My friend Robb Walsh has just written what I believe is the definitive chicken-fried steak story. He even has a geographically based theory of the evolution of chicken-fried steak that revolves around what he calls the "Chicken-Fried Steak Belt." Accordingly, Walsh has decided that chicken-fried steak is prepared differently in various parts of the state. Of course, after much soul-searching he even listed 25 lovable chicken-fried steaks in Texas. I of course pressed him in an e-mail for his three favorites. After all,there are only so many chicken-fried steaks you can eat once you turn a certain age. This is how he responded:
"I carefully avoided picking favorites. But I would be willing to say that Ousie's in Houston makes a shining example of the Southern style, Country Inn in Somerville serves a famous example of the German style, and Mary's Cafe in Strawn is the most famous for the cowboy style."
Can you get chicken-fried steak where you live? I can't think of any place in New York that serves it outside of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
[photo taken by vj_pdx]