Note to self: Never greet a reporter with a private family album that includes a handwritten recipe for your Uncle Sanders’ secret recipe.
In a giant whoopsie, the nephew of Colonel Sanders apparently was showing a photo album to Chicago Tribune reporter Jay Jones, when a hand-written recipe with 11 herbs and spices caught the reporter’s attention.
When asked if it was “the” recipe, Joe Ledington (whose Aunt Claudia Sanders was the Colonel’s second wife) answered, confirmed that it was, and added that he’d often mixed up batches of the 11 herbs and spices in his youth.
The big secret? White pepper.
“The main ingredient is white pepper,” Ledington is quoted as saying. “I call that the secret ingredient. Nobody (in the 1950s) knew what white pepper was. Nobody knew how to use it.”
The Colonel’s chicken recipe has long been a mystery, with the company claiming the original is locked in a vault and suing those who have claimed to have it. This just may be the real deal, but since the story was published, KFC has denied it, and Ledington has backed away from his original assertion.