No, they didn’t really say that to me when I went to the nearest KFC to finally get my paws on the biggest thing to hit fast food since the McDLT. But they may as well have, considering the gluttonous demand for the thing that was evident at this particular outpost (which almost certainly reflects an equally ravenous demand nationwide).
The first thing I noticed when I entered the establishment (other than the utter lack of counter service for walk-in customers) was a girl behind the counter informing a guy in the drive-thru lane that they were out of the fried chicken fillets, and whether he would be “all right” with the grilled Double Down. Noting the man’s lofty carriage, I found it hard to believe he would be “all right” with the grilled. Maybe “kinda okay,” but certainly not “all right.” He reluctantly acquiesced.
This clearly wasn’t that guy’s first Double Down, or else, like me, he surely would have stood his ground and waited for the fried one. I was told that I’d have to “wait a few minutes” for them to fry up some new fillets. They even gave me a free soda to apologize for the wait. Well-played, Colonel.
During this intermission, I should note that the Double Down “sandwich” (if it can be called such a thing) costs $4.99 a la carte, which puts it squarely in the realm of “premium” fast food items, alongside McDonald’s Angus Third Pounders (which are disgusting) and the Carl’s Jr. Six Dollar Burgers (also gross). The economy being what it is, I ordered merely two Double Downs, and resigned myself to having to ration the portions out among myself and my friends and family.
Unlike some critics, I was actually rather looking forward to the Double Down’s release, partly because of culinary curiosity, and partly for its symbolic slap-in-the-face to organic food Nazis and sanctimonious Fast Food Nation-reading drones who have of late terrorized the hungry populace. (FYI: I am currently reading Fast Food Nation. Best thing about it: the relatively thorough discussion of the history of the fast food industry and how it is related to other trends in mid-century America. Worst thing: the author’s arrogant expectation of your moral outrage.)
Back to the chicken: I watch as a girl tongs a few chicken fillets onto some paper wrappers, squeezes some sauce onto them out of a plastic bottle, and tops them with two slices of cheese and a strip of bacon torn in half with her bare fingers. And so, after about 20 minutes in this “fast food” joint, the Double Down is mine. How does it taste? Delicious. How could it not be delicious? It’s two KFC chicken fillets hugging bacon, cheese, and a creamy sauce that (like the rest of this hunk of gustatory delight) has been chemically engineered to be pleasing to normal human taste buds.
Is this the end of human civilization? Hardly. The Double Down is no worse than a double cheeseburger with bacon and mayo, and most people consider that perfectly sane. Or think of it this way: the last time your mom, er, ahem, your significant other, brought home a bucket of KFC, how many pieces of chicken did you eat? Two? I rest my case. Yes, there’s bacon, as well, but as any anthropologist will tell you, bacon has long been an essential food in every human civilization. It’s a common denominator, like wine or potatoes. As it says in Deuteronomy, “Therefore eateth ye of the fat of the swine, and your generations shall be fruitful upon the earth.” And let me quote Leviticus: “Verily, a man shall cleave unto his poultry, and his hoggish brood shall comfort him all the days of his life. I am the Lord thy God.”
KFC Double Down – the chosen sandwich.