I keep seeing commercials heralding new offerings from fast food outlets who of course, are always looking to tap into America’s Aorta with what will be the latest gastronomic sensation. They employ exhaustive research, painstaking testing, massive advertising, and high-profile promotion to goad us into trying their latest brainchildren, which can literally change a franchises’ fortune if they click with the public.
That said, I don’t know what to make of some of the latest offerings from Kentucky Fried Chicken. It started with” popcorn” chicken, a manufacture chicken product far afowl from its source bird.
Then came chicken strips, served in a cardboard sleeve. Soon a meal in a bowl, something akin to a dumpster dive emerged from the KFC Test Kitchen. This culinary curiosity features food the way your dog likes it: heaped and ladled, a collision of flavors and textures, covering the color spectrum all the way from white to yellow (in other words, kind of brown).
We start with a generous serving of our creamy mashed potatoes, layered with sweet corn and loaded with bite-sized pieces of crispy chicken. Then we drizzle it all with our signature home-style gravy and top it off with a shredded three-cheese blend. It’s all your favorite flavors coming together.
I assume sales have been brisk, because it’s still on the menu. And these guys quickly abandon promotional dishes that fail to find loyal consumers. But there’s a problem with the Mashed Potato Bowl…it’s too complicated. After all, layered starch, fat and minimal protein smothered in hot gravy AND dairy requires a bowl–and an implement with which one can convey it for intake–aka a bowl AND a “Spork.” Apparently some folks think that’s just too labor-intensive and KFC Food Engineers must find the requisite supplies too burdensome.
In ensuing years, starch has gotten a bad rap, which presented KFC brass with a quandary: How to provide a tasty, caloric sandwich one can eat with one hand while eliminating the nasty starch of a bun? Chicken eaten by hand leaves greasy remnants. In the past, such remains warranted a Wet Nap but how long’s it been since you saw one of those come with your KFC order? They became another creature comfort that generated niggling logistics and ultimately, unwarranted expense. “Let them have grease.”
So, if we lose the bun AND Wet Nap, how do we serve up our tasty fried chicken sandwich in a manner that tempts drivers texting with one hand to caress the wheel while holding a sandwich in the other? The answer came from an unknown Food Scientist in KFC’s Test kitchen, daydreaming through a window adjacent to his workspace. Inspiration came in the form of a grove of trees, a prime source of paper: giddy-up–wrap it up!
Americans are used to eating from paper. Taco Bell patrons accidentally eat tons of it while driving. The human digestive system actually processes it with no apparent ill effects. And America loves a double. Double dips, double cheese, double decks, double bubble…double is good.
Enter “DOUBLE DOWN,” a marriage of 2 breaded fried or grilled chicken fillets, lovingly sandwiching double bacon and double cheese. NO BUN NEEDED!
The chicken fillets serve as the transport mechanism for the bacony, cheesy payload. But how can we eat it without grease running down our wrists to the carpet? WRAP IT UP! Brilliant! The Double Down Chicken sandwich was born. A chicken sandwich made by cooks too lazy to actually “sandwich” its pride, for eaters who presumably for “health” reasons want to forgo the starch of a bun by substituting a truckload of fat or perhaps think they can get away with eating this shit pile with one hand. American genius!
When my son first saw the ads, he said, “Holy shit…Can you BELIEVE the lack of ambition of those KFC food engineers? I mean, they look at a couple pieces of chicken, slap some cheese and bacon between them and say ‘They’ll never go for it. What now, a biscuit…A croissant…A hard roll…a hoagie bun? Oh, fuck it! Just drop the son of a bitch in a paper sleeve’! ” The Double Down was born. My son went on to devise a new KFC tag line: “Because we’re KFC – And We Just Don’t Care Any More”.
I haven’t tasted this sensation, just as I missed experiencing the wonder of the magnificent Mashed Potato Bowl, yet somehow my life doesn’t seem wanting as a result. How are they?
The Colonel must be spinning in his grave. Only in America!