They come in just about any flavor you could imagine, from Dr. Pepper to honey barbecue. They’re a staple at bars and grills nationwide and a fan favorite food for watching professional sports. In particular, they are not that great for you. But the last thing we really think of when chomping into a greasy, gooey, hot and (pick your flavor) buffalo chicken wing is calorie count.
But just where did this delicious culinary concoction come from, and who invented it?
Rewind some 50ish years ago. A gal named Teressa Bellissimo, who owned a smaller eatery in Buffalo, New York, named the Anchor Bar, is widely thought to have been the wing’s inventor. But it was quite by accident that she created this dish.
Wings were long considered to be the bottom of barrel trimmings from birds. When Bellissimo received the wrong shipment of them, she was frustrated that she had all of these useless wings that would go bad before she could ever hope to make them into a soup for her customers.
Instead of shipping them back, however, she decided to deep fry them and top them with vinegar and butter. She then served them with a celery and blue cheese dressing, much to the delight of her customers.
Thus the buffalo chicken wing was born, and so was a secret family recipe.
Of course, there are conflicting accounts to this story.
Some say they were made in the month of October and others claim March; like it matters. Theorists have pointed out that it was actually a chef named John Young who invented them, but his take on the wing was a breaded variety that was served with mambo sauce.
In the end, it’s likely that there were numerous parties involved in the various creations and flavors that we enjoy as buffalo chicken wings today.
Whether you like them plain, hot as fire, dipped in garlic butter or topped with Dr. Pepper sauce, there’s no getting by how delicious a basket of wings is, even if your heart skips a beat in the aftermath.
Naturally, there’s a bit of comedy found in this colloquial anecdote, too. That being: buffalo chicken wings were likely invented by mistake from an irate restaurant owner who literally winged it to save a batch of bird trimmings.
How’s that for buffaloing your way incidentally into culinary fame.