Is chance and hot wings still dating
Buffalo does have the reputation of being a blue-collar town and, particularly after the extraordinary winter in 1977, of being a blue-collar town permanently white with snow.
Dom and Frank agree that Teressa Bellissimo chopped each wing in half and served two straight sections that the regulars at the bar could eat with their fingers.It seemed to me that if a pack of revisionist historians descended on Buffalo, itching to get their hands on some piece of conventional wisdom, they would have no serious quarrel with the basic story of how the Buffalo chicken wing was invented—although the feminists among them might point out that 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 he nice to have a machine that could fly.“A blue-collar dish for a blue-collar town,” one of the Buffalonians who joined the Katz family and me on our chicken-wing tour said, reminding me that historians are obligated to put events in the context of their setting.Not long before I arrived, Linda Katz had returned from her freshman year at Washington University, in St.Louis—a city where the unique local specialty is, for reasons lost to historians, toasted ravioli—and headed straight for her favorite chicken-wing outlet to repair a four-month deprivation.Before long, they say, chicken wings were on the dinner menu instead of being served gratis at the bar—and were beginning to nudge aside the Italian food that had always been the Anchor Bar’s specialty.
In the clipping libraries of the Buffalo newspapers, I could find only one article that dealt with the Bellissimo family and their restaurant in that period—a long piece on Frank and Teressa in the in 1969, five years after the invention of the chicken wing.
did not appreciate the difficulties historians must face regularly in the course of their research until I began trying to compile a short history of the Buffalo chicken wing.
Since Buffalo chicken wings were invented less than twenty years ago, I had figured that I would have an easy task compared to, say, a medievalist whose specialty requires him to poke around in thirteenth-century Spain.
In Buffalo, chicken wings are always offered ‘‘mild’’ or “medium” or ‘‘hot,’’ depending on how much of a dose of hot sauce they have been subjected to during preparation, and are always accompanied by celery and blue-cheese dressing. He implored his wife, who was doing the cooking, to figure out some more dignified end for the wings.
Teressa Bellissimo decided to make some hors d’oeuvres for the bar—and the Buffalo chicken wing was born.
The tour naturally included the Anchor Bar, where celebrated visitors to Buffalo—Phyllis Newman, say, or Walter Mondale’s daughter—are now taken as a matter of course, the way they are driven out to see Niagara Falls. As is traditional, I washed them down with a number of bottles of Genesee or Molson—particularly while I was sampling the hot. Frank Bellissimo thought it was a shame to use the wings for sauce.