Saturday, March 14, 2015

Buffalo Wings: Modernism as Food

Initially I hoped to write something about why traddie communities attract unusual demographics (the very young, more males than usual, eccentrics and the like), but instead find myself obligated by a friend to write about—of all things—the Buffalo Wing.

I have been to the supposed invention point of a great many American staples. The burger came from a sandwich shop in New Haven called Louis' Lunch, where they will defenestrate you should you ask for ketchup. The "Buffalo wing" was born at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York—an industrial town without any sort of industry left. The food was not exceptional, but it was the only place where I have tasted that most manly of foods—the chicken wing—without wrongly, or rightly, thinking I must have consumed the stale remains of a Cornish hen covered in processed sugar. The meat clearly came from a fully grown chicken and the sauce was meant as a compliment. Why did the "wing" descend to the depths of poultry of the masses so quickly? It is culinary Novus Ordoism!

Yes, we have all moaned about the "Novus Ordo" at some point and "what they do in the Novus Ordo" blah blah blah.... as if it were a place. It is a state of mind that not only blends new fangled ideas of dubious orthodoxy and orthopraxis, but it retains the folkish elements of religion from its day. I think if I went to the nearest neo-con parish and presented the idea of moving adoration half an hour later and concatenating Vespers into it, they would toss me out faster than they would if I were a Society cleric.

So is the same with the Buffalo chicken wing: it retains its hearty origins as American comfort food like New York pizza and the burger, but became bastardized by the frozen food department and the likes of Buffalo Wild "Wings" until it became as the pizza under Domino's and the burger under McDonald's. The difference is that I can still find a good burger and a good pizza. I cannot find a good wing anywhere. Quomodo sedet sola civitas.


  1. I would like to offer several observations, based upon your original 'riff' of Novus Ordo as chicken wings, which riff I think is really inspired.

    I would say instead that one of the problems with American society is that it has lost the food culture of all of the cultures which brought it about. The number of families which can cook well has decreased, to the loss of our whole society. Because of this, we have become addicted to fast food.

    In the same way, we have lost the Mass culture of our various Catholic cultures, and have become addicted to liturgical fast food, indifferently served by priests who lack the intellectual and spiritual tools which would enable them to serve a reverend Mass. Not unlike the mass of people who lack the fundamental cooking technique which would enable them to cook and serve a palatable meal.

    The answer is to find a place and/or a priest who knows how to serve a good Mass. And the answer, as regards getting good food, is in learning good cooking technique.

    By the bye, if you want good chicken wings, then the best way is to cook them yourself. Alton Brown (or as I refer to him, 'Alton the Venerable') in his cooking show, 'Good Eats', does three good versions of that respectable comestable. You can find those recipes here:


      My after-lent things to cook...

  2. The Peanut in Kansas City has the best hot wings ever. Includes their home made sauce and ranch dressing.

  3. I must admit I had no idea what a 'Buffalo Wing' was until I 'Googled' it. They certainly do not appeal to my taste buds and I certainly would not be tempted Lent or not.

  4. You're killing me here, RT! Waiting (not so patiently) for the Trad demographic analysis...