These days, it’s easy for us to take for granted the things we encounter on a daily basis. One of them is the fact that that person we see on KFC’s logo is an actual person.
His name is Harland David Sanders. He worked several jobs: he was farm hand, fireman, lawyer, life insurance policy salesman. It wasn’t until his 50s that he found success. In fact, Sanders is one of the more famous late-bloomer success stories we have.
Here are 8 things you might not know about the man:
1. He was not really a colonel
Sanders did serve in the US Army, and served in Cuba for several months but it wasn’t for his military service that he was named the Colonel. When his tasty recipe for chicken became famous, the Governor of Kentucky made Sanders an honorary colonel in 1935. He embraced the moniker when he was commissioned a second time in 1949.
2. Early on, he would go on a cycle of finding success and becoming broke
Sanders went through numerous jobs. He was quite the Renaissance man: a lawyer, a firefighter, a salesman, and an entrepreneur. Every time he would encounter failure, he found ways to come back up and become even more successful than in his previous venture.
3. He developed KFC’s famous 11 secret herbs and spices in his 50s
Sanders was bent on having the tastiest fried chicken in the world. He was meticulous in crafting his recipes. Even the gravy had to meet his high standards. It wasn’t until a long process of experimentation that Sanders found the right way of cooking, proper amount of spices and right amount of fat filtration in the meat and delivered a truly finger-licking good fried chicken.
4. His first restaurant did not serve fried chicken
Sanders put up a café, which was actually a restaurant. But having not enough money to have the word ‘restaurant’ painted on a sign, he opted for the much shorter word, ‘café’. He also did not serve fried chicken because “In those days, fried chicken took a long time to prepare. I didn’t have the fast method that I worked up later.” In fact, he had no menu then and served meals according to what their family meal was for the day.
5. We have pressure cookers to thank for the birth of KFC’s fried chicken
One of Sanders’s neighbor told him that there would be a demonstration of this thing called a pressure cooker. Sanders was a skeptic at first, but the demo showed him that through this type of cooker, he would be able to cook more with less time.
6. Sanders was not the first to use the name Kentucky Fried Chicken
That distinction would go to his friend Pete Harman, who was so enamored with Sanders’s recipe for fried chicken that he immediately started marketing it in his restaurant. Harman’s franchise would get the ball rolling on the success of KFC.
7. The secret recipe is hidden somewhere
That most-sought after recipe with 11 herbs is stashed away safely in a vault in Louisville, Kentucky.
8. He reluctantly agreed to having his face be the symbol of his chicken empire
In 1955, he got an artist do a line-drawing of his face, and it cost him $8,000. At that price, Sanders thought it would be best to use it on all his printed material. “I thought if I had to pay such a price, by golly, I’d have to use it,” he said. “It was on all my literature and I’ve often referred to it in my television work or radio interviews. I say, ‘When you see this mug of mine you know you’re going to get good food – at least you’ll get good chicken.'”
Thus, giving all of us a remarkable icon that lasted throughout the years.
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