2 small (“spring” or fryer sized) chickens, cut up
Lard or oil for frying
Sprigs of parsley
Clean, wash and cut to pieces a couple of Spring chickens. Have ready in a frying-pan enough boiling lard or dripping to cover them well. Dip each piece in beaten egg when you have salted it, then in cracker-crumbs, and fry until brown. If the chicken is large, steam it before frying. When you have taken out the meat, throw into the hot fat a dozen sprigs of parsley, and let them remain a minute–just long enough to crisp, but not dry them. Garnish the chicken by strewing these over it.
From Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: We see here two interesting 19th century frying practices, both now pretty well obsolete. The first is frying in “drippings,” the fat left over from an earlier cut of meat which was roasted or baked. Such fats were in the past always saved after being strained of burnable bits of meat and used in either future frying or the production of pastries and pie crusts.
The second is the practice of deep-frying fresh parsley for use as a garnish. Why a perfectly attractive and harmless herb was thought to be improved by this practice is entirely unclear and we cannot count its demise as a setback to culinary progress.