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I did something that I regret.

I did something that I can’t take back – that I can never take back – that I can never take back.

It is rare that I go into my little eating adventures under such a pall of nervousness – but – the day that I stumbled into the roadside attraction that is my nearest neighborhood McDonald’s with the intention of eating the McMarketing McPhenomenon that I had been hearing about for years and years, I knew that things would never be the same again. I had never had a McRib and I was terrified.

Yeah – no – seriously. I – the person that has made it one of my life’s missions to go out and eat the ridiculous – had never eaten a McRib. It seems McRidiculous.

I’m going to try to drop the “Mc” prefixes for a minute – to try to make this review easier to read than the meal was to eat. Indeed.

I knew very little about the McRib – other than it was oval, it was slathered with bar-b-que sauce and there were “bones” pressed into it. I had never been able to wrap my brain around this “pork” bar-b-que sandwich – and what pressed in “bones” meant. I was afraid of what I didn’t know. I was afraid to go into the night. Into the dark, dark, darkness.

I got my box – yep, it comes in a box . . . so there is some class in that – and I opened it. Absolutely no love went into the mess that I was looking at. There were only two pickles – so a third of the sandwich would be pickle free – much to my chagrin – because pickles have a way of making everything in the world a little bit better – vinegar will do that. There were also only about ten small pieces of onion – which left vast swaths of creepily textured swimming-in-sauce meatstuff bare for my imagination to behold. The “bones” were beyond as odd as I figured that they might be.

After twelve and a half minutes, I realized that I had been quietly sitting – just looking into the abyss that was going to be my lunch. I gulped, my hand went out and I took hold. It was either going to be the best thing that I had ever eaten – in which case I would rue all of the wasted years of my life . . . or – it was going to be the end of me. There was no way that there was going to be any kind of grey area with this thing – – – other than the pearlescent grey area between the bun – where the patty was supposed to be – that I noticed after taking my first bite.

Speaking of the first bite – I made sure to get some pickle and some onion – to make sure that I was getting a best case scenario. The bun was a bun. There was nothing special about it – but – it also didn’t let me down at all. I certainly wouldn’t kick it out of my bread box – if I found out that it had run away from the terrible life of holding a pressed piece of hell for the rest of it’s short time on the Earth. I would sit that bun down – and I would let it know that everything’s going to be okay. Shhhhhhhh, Little Bun, everything is going to be a-okay.

I may have been traumatized by the McRib. It may have been too much for me. It may have been too much.

I hit a wall on the third bite. I didn’t think that I was going to be able to finish it. It was terrible on so many levels that my brain stopped being able to process the errors that were pouring in. Maybe it was a texture thing – because the bread, onions, pickles and sauce were fine. Maybe the pressed “bones” idea was still getting to me. I wasn’t going to be able to finish.

My meal came with a small Coke. I was miserable at myself for not getting a larger Coke . . . I could have taken a bite and then taken a swig and then taken another swig and so on. Instead – I had to take several bites in between getting to take a drink. I wished that I had a pool filled with Coke – that I could have taken a dive into after every bite. I needed the taste distraction. I needed the acid to combat the misery that I was ingesting.

Eventually, I took my last bite. I had eaten the whole thing. I had beaten this particular dragon down. And then it hit me. I didn’t feel so good. My reaction was so quick and so violent that I wasn’t really sure what to do. I was feverishly driving home – like a wild animal running from a forest fire. My stomach was cramping. My mind was sprinting to try to come to terms with what I had just eaten. I was sweating. I feel like I could have stopped on the way to McDonald’s, poured a little bar-b-que sauce onto a pickle – with a bit of onion and licked a skunk and I would have been better off. At least slightly.

I got home and heartily embraced my hero – Extra-Strength Pepto-Bismol – and after a little bit of hang-out time on the cool tiles of the bathroom floor (full disclosure here – I didn’t explode – I was just too queasy to move any further) I was good(ish) to go.

Now – speaking of heros. Let me be your hero here. Let me get up on my pedestal of protection and scream to you to avoid getting – or even walking past – one of these sandwiches. They are some sort of potentially hazardous maybe extraplanetary pressed evil – only put onto this planet to hurt your stomach’s very soul. Stand down, back away and know that you will be a better person for it.

As if to taunt me further – a commercial for the McRib – a regular siren song – just played on my television. I watched the commercial. I looked at the sandwich. My eyes started to water and my stomach turned away like a cowed cur in a cage.

I know that I promised to avoid the use of McDumb McPrefixes – – – but – – – the only way that I can wrap up this review is with one super-appropriate word – and that is to say that eating the McRib made me feel nothing more and nothing less than McNasty.

I have had a love affair with the ultimate spicy chicken sandwich in the business for many years . . . it has always treated me so – so right with it’s delicately sweet bun, leaf of lettuce, smear of mayo and perfectly fried and deliciously spiced chicken breast. In a world ruled by burgers – it was my haven. It was my respite. It was my shelter. I would drive by it’s home and my Pavlov mouth would start to water – even if I was already full in the belly. It was perfection – and – our relationship was bliss.

Then, something wonderfully disruptive happened . . . a new spicy chicken sandwich moved into town. I found myself looking over and past my old love to try to sneak a glimpse at the new hotness. My old sandwich seemed clunky and thrown together. It’s foibles – which I had found so endearing for so long – were now just blemishes. It’s halo’s shine was dull. It was nothing that I ever intended. It was nothing that I ever could have imagined happening . . . I was officially in love with two sandwiches – with my heart (and arteries) distinctly leaning much harder in the direction of the new – the exciting – the unknown.

It was a delicate situation – and – I knew that I would have to deal with it. It wasn’t fair to any of us to keep the charade going. No one in this triangle deserved to be left hanging. Decisions would have to be made – and – they wouldn’t be easy decisions.

I sat my old sandwich down – for the remainder I will refer to her as Wendy – and explained that it wasn’t her – it was me – and what a horrible person that I was – and that I hated that all of this was happening. She just sat there – crispy, spicy and – no doubt still delicious and said “Does this have anything to do with the new Spicy Chicken Sandwich at Chik-fil-a?” I jumped out of my seat and exclaimed to the sky that “You know it chicken!!”

Then the most magical thing happened. Wendy sighed and asked me to tell her all about the new Chik. Against my better judgement, I just started going on and on about how Chik-fil-a – who was already in possession of the simplest and most perfect chicken sandwich in the universe had done the impossible and made their sandwich even better. I told her about the buttered bun with the two or three pickles placed on top of the bottom bun. I exalted at how the spicy juices had been melded to the chicken through some otherworldly wizardry . . . then I broke down and told Wendy that I loved the new Chik-fil-a spicy chicken sandwich. A tear crept out of my eye. I reached out and Wendy just said “No.” then after a pause that lingered in the air “Go to Chik-fil-a . . . It’s what you want anyway.”

And I did.

After time, the wounds have healed – somewhat. I still see Wendy every so often – but – I know that it will never be the way that it used to be . . . because just over the fast food lunch horizon – there will always be the new Chik-fil-a spicy chicken sandwich beckoning me to come running.

Chik-fil-a . . . you have made the best spicy chicken sandwich on the block. You get a gold star. You get a blue ribbon. I hope that you aren’t some sort of special trial offer – because – I would be lost without you . . . and – at this point – Wendy won’t have me back – and there is no way that I could possible stomach the garbage that they package as a spicy chicken sandwich at Burger King . . . it is truly the pits – but that’s a gripe for another day!

Oh Colonel! my Colonel! our fearful trip is done;
I’ve looked into the face of fear and death, and fear and death have won.
You hooked me with your full-court press, your hard nosed marketing blitz.
I wish I could have turned and run . . . I wish. I wish. I wish.


I apologize for the poem . . . But, these are harsh times that we are living in. Yesterday, I was beaten soundly by a sandwich that boasts that there is “So much chicken that there wasn’t room for a bun.” A “sandwich” that consists of a crunchy chicken breast with two pieces of bacon, two (not quite at all) melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese, a dab of Colonel’s Sauce and then capped off (somewhat inexplicably) with another crunchy chicken breast.

I am, of course, ranting about the new KFC Double-Down. An unsightly, unseemly mess of calories (540) and salt (1380mg) and almost impossible to eat pile of whatnot and hootenanny. I need to impress fully onto you that there is no bread. There is no bun. There isn’t a place to get a hand-hold on this monstrosity. But, it wasn’t even fun to eat with my hands – like in a “I’m playing with my food” Medieval Times kind of way – – – and as a side note – – – – the only way that it was even remotely similar at all to the great castle feast was that instead of wenches – – – there were retches – from the Double-Down – get it? Ugh . . . See what I kind of tried to do there?

I am miserable.

I like – no – LOVE fast food . . . and I expect it to be terrible for me and edible. I expect it to go through focus groups that chisel ideas of granite into stone sculptures of scrumptious delight . . . The volcano taco is a splendid example of – a perfect union between concept and execution . . . the shell is red!! But, when I picked up my Double-Down, I didn’t love it. It removed all of my giddy and instead – made me feel gross. I was only able to tackle 5 bites. I could go no further.

I need you to know – that I hate to waste food . . . and so, on the way home, I threw my remaining food-stuff at a bear that was sitting on a park bench. At least, I think it was a bear. All I know is that he ate it – but I don’t really think that this event tempers my review at all, because – bears will eat anything. Especially in these tough times. Right?!

The “Colonel’s Sauce” . . . ever heard of it? I hadn’t. Sooooo, I wasn’t so sure what kind of a treat that I was in for. Well . . . As soon as I tasted it, a lightbulb went off in my head. I had tasted this taste before . . . many years ago – maybe? It had a tang – it looked a little like thousand island dressing . . . but where? And then it hit me that I was eating Zaxby’s sauce. The Colonel had evidently slipped past security at le headquarters de la Zaxby’s and swiped the secret sauce recipe. Hmmmmmmmm.

Maybe I should take a moment to digress from my review of the Double-Down to let you know that I am not a fan of fast food convergence. I understand that burger places have burgers and chicken places have chicken – – – but – – – I need some sort of line in the sand that I can use to figure out what is what in the quick gastronomic world. I’ve got my eye right on you Burger King – with your new Sausage Egg McMuffin rip-off . . . and you McDonald’s with your Chick-fil-a wannabe Southern Style Chicken sandwich. Del Taco – why do you have burgers on your menu? Sonic . . . I’m not even going to get me started on your mish-mash menu. Let’s keep it simple out there – my brain can’t take it.

Back to the Double-Down. When I managed to pick it up and take a bite, the first thing that I noticed was that there was just way too much. The second thing that I noticed was how unpleasant all of the grease and unmelted cheese and uncooked crummy fast food bacon were, and also, how overpowering the abundantly slathered Colonel’s sauce was. Then it all started to fall apart in my hands. The two napkins that I was given didn’t even last past the unwrapping of the food. There was simply no clarity of taste vision, just a Frankenstein’s monster of a meal – created in a lab and plomped onto my tray.

The commercial on the KFC website screams that I shouldn’t “just feed your hunger” and that I should in fact “CRUSH IT!”

Well Colonel . . . mission accomplished. Not only has my hunger been crushed, but, so has my will to eat anything . . . ever – ever again.

The saddest part is that I was really starting to get a hankering for Taco Bell’s new Tortada – another “un”sandwich missile in the continuing onslaught against the good and simple hoagies in the world. But, now that I have lived in the unhungry side of KFC . . . I’m just not so sure that I will be able to cross the border.

Harumph.