need to use up a massive extra shipment of chicken wings, or her son Dominic and his friends specifically requested them [Anchor Bar 2008; Suddath 2009].  Regardless, the Buffalo wing spread throughout the Northeast and from there the country, becoming one of the most common snack foods this or that side of a Super Bowl (I also stuffed myself with too many of them after more than a few soccer games this past summer in the league I was playing in.  Urp).

What I didn't realize was how uncomplicated it is to make them.

The Recipe: Buffalo Wings

The recipe I used is, apparently, the Anchor Bar's original - at least, so says John Mitzewich of (whose know how also helped me a great deal in making sushi rice back when I was looking at California).  I used a third of the recipe.

* chicken wings (bought 12 of them on sale for about $3.80 at Harris Teeter.  You will need to separate the wings, but little did I know that they came pre-separated! There's one step I can skip)
* oil, salt and flour (had them all - you will coat the wings with this before putting them in the oven)

For the sauce, you will need:

* vinegar
* cayenne pepper
* garlic powder
* more salt
* Tabasco sauce
* Worcestershire sauce
* Louisiana hot sauce in addition to the Tabasco (preferably Frank's, so says the recipe - a bottle of this costs about $3 at Giant.  There were a few varieties of Frank's.  I just went ahead and got the one that specifically said "Red Hot Wings")
* butter

Ta-da! Already disjointed.  If not, break apart the flat and wing parts of the wing.

Put oil and salt in a bowl, and coat the wings in it.

Next, put the flour in a large zip top bag.  Put the wings in the bag, zip it up, and shake until thoroughly coated

It's shake and bake, and I helped!

Put aluminum foil on a baking or cookie sheet and coat it with oil.  Man, I wish I had bought those pastry brushes sooner.

Now you're ready to bake the chicken wings.

Bake the wings at 425°F for 40 minutes, turning halfway through.

While the wings are in the oven, throw the rest of the ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer.

Once brought to a simmer, turn off the heat and cover.

Remember to turn those wings.

When the wings are done, coat them with the sauce.

Oh, this is soooooo not healthy to eat.  But I'm not eating this all the time. So it's okay, right?  Traditionally, these are always eaten with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing, which makes them even less healthy.  But the celery at least gives it the air of "healthiness".  They sure are messy, too.

- - - - -

We're done with the Empire State.  Next we race down I-95 to the home of several of the nation's favorite styles of BBQ (certainly the most nearby to us).  It's the nation's leading producer of pimento cheese and the home of Pepsi-Cola: we're on our way to North Carolina.


Anchor Bar.  "The Original Buffalo Wings Story".  Published 2008.  Copyright 2008 The Anchor Bar.  All rights reserved.

Beekman 1802 (Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Ridge).  "December 12" (Maureen Lodes' Apple Cake).  Posted on the "Sharon Springs Heirloom Recipe Advent Calendar" page, Beekman 1802 website.  Copyright 2011, 2012 All rights reserved.

Beekman 1802 (Josh Kilmer-Purcell & Brent Ridge).  "Sharon Springs Heirloom Recipe Advent Calendar" page, Beekman 1802 website.  Copyright 2011, 2012 All rights reserved.

Bon Appétit.  "Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup".  Posted on the Epicurious website, December 1998.  Copyright 1998, 2012 Epicurious.  All rights reserved.  

Center for Jewish History.  "Jews In America: Our Story".  Copyright 2005 Center for Jewish History.  All rights reserved.

Mannur, Anita.  "Indian Food in the US: 1909-1921".  Published on the South Asian American Digital Archive website October 18, 2011.  Copyright 2008-2012, South Asian American Digital Archive.  All rights reserved.

Mitzewich, John.  "Authentic Anchor Bar Buffalo Chicken Wings".  Published on, date unknown. Copyright 2012  All rights reserved.

Roberts, Adam (Amateur Gourmet).  "Fall Out Of Fall With A Matzah Ball".  Posted November 21, 2006.  Copyright 2004-2012 Adam Roberts.  All rights reserved.

Sahni, Julie.  Classic Indian Cooking.  William Morrow & Company: New York, 1980.

Sheraton, Mimi.  "Introduction: A Table Before Me".  In The New York Times Jewish Cookbook, edited by Linda Amster.  St. Martin's Press: New York, 2003.

Stradley, Linda.  "New York Egg Cream - How To Make An Egg Cream".  Published on What's Cooking America ( 2004.  Copyright 2004, 2012 What's Cooking America.  All rights reserved.

Suddath, Claire.  "A Brief History of Buffalo Wings".  Published on the Time Magazine website (, September 3, 2009.

Sussman, Lance J.  "Jewish History Resources: New York Jewish History".  Posted on the New York State Archives website, date unknown.  Copyright 2012 New York State Archives.  All rights reserved.

Stallworth, Lyn, and Rod Kennedy Jr. The Brooklyn Cookbook.  From the Knopf Cooks American series.  Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1991. 

Some information also obtained from Wikipedia's "New York" and "Demographics of New York City" pages and other pages, and the Food Timeline State Foods link to "New York".