The second to last film in the 12 Days of Oscar series is nominated for four Oscars this year. The Help (2011) tells the story of Skeeter (Emma Stone), who returns home to Jackson after college and decides to write a book detailing life from the maid’s point of view. Initially, the help is reluctant to speak out. Meanwhile, Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard), Skeeter’s best friend, is heading up a community group intended to perpetuate the segregation of the help from the rest of the house, including championing separate bathrooms for the maids. Minny (Octavia Spencer) is fired by Hilly which prompts Aibileen (Viola Davis) to tell her story to Skeeter. Minny eventually takes a job working for Celia (Jessica Chastain), who isn’t liked by the other women in town. Ultimately, Skeeter’s book is published, including a detail provided by Minny to ensure that Hilly will convince everyone in town the story is not about Jackson. The Help is nominated three times in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category, with Spencer, Davis, and Chastain all nominated. The Help has also been nominated for Best Motion Picture.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when, shortly after being hired by Celia, Minny is asked to teach Celia how to make fried chicken. Celia furthers to ask her to burn it, so that her husband won’t know Celia hired help and didn’t make it herself. “Minny don’t burn fried chicken” is the response. While Minny uses Crisco to fry her chicken, lauding it as a fantastic creation that can also be used to remove gum from hair, prevent diaper rash, and cure scaly feet, I just couldn’t do that. I know, no fun in this house. I did make an oven fried chicken that I promise was as good as any fried chicken I’ve ever tasted, even if I didn’t use Crisco.
Buttermilk Oven Fried Chicken
4 bone-in, skinless chicken breasts, about 10 oz. each
1 1/2 C. buttermilk
22 Saltine crackers
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbs. Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Place chicken in a shallow baking dish and pour buttermilk on top and turn once to coat.
Cover the dish and refrigerate the chicken and buttermilk for 2 hours, turning chicken once or twice.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Pulse the saltines in a food processor into coarse crumbs and combine the crumbs in a bowl with remaining ingredients.
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and shake off the excess buttermilk.
Dip the chicken into the saltine crumb mixture and turn to coat both sides of the chicken breast in crumbs.
Place a wire rack on a metal baking sheet.
Place the chicken onto the wire rack and bake in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Makes 4 servings.
Source: Self Magazine