An aside on Kentucky Fried Chicken. Back in the early 90s I worked my way through law school by substitute teaching in the SF School District. One of the more troubled schools was actually located in an affluent part of the city just to the south of Mount Davidson north of Ocean Street. Aptos Middle School gave me some of my worst memories (ironically, the schools in more troubled neighborhoods like Woodrow Wilson High and Horace Man Middle were very well run and presented very easy and enjoyable sub experiences).
Anyway, this kid in the sixth grade named Rashad was one of those very bright students who could do much better, but clearly undermotivated. When engaged he produced very good work, but if there were problems in the classroom he was often right in the thick of it. But we actually had a pretty good relationship and he genuinely seemed happy whenever he walked into the classroom to find me there in place of his teacher.
On this particular morning he wasn’t actually in any of my classes, but just before lunch he paid me a visit. After the preliminary greetings he puffed up his chest and said, “you know Kirk, I’m going to leave the school grounds.”
“Is that so?” I responded without looking up from my papers, trying to avoid whatever bait he was setting up for me. I think he just wanted to tell me that he was going to break rules by leaving campus and daring me to do something about it.
“Yep. He said. I’m going over to KFC and I’m gonna get me some hot wings.”
Now, at the time I didn’t know what hot wings were and I had no idea that Kentucky Fried Chicken had gone to the trendy initials to de-emphasize the word “fried” during the oat bran wave of health trends. So I responded, “Rashad, that’s nice. But what is KFC, and what are hot wings?”
It was probably only five seconds, but it seemed like about 30 seconds of an extremely demonstrative expression of incredulity. Sort of like people around here get when a tourist from the midwest tells them that the best stuff isn’t really grown here, but can be found in the fields of Indiana. And then he came out with the kicker.
“Man, you’re so caught up in the sixties, you don’t know what’s happening around you!”
Of course, I completely missed the sixties. When some of you reading were attending Woodstock and the various marches on Washington, I was pretty much in class reading Janet and Mark, There and Back Again, and watching Paddle to the Sea or The Red Balloon on a shaky old projector just blocks away from our conversation at what was then West Portal Elementary School. And my hair was short. Had more of it then I have now. But it’s been short since high school. Still, the comment reflected a unique perceptiveness on the part of the kid. Never figured out exactly where the comment came from.
The memory was triggered by a story on the latest offering from KFC, and if they want to de-emphasized “fried” in their marketing, they’re sure not doing it for the food no matter how many roasted alternatives they offer. The last time I think I ate at KFC was about a decade ago right in Eureka on Broadway. I bit into a thigh and the grease squirted across the table. Killed the mood even for the perpetually melted butter with biscuit and cole slaw. I’ve many weaknesses for food, but that just doesn’t appeal to me. Neither does the latest offering – the Double Down sandwich which puts bacon, cheese, and some kind of sauce in between two fried chicken breasts as in the promotional photo to your right. I’m often tempted by food which is horrible for me, and I even have a weakness for fried foods. But this photo grosses me out.
Nate Silver says that the sandwich might not be as bad for you as it looks. It only has the amount of calories of a Big Mac, which is like a celery stick on today’s scale apparently. Silver explains that by some measures it may be one of the worst sandwiches (sodium, every kind of bad fat, and cholesterol). At least it wouldn’t be too high in carbs.
Has anybody with an iron stomach reading this tried it?
Rashad would be about 30 now, and probably has to start thinking about what he’s eating. I wonder how many of these things he’s already downed.