"I Ate the KFC Double Down" and 25 Other Reasons to Hate Myself

Categories: The Critic
kfcdoubledowneaten.jpg
John Linn
Into the belly of the beast...
I did it. In the interest of the blog (and curiosity), I tried the new KFC Double Down

The "sandwich," featuring fried chicken breast strips in place of buns, is being marketed as an excessive, meaty, egregious offering. And it is.

I ate one for lunch yesterday, and it was just what I expected. The greasy fried chicken was basically the restaurant chain's chicken strips stuffed with bacon and cheese. The bacon was soggy, and the cheese was melted solely by the carryover heat of the strips. With only fried chicken to hold onto instead of a bun, you have to eat one by holding onto a greasy wax paper wrapper. And there's very little contrast to it as well: It's just meat and cheese. (And yes, it was hellaciously salty.) As one commenter pointed out in yesterday's post, what it most resembled was a really low-rent chicken cordon bleu.

In summation, it wasn't the worst piece of fast food I've ever eaten. Nor was it the best.

The marketing of the product, however, is undeniably gross.

On the surface, the Double Down appears as an extraordinarily indulgent offering that plays on our nation's worst food habits. This despite the fact that the controversy surrounding it (including this letter from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) is a little misplaced. If you look at the raw facts, KFC's Double Down is not nearly as high-calorie as similar fast-food chicken sandwiches. For example, Burger King's Tendercrisp chicken sandwich has 800 calories, and its original chicken sandwich has 630, versus the Double Down's 540. A McDonald's premium crispy chicken sandwich has nearly the same amount of calories at 530.

I wonder if the PCRM sent a release like this to McDonald's when it debuted its Premium Chicken Club Sandwich, which has 630 calories?

Don't get me wrong: I'm not giving the Double Down a free pass. Comparing the nutritional value of one piece of fast food versus another is like saying it's better to die from a heart attack and not cancer. And if the Double Down is not the worst piece of fast food for you on the planet, it's only an indicator of just how out of whack our food values have gotten.

The backlash against the late-'90s health food boom hasn't run out of steam yet, it seems. It's almost like people have become proud of their right to consume the most unhealthy food possible. It's almost as if, by eating this stuff, people feel they are exercising their freedom as Americans to kill themselves slowly. And, apparently, freedom tastes just like trans fats. 

Even worse is this rampant obsession with meat. Yes, I love burgers, bacon, steaks, and pork. But the fact that a company can now just salaciously market a product as a meat overload and people will clamor for it is sort of sad. I mean, the best sandwiches (including burgers) have balance of ingredients: fresh bread, vegetables, and meat. (This coming from a blog that features a column solely about meat.)

I'm not going to argue that meat for meat's sake is wasteful and unhealthy (although it is). The simple fact is it just doesn't taste as good.

For example, I love bacon. But I love it most when it comes as part of a breakfast with eggs, potatoes, and toast. I also don't want to eat burgers every day of the week or top my pizza with so much pepperoni that Shell Oil could set up an oil derrick on the crust.

In my review of the Office, I talk a little bit about this phenomenon as well. That restaurant has some tasty food, for sure. But it's also so fat-, starch-, and bacon-obsessed that it makes me wonder what direction dining out in South Florida is headed.

Ordering a Double Down yesterday made me feel disgusting, like I was so fat-obsessed that I just had to get this thing into my body. It reminded me of this recent clip from South Park.
 


Is this clip parody? Or tragedy? I'm not really sure.

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