what: Hot and Spicy Fried Chicken Wings
where: Publix (multiple Midlands locations)
price: varies, sold by weight ($13.29 for 20 pieces on Instacart in Columbia as Free Times went to press)
Summer is all about the picnic. And the post-pool snack. And the post-beach snack. And easy suppers. And, for me personally as of six months ago, the post-golf snack. Golf is the first sport I’ve ever tried with any sort of commitment, and it is fantastic (though I am not, at least not yet). But 18 holes makes a non-athlete hungry.
The thing about Publix’s hot and spicy fried chicken wings, or any of their other fried chicken products, is that they’re good hot, cold or room-temperature. And there is literally no wrong time to eat them, at least not for me, at least not at this stage of my life. This one time, I was serving homemade pad Thai at a dinner party. In the past, I had served the dish with duck confit, local shrimp or another fancy sort of protein. But I was busy and forgot to deal with the protein issue. Do you know how very, very good Publix fried chicken is with homemade pad Thai? The spicy, crispy crunch is a perfect complement to the sweet noodles of that dish. The tender chicken is always perfectly cooked. While the wings and drumsticks are my favorite, even the breasts are juicy.
When you’re very hungry after a day of vigorous summer activity (or lethargic lounging) there is no more delightful meal than Publix fried chicken, a couple of pieces of cool, fresh watermelon, and a handful of chips or boiled peanuts. Or you can skip all those other things and just eat the chicken. All the glorious fried chicken. Might I recommend a cool orange creamsicle for dessert?
Publix hours vary. In Columbia and some other locations, Publix is available for delivery via Ship or Instacart, so you can get your chicken without even leaving the house.