In an article about the history of Australia’s favourite condiment, Adam Liaw described a rumour that circulated around his high school.
“As far as rumours go, it wasn’t particularly salacious. The word on the street was simply that [my childhood friend] Jodie’s dad had invented Australia’s most beloved of seasonings: chicken salt.”
After publishing the article, Adam was thrilled to see that a user named PeterBrinkworth had reached out.
“My name is Peter. I’m the person Adam has been looking for, I’m Jodie’s dad,” a comment read.
“I sold my business to the Mitani family around 1980 – with the sale went the original recipe for chicken salt. I can tell you the present-day chicken salt has little resemblance to the original.”
Adam got another lead when he received an email from Jodie herself, who sent him her dad’s phone number to find out the truth.
He got straight on the phone.
“G’day, Adam. I’ve been waiting to hear from you.”
According to Peter, chicken shops in the 70s did little to season their chickens, and he experimented with flavour, always trying to improve. His original recipe included onion powder, celery salt, paprika, chicken bouillon and monosodium glutamate. The colour came from curry powder.
The salt was an instant hit at his family chicken shop. Peter is now retired, and doesn’t like to buy readily-available commercial varieties of chicken salt, because it tastes nothing like it used to.
Sydney-based Hannah Oakshott is a tea-obsessed pop culture enthusiast who can usually be found showing people pictures of her two miniature schnauzers or baking sweet, lemony food. Hannah is on Instagram @hannah.mareeee