There are debates to be had over chicken wings. Should they be breaded or naked, sauced or dry, smoked or fried? The answer to those questions is mostly “yes,” but there is one aspect on which we can all agree: chicken wings are undoubtedly a meal.
Unless the person you’re asking is science champion Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor. In response to bars trying to skirt his rule requiring bars to serve food with alcohol, he had this to say: “To be a bar, you had to have food available. Soups, sandwiches, etc., more than just hors d’oeuvres, chicken wings — you had to have some substantive food.”
Earlier today, Governor Cuomo said chicken wings are not substantial food for bars to be allowed to sell alcohol. He added that sandwiches were the "lowest level" of substantive food. #Buffalo His comments: pic.twitter.com/zaSXgfEq6S
— Stephen Marth (@StephenMarth) July 23, 2020
Obviously the governor has never seen this video or ever eaten a plate of wings. If he had, he would know the truth about crowd-pleasing wings, a dish that originated in the state he presumes to lead.
Traditionally, buffalo wings are fried, then tossed with a mixture of Frank’s Red Hot sauce and butter. As America is a land of innovation, the chicken wing has evolved from its first incarnation in Buffalo, New York in 1964. Not only are there entire restaurants dedicated to wings, there are endless takes on the delicious bar food.
One would think that Cuomo would be aware of this, but given his track record of late, it’s not safe to assume anything about this governor. So allow us to educate him.
Chicken wings can be served in sections, the flats and the drumettes, with people often having opinions about which is preferable. Of course, the flats are the more desirable section, but then again it’s better to eat the entire wing. As Timothy Carney noted, a serving of eight wings offers about 56 grams of protein, the same amount the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends per day for an adult male.
They’re also traditionally served with carrots and celery for those who want to tame the heat. In case Cuomo is unaware, carrots and celery are vegetables, which are also recommended for humans to eat.
Beyond that, they’re delicious, easy to make, and family-friendly. And by family-friendly, I mean for a meal to serve a family. I’m not sure the governor prepares his own meals, but here’s an easy and not overly unhealthy approach to making a batch.
First, get some chicken wings. These can be purchased at a grocery store. Next, preheat your oven to 350. Continuing not to assume anything about the governor, that’s 350 Fahrenheit.
While the oven is heating, put some seasoning on the wings. You can buy BBQ and spice rubs at the same grocery store where you bought the wings. You can also make your own with chili powder, salt, paprika, garlic, or whatever combo floats your boat.
Put the wings on a pan and put them into the oven for a little while, maybe 10 minutes, to get them partially cooked without drying them out. Then, raise the rack and turn on the broiler.
At this point, you have a choice. You can brush them with sauce or you cannot. Again, this is America, unless we’re talking a bar in New York, and you have the freedom to do your thing with your wings.
I doesn’t even have to be buffalo sauce. You can use BBQ sauce or even things like garlic parmesan sauce. You can also wait until the wings have finished cooking and crisped up a little and then toss them in the sauce of your choosing. You can leave them dry. Just make sure to finish cooking them.
From there, put them on plates and eat them with your fingers. Dunking the wings in ranch or bleu cheese dressing is optional. The carrots and celery are also optional, but, again, they are veggies and those are good for you. You can even go for a side salad or potato chips or whatever you want to round out your meal.
Because wings are a meal. They are substantive. They are delicious. They are protein-packed. They go great with beer. Governor Cuomo, you are wrong about the mighty wing, although maybe the people of New York should be glad you’re focusing on those instead of on how to best care for people in nursing homes.