A Family Scrapbook May Have Unearthed KFC's Secret Recipe


Like the recipe for Coca-Cola, the 11 herbs and spices that make up KFC’s distinctive chicken has become part of the company’s lore. Numerous people have claimed to unearth these secret formulas over the years, but there’s never been any official confirmation.

In the case of Joe Ledington, the latest man to have pulled back the curtain on food trade secrets, there’s one compelling fact that adds to his credibility: He’s the nephew of Colonel Harland Sanders.

In a recent travelogue article for the Chicago Tribune, author Jay Jones visited Corbin, Kentucky, home of the Harland Sanders Café and Museum. Sanders started his chicken empire there, deep-frying birds to sell out of a service station.

According to Jones, an interview with Ledington at the Museum led to Jones being invited to look through a family scrapbook that originally belonged to his Aunt Claudia, Sanders’ second wife. As Ledington flipped through the pages, Jones caught sight of a handwritten note marked “11 spices.” Below it:

2/3 Ts [tablespoon] Salt

½ Ts Thyme

½ Ts Basil

1/3 Ts Origino [sic]

1 Ts Celery Salt

1 Ts Black Pepper

1 Ts Dried Mustard

4 Ts Paprika

2 Ts Garlic Salt

1 Ts Ground Ginger

3 Ts White Pepper

Mixed with two cups of white flour, this was the secret recipe that KFC had kept such a tight lid on for decades, Ledington insisted. When a Tribune fact-checker called to confirm, Ledington downgraded his assurance a bit, saying he couldn’t be positive—all he knows for sure is that it isn’t the Colonel’s handwriting.

When Jones solicited comment from KFC, the company noted that Sanders had been in the habit of posting the recipe in his restaurant for anyone to see. Despite that visibility, KFC insists no one who has claimed to have the recipe has ever been accurate.

So can you save yourself a trip and make authentic KFC at home? You might: The Tribune had a go at it with promising results. But Sanders also pioneered a pressure-cooking method—where the deep fryer is covered with a lid—that might be harder to replicate. Taste testers also found that the frying oil was too hot in early attempts, resulting in a bland bird. The test kitchen had to play with the amount of coating and the addition of MSG—which KFC admits it uses in its Original Recipe—to get a similar taste. Even if the recipe is accurate, it’s probably best to leave it to the experts.

[h/t Chicago Tribune]

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How Google Chrome’s New Built-In Ad Blocker Will Change Your Browsing Experience

If you can’t stand web ads that auto-play sound and pop up in front of what you’re trying to read, you have two options: Install an ad blocker on your browser or avoid the internet all together. Starting Thursday, February 15, Google Chrome is offering another tool to help you avoid the most annoying ads on the web, Tech Crunch reports. Here’s what Google Chrome users should expect from the new feature.

Chrome’s ad filtering has been in development for about a year, but the details of how it will work were only recently made public. “While most advertising on the web is respectful of user experience, over the years we've increasingly heard from our users that some advertising can be particularly intrusive,” Google wrote in a blog post. “As we announced last June, Chrome will tackle this issue by removing ads from sites that do not follow the Better Ads Standards.

That means the new feature won’t block all ads from publishers or even block most of them. Instead, it will specifically target ads that violate the Better Ad Standards that the Coalition for Better Ads recommends based on consumer data. On desktop, this includes auto-play videos with sound, sticky banners that follow you as you scroll, pop-ups, and prestitial ads that make you wait for a countdown to access the site. Mobile Chrome users will be spared these same types of ads as well as flashing animations, ads that take up more than 30 percent of the screen, and ads the fill the whole screen as you scroll past them.

These criteria still leave room for plenty of ads to show up online—the total amount of media blocked by the feature won’t even amount to 1 percent of all ads. So if web browsers are looking for an even more ad-free experience, they should use Chrome’s ad filter as a supplement to one of the many third-party ad blockers out there.

And if accessing content without navigating a digital obstacle course first doesn’t sound appealing to you, don’t worry: On sites where ads are blocked, Google Chrome will show a notification that lets you disable the feature.

[h/t Tech Crunch]

Why Subliminal Messaging Doesn't Work (Unless You Want It To)

Subliminal messages—hidden phrases in TV programs, movies, and ads—probably won't make you run out and join the Navy, appreciate a band's music, or start smoking. That's because these sneaky suggestions don't really change consumer behavior, even though many people believe otherwise, according to Sci Show Psych.

We say "don't really" because subliminal messages can sway the already motivated, research shows. For example, a 2002 study of 81 college students found that parched subjects drank more water after being subliminally primed with words like "dry" and "thirsty." (Participants who weren't already thirsty drank less.) A follow-up experiment involving 35 undergrads yielded similar results, with dehydrated students selecting sports drinks described as "thirst-quenching" over "electrolyte-restoring" after being primed for thirst. Experiments like these won't work on, say, chocolate-loving movie audiences who are subliminally instructed by advertisers to purchase popcorn instead.

Learn more about how subliminal messaging affects (or doesn't affect) our decision-making, and why you likely won't encounter ads with under-the-radar suggestions on the regular.


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