November 10, 2010

Pushing the envelope (or better yet – the chicken cutlet)

Posted in Just for fun at 11:10 am by Jennifer

Mae West once said; “When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.” So for the purposes of this week’s blog post I put forth a personal challenge that would settle my own morbid curiosity while at the same time test the limits of friendship and stomach acids. A quick thank you wrapped in an apology sprinkled with Pepto Bismol to Elliott Pen (@tootightoque) for his very reluctant participation away from the mainly vegan contents of his fridge into the fast food industry.

Ladies and gentleman, yesterday we tried the KFC Double Down. If you haven’t heard of it the creation consists of “bacon, two different kinds of melted cheese, the Colonel’s ‘secret’ sauce in between two pieces of Original Recipe chicken fillets”. That’s right; the fried chicken is the “bun”.

Fast food marketing is a category all to itself. Concerns over calorie content are swept aside with clever campaigns that use humour, nostalgia or promises of a great tasting product. Otherwise they try to prove themselves a healthier option than the competition. A while back Torontoist tried the KFC Double Down so I wouldn’t have to but really they just made me curiouser and curiouser, like Alice falling down that rabbit hole to take a bite of greasy chicken. Elliott and I strolled into KFC on Queen West, placed our order and gave it a try.

One interesting thing about fast food advertising is the visual representation; the real thing didn’t look much like the ad in the doorway. Elliott pointed out that the Double Down in front of him looked sort of like a human heart, which was fitting since this is exactly the organ that would be getting clogged momentarily.

 

The KFC Double Down is not healthy. We know it, they know it, the media knows it. So when they set out to promote this menu item crossing the border to Canadian soil they didn’t even attempt to hide the fact that this is one of the unhealthiest things we have seen in a long time – impressive since Canada is the land of poutine. (Note: photos were all taken with an iPhone and we were playing around with an app called “Hipstamatic”.)

Me: “It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t good either. It was way too salty but that’s what KFC is – salty fried chicken so no surprise there. I didn’t finish it, and after eating it I felt pretty drained and tired. I think that food should be something to enjoy, and when I indulge in fast food I would rather it be a really good burger or something made relatively fresh. I haven’t eaten at KFC in a long time, and don’t think I’ll be grabbing for a piece of their chicken any time soon. After trying our Double Downs, Elliott and I sat quietly on the couch and ate oranges. That was the best tasting orange of my life.”

Elliott: “I’ll admit going into this ‘experiment’ I had my reservations about the sandwich. Not only for its blatant disregard for the Canadian Food Guide but also the overly macho ad campaign. Food shouldn’t be a challenge, and while waiting in line I almost expected the counter-person to offer me a t-shirt for even having the gall to order this monstrosity. As for the taste, well, I may not have the most honed pallet capable of sussing out notes of lavender in a particular wine but I do recognize when sodium dominates my taste buds. I don’t believe in my entire life I’ve ever described something as ‘too salty’ but that is what the Double Down is, a salty mess. And for all you fans of the sandwich take note, despite being a vegetarian I was a good sport and took three suitable bites. My first three bites of KFC product in 15 years, and my last for the rest of my life.”

Well regardless of how the things tasted, this is my favorite kind of PR – not the fact that this is a very unhealthy product that I do not think people should be eating but because it’s honest and transparent. The flaws and shortcomings are out in the open and they are not trying to deceive anyone. Not everything in this world is or will be good for you, but when companies are open about the risks associated with their products it lends itself to a better sense of corporate responsibility in my opinion.

Apparently they’re only being sold in Canada until November 14, 2010 so if you really want to try one you have just four days left. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to eat my fourth piece of fruit for the day.

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10 Comments »

  1. Sean Ward said,

    I have not tried the double down.

    I had a great idea for a video called “Doubling Down on the Double Down” in which i eat two of them. I didn’t make that video.

    • It’s probably for the best that you didn’t… I would have had to rush you to the nearest cardiac centre. 😉

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Denise J Atkins, Jennifer Ouellette. Jennifer Ouellette said: I'm so sorry @tootighttoque …but you were a really good sport! 😉 http://tiny.cc/otoc8 […]

  3. Elliott said,

    Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction where Butch and Marsalis are tied up in the basement waiting for Zed to arrive? That’s how I felt the entire day prior to this experiment.

    Here’s the truth, I am a staunch opponent of fast food in general. This stuff doesn’t need to exist in any form anywhere ever. I’m a fan of shopping for groceries properly and instead of taking the time to walk to a McDonalds, Harvey’s, or KFC you can easily have a more satisfying and nutritious meal, and typically for less money. The fact someone at KFC thought removing the bun in effort to jam more meat in people’s mouths is deplorable.

    I believe one of my favourite comics Patton Oswalt sums up KFC wonderfully in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfan5MacmsI

    • You’re a good sport Elliott. You know I agree with you, I don’t eat fast food often and prefer to cook meals from scratch than to duck into a fast food chain. But every once in a while…

      I’ll make you vegan mac and cheese sometime this weekend as a “thank you” for participating. 🙂

  4. Lex said,

    We plan(ned) to try it, sharing between two of us because the “challenge” part of it is just to much for us to turn away from. But we haven’t yet.
    I like KFC but haven’t had it in years. It’s always too salty and I think the flavour memory from the occasional taste from childhood is better than the actuality. Add the fact that they discontinued the only salad I could stomach and their fries are coated, which is disgusting, and there is very little draw to get me back into a KFC.
    Every time I see the ad for the Double Down I wonder if they’d let me order it with lettuce and tomato instead of the cheese and bacon. Which says something, though I’m not sure what.

    • I’m curious now if they would actually let you “modify” an order of the Double Down or if it’s an “as is” sort of menu item. I don’t think I’ll be trying another one anytime soon, so if you ask for this let me know how it goes!

      And I agree about sharing one, they are pretty big and after a few bites neither of us wanted any more. It was too much salt, too much grease, too much meat… it was just too much.

  5. Samantha said,

    It’s like the Baconator; you have to be stoned and/or drunk to enjoy the monstrosity of it.

    • If you need mind altering substances to injest something maybe people shouldn’t be eating it. I’m just saying!

  6. LOL: “My first three bites of KFC product in 15 years, and my last for the rest of my life.”


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