KFC's Double Down
Much has been said, joked and embellished about KFC's Double Down.
If you already know about it or even had it yourself, this post will neither be timely nor informative.
I just felt the need to document, perhaps for my internist, that I ate it this week. The Double Down, as you know, has been called an abomination of marketing--a culmination of everything that's wrong about fast food culture and the latest in the kind of corporate one-upmanship that previously brought us Taco Bell's Crunchwrap Supreme™ and Hardee's Monster Biscuit™.
But first, a primer just in case you've been living in a grass hut the past couple of months: the Double Down is KFC's chicken sandwich where the bun is replaced by two deep-fried chicken breasts.
Inside, there are two slices of cheese, sauce, and of course, bacon. The bacon, I think, is a key ingredient, and not because it really brings anything to the party except more fat and salt (more on that later). No, the bacon is there because doing anything these days without bacon is like Lady Gaga without the bizarre outfits.
Bacon = Bras That Shoot Fire = Attention.
Yet despite it all (actually, because of it all) I wanted none of it. I avoided it as if it were a movie with live action animals that talk. I even turned down my editor's request to do a piece on it. My fellow Weekling, Das Ubergeek, was finally stuck with the task. His last words were to remind us that he took one for the team. (I haven't forgotten, Dave, I haven't forgotten).
But then with a product which seemed designed like a college fraternity dare (Dude, try this thing I made last night!), I finally tried one because someone dared me.
"Aw c'mon. You're a food blogger. It is your duty to at least try it!" a friend (and the soon-to-be, bunless-chicken-sandwich co-conspirator you see pictured above) goaded.
So I caved and went.
It's true what everyone's said. It's salty. Insanely and almost unbearingly so. That first bite is like a sodium shock to the system. Every pore of my tongue got immediately parched, robbed dry of moisture. I'm telling you, you can melt driveway ice or cure meat with the amount of salt that's in this thing. It's not just the breading either; every millimeter of the flesh is super-saturated with sodium.
But then a strange thing happened. On the second bite, and every successive chew afterward, my mouth became acclimated. Like the proverbial frog in hot water, I started building up a tolerance. It actually stopped tasting salty, and started being edible. And the bacon? Pretty soon, it didn't even taste like bacon, but a flavorless piece of nothing, which really says something about how overwhelming the salt content was.
With my shell-shocked tastebuds dulled, I actually found myself saying to my friends, "Hey, this isn't that bad. Stick it between two slices of bread and you get a $5 chicken sandwich. It's sort of anti-climatic actually."
...Which is when I got cocky. I decided that hot sauce was what it needed. So I opened a packet with a picture of the colonel on it and poured the entire contents over the remainder of the "sandwich". That, mi amigos, was a mistake. Now it was even saltier, and also soaked in sour vinegary-ness.
I must have drank 10 cups of water that afternoon to rehydrate myself.
So, doctor, if you're reading this, for the record, I only had one Double Down. It was my first, and I promise, it will be my last.
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Irvine, CA 92604-2850
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