But black individuals had been on the root of many southern culinary traditions. Those traditions have traveled with African-American households who resettled all through the nation. “Black hands were in that pot all the time, and still are,” mentioned Omar Tate, the chef and founding father of Honeysuckle, a pop-up dinner collection in New York and Philadelphia that makes use of meals to discover black identification.
Popeyes wouldn’t present details about its buyer demographics. But over all, African-Americans, who’re about 13 % of the nation’s inhabitants, purchase extra fried hen than their numbers would point out: almost 30 % of all fast-food fried hen, and 15 % of all breaded hen sandwiches, in line with the NPD Group, a market analysis agency.
Ms. Ali, who wrote the Facebook publish evaluating the Popeyes sandwich to Chick-fil-A’s, mentioned she wasn’t suggesting that white individuals couldn’t cook dinner in addition to African-Americans — simply in another way. They appear to depend on exact measurements, she mentioned.
“Black folks don’t cook like that,” she mentioned. “Our recipes are a little bit of this, a little bit of that. We season until it’s right. That’s what Popeyes tastes like.”
Mr. Tate, the chef, mentioned it was tough to liken Popeyes to authentically black cooking. When he thinks of authenticity, he thinks of the strategies of somebody like Edna Lewis, a pioneering black chef, who fried meats in lard and seasoned the fryer with smoked pork.
“That’s authentic. That’s what soul food is to me,” he mentioned. “It’s one of those black magic things that can’t be reproduced.”
Popeyes’ inroads with black Americans could also be as a lot about advertising and marketing as the rest. The firm has made appeals to African-Americans in its promoting, stoking criticism that it’s pandering. When the chain launched a fictitious black lady named Annie the Chicken Queen in its commercials about a decade in the past, some individuals criticized it as racist. Ms. Alvarez, the Popeyes spokeswoman, declined to debate the corporate’s advertising and marketing.