A Buffalo wing in American cuisine is an unbreaded chicken wing section (flat or drumette) that is generally deep-fried and then coated or dipped in a sauce consisting of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and melted butter prior to serving. They are traditionally served hot, along with celery sticks and carrot sticks with blue cheese dressing or, primarily outside of New York, ranch dressing for dipping. Buffalo wings are often called simply “wings” or “chicken wings”.
There are two generally accepted Buffalo wing origin stories and they both involve Teressa Bellissimo, co-owner of the original Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. The Italian restaurant and bar was founded in 1939 by Bellissimo and her husband Frank Bellissimo, but it would take two decades before Anchor Bar would make its mark in food lore. The first story comes courtesy of Frank Bellissimo and takes place on an undetermined date in the 1960s. According to Frank, the culinary innovation happened when the restaurant received an incorrect shipment. Instead of getting the typical chicken backs and necks for use in Teressa’s famous spaghetti sauce, they got wings. “[The wings] were looking at you, like saying, ‘I don’t belong in the sauce,’” Frank recalled in a 1980 New Yorker article. Not wanting to waste perfectly good chicken, Frank asked Teressa to try to make something new with the unwanted ingredient. She cut them in half, deep-fried them and dunked them in hot sauce. The famed appetizer was born.
Dom Bellissimo, the couple’s son, later disputed this story and, instead, gave a more detailed version of events. Bartending late one Friday night in 1964, Dom wanted to treat a couple of regulars to a late-night snack. Acknowledging that this was at a time that “Roman Catholics still confined themselves to fish and vegetables on Friday,” Dom asked his mom in the kitchen to whip up something special to be eaten at exactly the stroke of midnight, turning Friday night into Saturday morning. Taking the leftover chicken parts, which were often wings, Teressa chopped them in half, deep-fried and poured hot sauce on them. Serving it with celery and blue cheese dressing from the restaurant’s house salad, it was love at first taste for the barflys. Word got around and, within weeks, the “Buffalo wing” was the pride of the city.
While these two stories do differ, there are several similarities that have come to define true Buffalo wings. In both, Mama Bellissimo was the true inventor of this greasy delicacy. She also used the same preparation: cutting the wings in half, deep-frying them, drenching them in hot sauce, and serving them alongside celery and blue cheese dressing. Most important, the wings have their roots at Anchor Bar.
Either way, Buffalo wings’ popularity exploded over the next 50 years. In 1977, the city of Buffalo declared July 29 “Chicken Wing Day”, while crediting Mr. Bellissimo as the inventor. In the 1980 New Yorker article, the author Calvin Trillin points out, “The City of Buffalo’s proclamation would have been more exact if it had named as the inventor Teressa Bellissimo. The inventor of the airplane, after all, was not the person who told Wilbur and Orville Wright that it might be nice to have a machine that could fly.”
According to foodandwine.com; en.wikipedia. historydaily.org. Source of photo: internet