Buffalo wings have become an essential part of American life. Whether you’re watching the game or just hanging out with friends, there’s really nothing quite like wings to kick the party up a notch. But have you ever wondered why chicken wings covered in bright orange sauce are a regular feature at pizza places and sports bars everywhere? To find that out, we’re going to take a bite out of some culinary history!
Let’s find out how buffalo wings took America by storm.
One night in Buffalo…
As you might have guessed, Buffalo wings got their name from the city in New York. In 1964, Teresa Bellisimo was the co-owner of the Anchor Bar. Because of an erroneous shipment to the bar, Teresa took home some extra wings one night. That same night, her son and his friends had been out late and asked Teresa if she would make them a snack. She took the extra wings and covered them in a sauce she made from melted butter, hot sauce, and red pepper. The wings were a hit with the boys, so Teresa decided to put them on the menu the next day. They were a hit at the bar, too, and became a regular addition to the menu.
Creating a delicious sauce wasn’t Teresa Bellisimo’s only contribution to Buffalo wings. She also had the brilliant idea of snapping the wings in half to make them easier to eat. If you’ve ever seen wings on a whole chicken, you know that they have an awkward angle. When you order wings in a bar, however, they look like little drumsticks. That’s because Teresa thought to snap the wings at the joint. Everyone else agreed it was a good idea and started doing it as well.
Go-To Sports Snack
Buffalo wings are now a go-to snack on game day, but how did that come about? We have changes in eating habits in the 1980s to thank for that. Until then, it was common to cook a whole chicken. But when Americans started to prefer cooking boneless chicken, the wings became a byproduct. They were also very cheap, so restaurants could sell them at a very low price. Some places even gave them away for free! The spicy sauce made patrons thirsty, so their beer sales more than made up for the cost.