The founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland Sanders, may be dead but he's about to come alive again to teach America "real old-time country and farm cooking before it's forgotten."
A yellowed never published manuscript was recently found with recipes in it written by Sanders contains all his Southern cooking recipes but not his signature chicken mixes. In fact, the New York Daily News
reports that the Colonel's secret mix of 11 herbs and spices is still locked tight inside the company's vault.
The 200-page manuscript was found recently by an employee searching through KFC's archives. It shows it was an amazing journey for the Colonel, creating the world's most popular chicken chain from a Social Security check. He writes in the book's first chapter,
"This is a new kind of book. 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, running right along with it. To me, my recipes are priceless."
The book is a one-of-its kind, filled with homespun anecdotes and life lessons from Sanders, who struck it rich quite late in life. It also includes a heaping helping of his favorite personal recipes.
KFC executives want to make sure the public understands that the secret blend of herbs and spices used on his chicken, one of the most enduring corporate secrets in American food folklore, isn't inside this manuscript.
Instead, Sanders offers all his other recipes, including those for omelets, pancakes, casseroles, pies and more. It's a complete compendium of main dishes, side dishes, desserts and sauces.
In the manuscript Sanders promises to offer insights into his culinary style:
"I'll be telling you how to prepare it like a man who's talking to you right over your kitchen stove."
The Washington Post
reports that the company is planning to release the book to the public. For now, it stays tucked away inside KFC's electronic safe in a vault in its Louisville headquarters. KFC's current CEO, Roger Eaton, says,
"We can't wait to share its secrets with KFC fans around the globe," Colonel Sanders was a lifelong cook and sage and his life lessons are just as powerful and relevant today as they were 40 years ago."
Laurie Schalow, a spokesman for Yum Brands, Inc, the parent of KFC says they plan to publish the Colonel Sanders manuscript online, sometime next year. She says the Colonel's insightful comments on hard work and giving it your best will be available for free. As for the all-important recipes, KFC is planning to reveal a few of them, but others may stay hidden in the vault. Eaton says the company may want to use them itself.
"We're in the early stages of testing recipes and are excited about the potential to incorporate some of the newly discovered dishes alongside the Colonel's Original Recipe on menus around the globe."
KFC serves more than 12 million customers daily in 109 countries and territories around the world. It still uses the Colonel's image on its signs and chicken buckets. The chain has been struggling in the U.S. but its overseas business has been booming, especially in China, where KFC has become one of its fastest-growing brands.
The company can give no explanation why the manuscript was never published. Sanders tried to write an autobiography, titled "Life As I Have Known It Has Been `Finger Lickin' Good,'" which was published in 1974. But that book didn't include any of his recipes.
In 1964, Sanders sold his interest in the U.S. company for $2 million to a group of investors, but he remained the company's pitchman. He died at the age of 90 in December of 1980, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.