KFC has been in the news for some odd reasons during the past few months.

Whether it’s Donald Trump eating the store’s food with a fork and knife, the company developing a nail polish that is set to be released in Hong Kong… or the company releasing a fried chicken-smelling sunscreen.

Well, they’re in the news again now after Joe Ledington, a nephew of the original Colonel Sanders, revealed a napkin during an interview with the Chicago Tribune which claims to show the 11-ingredient recipe that has been the secret to success for KFC.

Ledington claims to have found the recipe in a photo album that belonged to his aunt. The recipe is written on a napkin in blue ink and starts with the phrase “11 Spices — Mix with 2 Cups White Fl.” Here’s what the rest of the napkin said:

1.) 2/3 Ts. Salt
2.) 1/2 Ts. Thyme
3.) 1/2 Ts. Basil
4.) 1/3 Ts. Oregano
5.) 1 Ts. Celery Salt
6.) 1 Ts. Black Pepper
7.) 1 Ts. Dried Mustard
8.) 4 Ts. Paprika
9.) 2 Ts. Garlic Salt
10.) 1 Ts. Ground Ginger
11.) 3. Ts. White Pepper

According to Ledington, the key ingredient of this mix is the white pepper. He said that when the recipe was first used, white pepper wasn’t commonly used.

Since Ledington released the napkin, he has since backed off the claim that this is definitely the secret recipe. Others have claimed in the past to have had the secret recipe.

Probably the most famous previous find occurred more than 15 years ago, when a couple in Shelbyville, Ky., said they stumbled upon what could be the secret recipe in the basement of the home they bought from Harland and Claudia Sanders in the ’70s. Tommy and Cherry Settle reportedly found the recipe written on a piece of paper tucked inside a 1964 datebook.

KFC’s parent company responded by suing the Settles. The case was dropped after corporate officials concluded the recipe wasn’t even close to the original.

KFC has since responded to Ledington’s claim. The company still says that the secret recipe has yet to be revealed.

A KFC spokesperson responded via email:

“In the 1940’s, Colonel Sanders developed the original recipe chicken to be sold at his gas station diner. At the time, the recipe was written above the door so anyone could have read it. But today, we go to great lengths to protect such a sacred blend of herbs and spices. In fact, the recipe ranks among America’s most valuable trade secrets.”

I tried again, adding that a “yes,” “no” or “no comment” would be helpful.

The response:

“Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one’s ever been right.”

Based on Ledington’s testimony, it’s easy to believe his logic. KFC became popular by using an ingredient, white pepper, that wasn’t commonly used in American kitchens. Thus, the fried chicken became popular all over the world.

Then, however, America discovered white pepper and the chicken became less popular. It’s hard to argue with Ledington’s argument and it’s perfectly plausible that KFC might be denying the fact that its trademark recipe has been outed.

[Uproxx/Chicago Tribune]

About Ryan Williamson

Ryan is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri and has recently returned to his Minnesota roots. He previously has worked for the Columbia Missourian, KFAN radio in Minneapolis and BringMeTheNews.com. Feel free to email me at rwilliamson29 AT Gmail dot com.