Monday, July 5, 2010

KFC Double Down

American food preferences are difficult to understand. There always seem to be multiple trends existing, however discordantly, at the same time. It usually boils down to two main paths - one wholesomely packing as many nutrients into food as possible, and one optimizing the number of calories for the fewest dollars spent. The former gives us the current wave of organic, locally-grown produce and livestock. The latter yields the convenience foods with fast-food chains and other restaurants finding new and more absurd ways of getting more calories into every bite. The focus of this post is on this sector that is often shunned and belittled, despite its influence on our food and our culture.

As America became a more prosperous nation in the twentieth century, with food aplenty and mass production in full swing, fast food came into existence. Simple menus including burgers, the quintessential, hand-held, American cuisine, expanded to include French fries, fried chicken, milkshakes, and just about anything else that someone on roller skates can carry. A spinoff of this sector is the fried foods, so often beloved at state fairs and in home kitchens. If you've ever had a fried Twinkie, Oreo or PB&J sandwich, you can thank the rise of of McDonald's and Burger King. While some fast-food joints are trying to show their lighter side (eliminating super-sizing, offering salads and displaying calorie counts), at the same time they develop new and ever more creative vittles. The newest kid on the block is KFC's Double Down.

KFC Double Down

The formula is simple and almost right out of an American elementary school textbook: 2 fried chicken breasts + 2 slices of pepper jack + 2 strips of bacon + 1 squirt of spicy mayonnaise = 1 Double-Down. After my stomach stopped churning at the thought of the fat and sodium alone, my mouth started to water. But I knew I could not tackle the bunless 600 calories alone, so I found a friend to split this monster. After seeing all the commercials, I was a little underwhelmed by the size of the sandwich. It was probably about the size of my fist (and I have smaller-than average sized hands). But it does pack a punch on your tummy. In reality, this "sandwhich" is just a sum of its parts. It tasted fine. Nothing spectacular or life-changing about this next step in our fast-food evolution. But this may just be an intermediary on the way to the next big thing to hit the food world. Try it if you dare...or maybe just have a salad.

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