February 26, 1997 in Food

Face It: We All Crave A High-Fat Meal Sometimes

Jana Lieblich Los Angeles Times

I love fat!

And I know I’m not alone. Low-fat eating may be the rage these days, the responsible thing to do, but I encounter closet high-fat lovers everywhere.

My dad is one. At every family get-together he makes it clear at the beginning of the meal that he will not have any dessert because he is not a dessert eater.

Yeah, right. By the time dessert rolls around he has changed his mind and says he’ll try just “a little.” I, of course, serve him a generous portion, knowing he’ll enjoy every bite.

I’m not saying every meal should be high in fat. I support the trend toward healthier cooking and eating. But it’s better to face reality and indulge our fat cravings once in a while than to ignore them and binge later.

This Southern-style fried chicken dinner is a celebration of fat.

Southern Fried Chicken


3 cups flour


2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

3 eggs

2 cups milk 2 (2-1/2 to 3-pound) frying chickens, cut up

Poultry seasoning (such as Old Bay)

Heat about 2 inches oil in heavy skillet or skillets (chicken may be cooked in batches or in multiple pans) until smoking and temperature reaches about 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, mix flour, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper and paprika in medium bowl. In separate bowl, whisk eggs into milk until well blended. Place chicken on baking sheet and sprinkle both sides lightly with salt to taste, followed by more generous sprinkling of poultry seasoning.

Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, shake off excess and transfer to egg-milk mixture. Remove, letting most liquid drip off. Return to flour mixture and dredge well. Shake off excess and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Cook breasts first, placing chicken skin-side down in hot oil. Cook until skin turns nice golden brown, about 5 minutes. (Note: If chicken is burning, turn heat down immediately and wait for oil to cool before proceeding. Also, if oil gets too dark between batches, pour off and start over.)

Turn chicken over, reduce heat to low, cover and let cook about 15 minutes. Remove lid, turn chicken again and finish cooking, about another 15 minutes. Be sure to keep heat low to prevent burning. Remove chicken to paper towels and let excess oil drain off.

Repeat, cooking all chicken. Breasts and drumsticks take 30 to 35 minutes. Thighs take 20 to 25 minutes and wings take 10 to 15 minutes. When finished, pour off all but 1/3 cup pan drippings, being careful not to discard brown bits from bottom, to save for gravy.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 832 calories, 1,561 milligrams sodium, 269 milligrams cholesterol, 40 grams fat (43 percent fat calories), 56 grams carbohydrate, 57 grams protein.

Spicy Whipped Sweet Potatoes With Pecans

1 (2-ounce) package pecans, chopped

6 sweet potatoes

1/4 cup butter, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup milk, warmed

1/4 cup whipping cream, warmed

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

Toast pecans on ungreased baking sheet at 450 degrees until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Boil unpeeled sweet potatoes in water to cover until fork-tender, 30 to 45 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. Drain and cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, peel.

Puree sweet potatoes in food mill, or mash using hand-masher, being careful to remove all lumps. When potatoes are smooth, add butter and brown sugar and mix to combine. Add warm milk, cream, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Add all but 1/4 cup pecans and stir to combine. Transfer to warmed serving bowl, top with reserved pecans and serve.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 282 calories, 230 milligrams sodium, 26 milligrams cholesterol, 14 grams fat (45 percent fat calories), 39 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams protein.

Apple-Pecan Upside-Down Cake


1 (2-ounce) package pecans, chopped

1/4 cup butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced


1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons milk

Whipped cream, optional

For topping, toast pecans on ungreased baking sheet at 450 degrees until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Check frequently to prevent burning.

Melt butter in small, heavy saucepan. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring, just until melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Watch closely because sugar burns easily.

Pour butter-sugar mixture into a 9-inch round nonstick cake pan and spread to coat bottom. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of butter-sugar mixture. Place apples in concentric circles, slightly overlapping, over pecans.

For the cake, sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating until creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and continue beating until completely incorporated.

Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and milk, alternating, in 3 additions. Continue to mix only until dry ingredients are completely mixed in, stopping to scrape sides if necessary.

Spoon cake batter over topping and spread carefully so batter is even. Bake at 325 degrees until tester comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

Cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully run spatula around edge of pan and let stand another 10 to 15 minutes. Invert pan over large plate and let stand about 3 minutes. Carefully remove pan. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream.

Yield: 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving, without whipped cream: 417 calories, 348 milligrams sodium, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 20 grams fat (43 percent fat calories), 59 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams protein.

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