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Mason’s Kid-Friendly Favorite: Pop Pop’s Sticky Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing on the Side

Mason’s Kid-Friendly Favorite: Pop Pop’s Sticky Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing on the Side
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Photo by Alex Mathews      
Mason William Mathews

      Just in case you somehow missed it, I  spent 5 of the happiest days of my calendar year visiting my son and his family in California.  Surprise, surprise, I cooked.  I have a lot of theories about cooking for children and my grandson, Mason, aged 5, bore several of these out.  Now Mason has always been an adventurous eater.  Ever since I saw him tackle a bowl of Guacamole at age 2, I’ve been impressed by his palate.  But he did lay down the law when, at 3, he was confronted with a Chicken Curry I made.  “I don’t like spicy”, he declared.  So this trip I was determined to make amends.  And what better way to do so than by serving him Chicken Wings.  One of my theories is that small children are overwhelmed by big food.  Unlike a full-sized piece of chicken, the Chicken Wing is just the right size for a 5-year-old hand to handle. Now, how to make them memorable, kid-friendly and something even grown-ups would find irresistible.


Kid-Friendly Wings share only the Blue Cheese
Dressing with their cousins from Buffalo

Let’s face it; the Chicken Wing is very often prefaced with the word “Buffalo” and not as in “Bison” like an earlier post.  The Buffalo Chicken Wing is an invention from the uppermost North Western corner of New York State, the City of Buffalo.  These wings are so spicy, they could easily blow the roof of the mouth off of the most devoted fan of Hot Sauce, never mind that of a five-year-old boy.  Amazingly, in searching for “Kid Friendly Chicken Wing Recipes”, I came across a recipe that said the following: “ Most children find Buffalo Chicken Wings too hot to handle.  But if yours don’t, here’s the best recipe ever”.  Now really!  So I sifted through some others and found one that combined elements I was pretty sure Mason would not just tolerate by genuinely love.  

          It uses Hoisin Sauce, “the ketchup of Asia”, a tiny taste of chilies just to keep the adults interested, diced ginger and Orange Juice.  And unlike many wings, they aren’t fried.  Rather there’s a two-step process.  First, the wings are cooked in the sauce on the stovetop until the sauce is reduced and the chicken made tender.  Then, they go into a hot oven or 450 degree broiler just to crisp them up.   The taste secret is one every parent or grandparent should know: Sweet and mildly spicy is the key to a great child-friendly dish.  And in this case, Mason’s father and I both dove into this plate of chicken wings with equal gusto.  And just in case the sweet was over the top, I added a traditional blue cheese dressing to make these wings a sweet and spicy, cool and creamy delicacy for everyone at the table.  Much to my great pleasure, Mason even ate the blue cheese up.  Here’s the recipe for both wings and blue cheese dressing.

1 thought on “Mason’s Kid-Friendly Favorite: Pop Pop’s Sticky Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing on the Side”

  • What is it about those delicious morsels of meat, barely there, that entice so many? I could easily eat these til I pass out! "Sweeter at the bone" comes to mind but they sure do benefit from a savory sauce and that blue cheese dressing….swoon…. I'm a blue cheese junkie – love it!!

    Thanks for yet another wonderful recipe AND for sharing your visit with your precious grandson with us. Seems like you've got a budding connoisseur on your hands – congratulations!


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