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January Holidays – Celebrated with Food: Martin Luther King Day


One way to teach your children about the different cultures in the world is through the food associated with each particular culture and the holidays observed.  There is not one month in the year when there is not a holiday, observance or celebration of one kind or another.

In the United States, Martin Luther King Day is observed on the 3rd Monday in January although his actual Birthday was January 15th.  Dr. King was the chief spokesman for peaceful activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

Although Martin Luther King Day is not necessarily a holiday associated with food, we can still come up with food items that Dr. King particularly liked.  Southern cooking comes to mind, so any of your favorite Southern dishes would be appropriate.  My favorite of course, is Southern fried Chicken and I have no doubt but that Martin Luther King would have like it too.   So get your children into the kitchen and prepare a Southern Menu for this holiday.

Menu suggestions are:

Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

BBQ Ribs



Collard Greens or Okra

Fruit Salad


Sweet Potato Pie

Pecan Pie


Try this recipe for Fried Chicken and add your favorite side dishes;  and don’t forget to get the children involved in helping to make the side dishes!




2 Frying Chickens

2 cups Buttermilk

2 cups Flour

1 tsp. Salt

½ tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tbsp. Paprika

¼ tsp. Cayenne (optional)

Oil for Frying



  1. Cut Chicken into serving size pieces; wash, remove any pin feathers and dry.
  2. Place the Chicken in a baking dish and pour the Buttermilk over it; refrigerate  for 30 – 60 minutes.
  3.  Place the Flour, Salt, Pepper, Paprika and Cayennein a large paper bag; add a few pieces of Chicken at a time and shake gently so that each piece of Chicken is covered with the Flour mixture.
  4. Heat Oil in a deep fryer; the Oil should be deep enough to completely cover each piece of Chicken.
  5. When the Oil reaches 375 degrees, fry a few pieces at a time; there should be at least an inch of space between each piece.  Cook until each piece is thoroughly  done or measures 170 degrees on a meat thermometer.  (It will take about 20 minutes  to fry, depending on the size and the piece – white meat cooks faster than dark meat)
  6. Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags turned inside out.
  7. Serve hot.



  • Heat about ½” of Oil in a large skillet or sauté pan; quickly brown each piece of Chicken (use high heat).  Transfer to a platter until all the pieces are browned.
  • Return all the Chicken to the pan; add 1 cup of Water or enough to come up at least half an inch.
  • Turn heat to high; when the water starts boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover the pan and slowly cook the Chicken until tender.  (about 30 minutes)
  • Remove the lid and let the Chicken fry slowly until crisp or place on a baking pan and put in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

NOTE:  ½ tsp. Garlic Powder may be added to the flour mixture as well as poultry                                                    seasoning, if desired.

 Yield:    8 Servings


For the recipe for Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

 For a recipe for Pecan Pie please see









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