Remembering Felicia’s Boys-by Sister #3


Remembrance day is a time I take very seriously. Growing up with a Dad who was a World War II veteran, I saw first hand the long term impact of the sacrifices he made as a young man. I remember hearing my dad wake almost every night yelling out in fear. Was it his sleep apnea, his night terrors, it’s hard to say?He had a hearing impairment as a result of flying 35 missions as a bomber with the Royal Canadian Airforce before his plane went down.

He was injured and eventually sent home. Both my Dad and his younger brother Tom enlisted voluntarily, eager to serve their new country as they had only moved to Canada from Czechoslovakia a decade earlier.

My uncle Tommy was stationed in London for his tour of duty in the Army, and after returning home, enlisted with the Airforce. Tragically he died in a training flight in Saskatchewan. The crash happens December 13th but the plane was not found until Christmas Day. He was 21 years old.

My dad didn’t talk about his time of service. I remember asking him to tell me about the war. My dad looked at me with kind eyes and replied “Susie, there is nothing romantic about war”. I never asked again.

So every Remembrance Day I think of my Dad and his brother, but when I see the Silver Cross Mother, my heart breaks for my Gramma Felicia having to say good bye to her boys as they headed off to war. She also welcomed them home, only to loose her youngest a short time later.

Felicia Pajak was born in Poland where she met Frantisek Kvapilik. They married and had three boys, Zeslaw (my Dad), Thomas, and Miloslav, who died as an infant. The family moved from Poland to the Tatra mountains in southern Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia). After the tragic loss of their workhorse, their major form of income, Frantisek decided to move to Canada in 1929 with Felicia and the two boys following a couple of years later. Their daughter Geraldine was born in Limerick Saskatchewan on the family farm in 1939.

My grandmother was an excellent cook. I have memories of her little kitchen with soup noodles drying on the back of every chair and countertop. Each of us kids has fond memories of favourite dishes and baking but we all remember her delicious fried chicken. Unfortunately, my grandmother never wrote down any of her recipes. They were all in her head. All we know for sure is that she coated her chicken in crumbs she made from her homemade bread and she fried the chicken in lard. No wonder it was amazing! I have never been able for find a similar recipe, so instead I have provided you with mine. It will never compare to my grammas, but it’s pretty good and I think of her whenever I make it.

Fried Chicken

Buttermilk Marinade
8 pieces chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried mustard
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried sage
2 cups buttermilk

Flour Dredge

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoon paprika
1½ teaspoon dried basil
1½ teaspoon dried thyme
1½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil to be 1-2 inches deep in a deep frying pan or enough oil to fill deep fat fryer.

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, garlic, dried mustard, paprika, and sage. Stir to coat the chicken evenly. Pour the buttermilk over the seasoned chicken. Stir well to coat the chicken.

Refrigerate this mixture for at least 1 hour, but the longer you marinate, the more tender it will be. It may be left overnight as well.
In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, paprika, basil, thyme, onion powder, and cayenne pepper.

Heat the oil to about 340°F. You want to be able to fry the outside to a crisp golden brown without burning while still cooking the chicken all the way through!

Remove each piece of chicken from the marinade, put it into the shallow dish with the flour mixture and toss. Make sure the whole surface of each piece of chicken is coated very well.

Place the chicken pieces into the oil. You may cook 4 or 5 pieces at a time, but don’t crowd the chicken. Turn as necessary and fry until golden brown. It will take about 15 minutes for each piece to cook. Make sure each piece is fully cooked – the internal temperature should be 170°F. I recommend keeping a candy thermometer in the oil as you cook, the temperature might crop some as you place in the cold chicken so you will need to adjust the heat according to stay around 340°F.
Allow the chicken to drain on a wire rack to help the chicken stay crispy.

Kath’s quote: “LEST WE FORGET

Love never fails.

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