Buffalo Wings with Ranch? Why Not?
Are we really so self-absorbed and insecure that we impose on others our local penchant to refer to a famous local delicacy as “wings” or “chicken wings”? Are we such faux snobs that we insist that people around the world refrain from calling deep-fried chicken appendages drenched in butter and Frank’s Hot Sauce as “Buffalo wings”?
I watched the CBS Sunday Morning Super Bowl piece about the Buffalo Wing – where it came from, what to call it, how to eat it – and thought it was nice that Buffalo was being recognized by big media in a positive way. We love this sort of thing, am I right?
But holy crap, do we come off like a bunch of condescending prats. Don’t call them Buffalo wings, don’t eat them with ranch, don’t bake them. You’d think we were talking about a prissy French appellation or Italian D.O.P. As much of a pizza snob as I am, I recognize and acknowledge that pizza is a universally loved food that is prepared differently in different places and to varying tastes. And it’s ok – they can call it pizza.
So, Buffalo, here is how we should talk about wings, if we’re really proud of our culinary creation. Call them Buffalo wings. We know they’re not made from flying Buffalos, but it acknowledges Buffalo’s role in their creation, and so long as the “Buffalo” is capitalized, run with it. It’s a way to remind people that it’s our thing, and that Buffalo exists.
Bake them? Make them however you like! Franks and butter? That’s how we eat them! Celery and carrots? Either? Neither? Who cares? Make them however you want! Do you despise bleu cheese dressing with the heat of a thousand suns? Here, try some ranch! We love wings this way, but we hope you love them whatever way you want! We’re happy you love them, too!
It’s a chicken extremity deep-fried in hot sauce. Let’s not pretend we’re talking about L’Escoffier here.