The Unbearable Banishment: Every food snob’s nightmare

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Every food snob’s nightmare

Here in America, our friends at KFC have invented a new way to delight our taste buds and murder us en masse. Their new Double Down sandwich eschews bread as being tasteless filler. It places in your hands, two pieces of fried chicken with white American cheese, bacon and “Colonel’s sauce” (aka, mayonnaise) between them.

The New York Times, that bastion of food snobbery sent its restaurant critic, Sam Sifton, out to try one on its inaugural day. This is just a stupid stunt. What did they think he was going to write? That it was a satisfying meal? He had some pretty good lines, but his review wasn‘t surprising. He said the sandwich was…

…a new low: a greasy entree dish of chicken with bacon and cheese on it, slathered in sauce, that the company asks customers to eat with their hands. The chicken is watery within its soft casing of “crust,” the cheese familiar to anyone who has eaten food prepared by the United States government, the bacon chemical in its smokiness, the mayonnaise sauce tangy, salty, and sweet, all at once.

He went on to call the workers behind the counter “dour and slow moving.” Hey, Sam. Fuck you. Have you ever had to work in a fast food joint? Do you know what an insufferable, exhausting, soul-sucking experience it is? Sorry there's no maître d’ at the KFC, you little bitch. I hope a fast food employee gives you a proper ass-whupping. You deserve one.

He did concede that the fries “weren’t bad,” but in a final toss-off said the sandwich was “a disgusting meal, a must-to-avoid.” Why does this annoy me so much? I probably won’t ever eat one, but I might. I don’t mind crap food in controlled doses. But his condescending attitude got under my skin. Asshole.


Anonymous Breigh said...

I see a lot about this new sandwich all over the internet. I'll be curious to see if they get it here in the Netherlands. I honestly don't think I'd enjoy something like that without the bread. It'd just be too much meat with nothing to break it up.

April 15, 2010 at 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes me gag just thinking about it-barf

April 15, 2010 at 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Have you ever had to work in a fast food joint? Do you know what an insufferable, soul-sucking experience it is?"

Love this post and how you gave that " critic " the big smack down.

I sadly have had the honor of several positions in fast food joints although never a KFC. If I told you all the jobs I held before and during my university days, you be surprised at the variety.

One constant in all of them was the well developed sense of empathy I had for those folks for whom it it was not a temporary stop on the way to something better.

April 15, 2010 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Here In Franklin said...

I love chicken, bacon, cheese and mayo, just in different combinations. I wonder if the NYT would've published a rave review?

April 15, 2010 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

It's funny that we will run to the defense of something that is almost indefensible because it's critic is even more intolerable than mayo, bacon and processed cheese food served between two pieces of fried chicken.

April 15, 2010 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

if they'd really wanted an honest review of the new sandwich, the nyt should have told the critic to stand outside and ASK the people who were buying and eating the sandwich what they thought of it. i read the entire review and i agree with you re: his attitude. xoxox

April 15, 2010 at 3:50 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Breigh: Welcome!I believe this is my first comment from the Netherlands. My standards are pretty low for food so I could probably grab one of these if I was in a hurry and not suffer for it.

MT: Have you tried it? Don't judge.

GOTJ: I, too, have had some pretty awful jobs. I worked in a breadcrumb factory once. I'm sensitive to snooty people picking on the service industry.

HIF: The Times would NEVER have said anything positive. They think it would damage their reputation.

Cat: He didn't have to write in that tone. He could have approached it differently. Again, I say, asshole.

Savannah: That's a fantastic idea. Totally unbiased opinions without an agenda (unlike the Times).

April 15, 2010 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Breadcrumb factory ... whew ... did I ever mention my time in the chicken factory, chocolate factory, or textile mill? I bet we might have some similar stories to share. Life can sure be a crazy journey.

April 15, 2010 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger leahsimone said...

What an ass. And guess what? I went to school with him...

April 15, 2010 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

GOTJ: You get the gold for crap jobs. I only get a bronze.

Leah: Did you read him when he wrote for the New York Press? A free newspaper? He forgot his humble beginnings in a hurry.

April 15, 2010 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger leahsimone said...

Yeah, I did. Sometimes the Times really pisses me off. It can be so elitist. As a whole--and individual writers. Not always, but when it is, it's dreadful.

And I bet a thousand bucks I could happily "choke" down more than few bites of that...

April 15, 2010 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was a very brief stint as a waitress in a Big Boy restaurant in my hometown that forever made me a better restaurant customer.

i can tell you, that sandwich will sell well in my part of the world. we are what we eat. and my midwest is bacon and cheese!

April 15, 2010 at 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He did concede that the fries “weren’t bad,”

KFC fries "not bad"? They're fucking awful. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.

April 15, 2010 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Nimpipi said...

There are food snobs in India too. But we're usually spared the condescension. I feel vindicated. Serves us Indian hacks right for worshipping NYT and believing it to be a yardstick of journalism. I work for a newspaper in Delhi. Last week, my colleagues and I were amazed at this story:

The la di dah NYT gets away with doing stories that we here have "done to death".

Sigh. No fair.

In other news, though I avoid KFC as much as any calorie-obsessed 25-year-old girl hung up on remaining thin, I sometimes like a zinger burger for lunch -- mayo, cheese and all. :)

P.S: Hello. Been subscribing to your feeds for a while. I enjoy reading you.

April 16, 2010 at 4:39 AM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

I'm sure KFC stocks took a hammering following his review. Oh, wait -

April 16, 2010 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: Big Boy! That takes me back. Was it still Manner's Big Boy at the time? My first gig was at a Howard Johnson's. That made me a better restaurant customer, too. No more fried clams, please.

Rob: I agree. I hate steak fries. Burger King has nice fries, but McDonald's has better sammiches.

Nim: Welcome! And thank you so much for your kind words. I think snobbery is part of the human condition and can be found in any quadrant of the globe.

Kykn: Yes, I believe KFC is doing just fine (and will continue to do fine), despite Sifton's harsh words.

April 16, 2010 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

RECOMMENDATION: Scroll up a bit to Nimpipi's comment. Click on her blog and read a few posts. They're quite good. And I'm not just saying that because she paid me a compliment. She doesn't post all that often but unlike my "quantity" approach, she seems to concentrate on quality.

April 16, 2010 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

I love KFC! I think I would love that new sandwich! I can only have it a few times a year though, as a treat, and then I have to have the rest of the day off, and be near a vacant toilet! :¬)

(WV = cringst!)

April 16, 2010 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

I love me some fried chicken. But not that sandwich, I think.

April 16, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Poindexter said...

A frigging food critic a KFC? What in the world do they expect? I love your perspective on the high-brow snobbery!

April 16, 2010 at 10:14 AM  
Anonymous annie said...

My stomach hurts just looking that it. A couple of bites would flush my colon like a salt-water cleanse and probably faster.

I worked fast food. Joyless soul-sucking was the high-point.

April 16, 2010 at 10:22 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Map: I love KFC too! Are you an original recipe or extra crispy man? Do you know what’s great? I can come to Ireland, get a meal at a KFC and it’ll be the EXACT SAME meal I’d get in Midtown Manhattan.

Ellie: Ask Mrs. Wife. I am ALL ABOUT fried chicken. Part of me is tempted to try one of these.

Point: New York City can be the epicenter of snobbery at times. No place is perfect and that’s the part of this city that makes me ill. Parents on the Upper East Side jockeying to get kids into the “right” kindergarten because it will look good on their Ivy League application. It’s nauseating.

Annie: My body would reject this sandwich, as well. In the most violent way imaginable, to boot. Your fast food comment made me laugh out loud. I don’t do that too often.

April 16, 2010 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

Yeah, I hate condescending assholes too. Seems they're everywhere.

I, too, spent a very short time waitressing at a Big Boy restaurant as a teenager. I learned sooo much, and I hope I never ever have to take a job like that again...

I'll try anything - no food snob here, and i guess that is part of my problem.... It would do me good to be a bit more discriminating...

April 16, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh, I heard about this on NPR. I was trying to fathom what it looked like. I have plenty of foodie friends at work--the kind who only shop at whole foods. this guy sounds like he'd get along with them.

April 16, 2010 at 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2 = Amanda, by the way.

April 16, 2010 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger Nimpipi said...

Awwwww. Kind man is you, Unbearable B. I got some love. =)

April 17, 2010 at 5:05 AM  
Blogger LibraryGirl62 said...

True story: as I was reading this, my jock 16 y.o. son sees the KFC commercial ...

SON: That's whole days worth of calories Mom
ME: you know you want one
SON: well, yeah,

May 1, 2010 at 12:43 PM  

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