Chicago Tribune's Jay Jones traveled to Corbin, Kentucky, to talk with Colonel Sanders' nephew, Joe Ledington. The piece Jones was working on was for Chicago Tribune's travel section, and surely he wasn't expected to come across this hugely kept secret.
Jones reports that he was able to meet with Ledington in the same restaurant in which Colonel Harland Sanders first began serving his famous fried chicken. The restaurant has been kept to resemble it's original look from the mid-19th century, with a shop all about KFC added onto it. Jones sat down with Ledington and his wife to discuss family memories.
Little did Jones know that he'd stumble across the famed 11 secret spices that go into making the chicken. It was while Ledington was flipping through an old photo album that Jones noticed the list on the back of Claudia's (the Colonel's second wife) will.
Jones stopped him and asked if this was the list of spices; the famously secret list? Ledington replied that it was a familiar list, as he had helped make the chicken during his childhood. He shared with Jones that the main ingredient, to his mind, was the white pepper. "I call that the secret ingredient. Nobody [in the 1950s] knew what white pepper was. Nobody knew how to use it."
When asked whether or not this was the actual list, KFC's parent company Yum! Brands, seems to evade the question. They claim that no one has gotten the recipe right, yet.
It seems like a pretty specific list to have on the back of a will, though. Is it coincidence that there happens to be 11 spices on it? I choose to believe it isn't.