Rich and I were in full alter kaker (old geezer) heaven last night as we tuned in to NBC’s star-studded Betty White 90th birthday extravaganza. It was like watching your childhood walk by, though some folks walked slower than others. They were all there: Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, Ed Asner, Vicki Lawrence, Valerie Bertinelli, Carl Reiner, just to name a few. Younger stars, who were duly respectful though not respectful enough to actually attend, generally sent video messages, some of which were cute. The fact that White is regarded as relevant enough to merit an hour and a half prime time tribute is rather remarkable and the ultimate proof of her commercial longevity.
In honor of this milestone, I looked through my recipes and found what appears to be a lovely recipe for Betty White’s Chicken Wings Pacifica. The odd thing is that I found it in two sources, thirty years apart, with only minor differences. In the 60s, it was called Betty White’s Chicken Pacific and it called for chicken breasts. By the mid-80s, it was a chicken wing recipe and the name of the dish had mysteriously bought a vowel. It was otherwise the same.
William Shatner shared on the special that White was voted “America’s Number One Most Trusted Celebrity”, though he didn’t say by whom. No matter who decided, it’s hard to argue with this, so I figure this recipe will not be a disappointment. Plus, I felt with the Super Bowl right around the corner – (or did it just pass? I’m not sure; as Martin Scorcese once said, “when it comes to my interests…nothing with a ball”) – I figured these would be nice to pass around at your Super Bowl party. If the Super Bowl already happened, this dish would be equally fun at an Oscar party (which I know did not happen yet!).
BETTY WHITE’S CHICKEN WINGS PACIFICA
3 lbs chicken wings
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Arrange chicken wings in shallow baking pan. Heat butter (or margarine), soy sauce, sugar, water and mustard until butter and sugar melt. Cool. Pour over wings and marinate at least two hours. Turn once or twice.
Bake in same pan in 375-degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hours. Drain on paper towels before serving. Serves 6-8.