Colonel’s secret recipe in new, safer vault at KFC
Nothing went afoul when the recipe was returned from an undisclosed location to KFC’s headquarters late Monday in a lockbox handcuffed to the wrist of a security consultant.
KFC President Roger Eaton was visibly relieved when the door to a new electronic safe was shut with the single sheet of yellowing paper stashed inside. “It was very nerve wracking,” Eaton said later of the recipe’s hiatus from a vault where it has been kept for decades. The recipe lays out a mix of 11 herbs and spices that coat the chain’s Original Recipe chicken, including exact amounts for each ingredient. It is written in pencil and signed by Harland Sanders.
The iconic recipe is now protected by an array of high-tech security gadgets, including motion detectors and cameras that allow guards to monitor the vault around the clock.
“It’s like an onion of security — many layers,” said security expert Bo Dietl, who brought the recipe back to the building.
Thick concrete blocks encapsulate the vault, situated near office cubicles, that is connected to a backup generator to keep the security system operating in times of power outages.
Dietl said the security measures he installed replaced an “antiquated” system. For years, the recipe was kept in a filing cabinet equipped with two combination locks in the vault.
“The colonel could have used a pry bar to open that thing up,” Dietl said.
Sanders developed the formula in 1940 at his restaurant in southeastern Kentucky and used it to launch the KFC chain in the early 1950s. Sanders died in 1980, but his likeness is still central to KFC’s marketing.
KFC had 15,580 locations worldwide at the end of 2008, including 5,253 in the U.S.
First off, did he really say ‘onion of security.’?
Second, is this really necessary? Did the fine people at KFC get word that some kind of Mission Impossible team was going to break in and steal this yellowing scrap of paper and discover the precious recipe? I mean, with all due respect, couldn’t you just take a drumstick over to a lab and have someone analyze the breading? Moreover, wouldn’t anyone so obsessed with possessing the KFC recipe as to break into a high-security vault and steal it…probably be too large to do so? If I recall correctly, you need to be pretty nimble to weave through the laser light traps or drop down from the ceiling on a fishing line.
On the other hand, I must comment that I am blown away to learn that only 1/3 of the greasy goodness is sold here in the US. There are over 10,000 Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises elsewhere in the world!? No wonder everyone hates us.
Bad enough a bucket of the stuff is the health equivalent of smoking two packs a day for ten years while remaining bedridden, but the products aren’t exactly appealing. I wonder if they sell those disgusting-looking ‘bowls’ everywhere? Have you seen the commercials? The ones with mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets, corn and gravy. May as well put it in a blender and throw some Coke in and advertise it as the fastest way to gain five pounds…provided you can actually choke it down.
Enough raging against the machine. It never works anyway.
Rather, in an unexpected twist, let me offer you a recipe. It just so happens I make a pretty darn good fried chicken and I’ve been perfecting the flour mix. Plus, I occasionally like to take care of the foodies and the gluttons in the house, and – at least today – I’m here for you. I’m not big on measuring when I cook, so the use of teaspoon is approximate, and dash means “less than a teaspoon, but whatever you think is best.” That stated, and presuming 3 1/2 cups of flour and one chicken (8 pieces), allow me to take a stab at the 11 herbs and spices for you:
- thyme (1 t)
- garlic powder (2 t)
- salt (1 t)
- black pepper (1 t)
- sage (dash)
- MSG (dash – I would omit, personally, because the stuff gives me a raging headache, but word on the street is that the ‘real’ finger lickin’ good recipe is thick with MSG.)
- onion powder (1 t)
- paprika (1 t)
- white pepper (1 t)
- marjoram (dash)
- brown sugar (2 t)
The fact that this list contains neither horseradish nor rainbow sprinkles means that it’s a sincere guess at the recipe. Really. You can trust me. I’m no colonel, but I play one on TV.