LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Paula Deen, step aside. Colonel Harland Sanders is about to teach America “real old-time country and farm cooking before it’s forgotten.’’
Yes, Colonel Sanders.
On yellowed pages hidden for decades, the white-jacketed man with a special fried chicken recipe and a vision that helped create the modern fast-food industry reveals he saw a future in another lucrative market: celebrity food books.
The recent discovery of an unpublished manuscript written by the founder of KFC shows that while Sanders was helping build Kentucky Fried Chicken into a global brand, he was recording his life and love of food - and recipes - for the world.
No, not that recipe.
Sanders’s secret mix of 11 herbs and spices remains locked inside the company’s vault.
But the manuscript from the mid-1960s, found recently by an employee rummaging through KFC’s archives, again shows that the man who started the world’s most popular chicken chain from a Social Security check and his secret recipe was a man before his time.
“This is a new kind of book,’’ Sanders wrote in the first chapter of an approximately 200-page, typewritten manuscript that KFC plans to offer up on the Internet, probably next year. “There’s never been another written like it, as far as I know.
“It’s the story of a man’s life and the story of the food he’s cooked and eaten.’’
The document is full of anecdotes and life lessons from Sanders, who struck it rich late in life. It also includes a heaping helping of his favorite personal recipes. “To me, my recipes are priceless,’’ he wrote.
The secret blend of herbs and spices, one of the most enduring corporate secrets in American food folklore, is not revealed in the manuscript.
But the Colonel proved he was more than a chicken man. On these pages are preserved his personal recipes for omelets, pancakes, casseroles, pies, and many more dishes that he said reflected his affinity for “real old-time country and farm cooking.’’
The company has no idea why the manuscript was never published. Sanders’ autobiography, “Life As I Have Known It Has Been ‘Finger Lickin’ Good,’ ’’ was published in 1974 but did not include his recipes.