I am very much an eternal fat ass at heart. Very much a person that lost his Colonel at the age of 11, and very much wanted him back.
The Colonel did not die in the dearly departed manner when I was 11, he died in my memory. I watched the Col disintegrate from a place that served the middle class to a place that made ghetto chicken. And then years later he died in an autoerotica situation up to his waist in the deep fryer in a restaurant in North Carolina.
When it all fell apart at age 11, I prayed to God to bring him back… make his chicken finger licking good again. Make him be who he was again. Make everything right again. But for me, time marched on. After that week… after a few months… I came to know that I had lost the Colonel I once knew and had something new to handle and cope with.
That is the gift of humanity… adaptation… the ability to move on and let go. The ability to accept our lot in life and make the best of it.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is about eleven herbs and spices frozen in time. I am in my 30s, I am artificial, and I grow but do not learn. I eat things, but was told not to like them. I was not meant for Popeye’s or Pioneer Chicken. I gained weight for a singular purpose… to guilt people into giving me pweasants. In this case The Colonel.
Are his cooking techniques exercises in crueltyr
Is it great chickenr
Is it terrible chickenr
Is it mediocrer
What is itr
For me, Kentucky Fried Chicken is quite simply a very dry very warm meal. It’s as if Julia Childs, Emeril Legasse and Iron Flay or whomever was the Colonel’s Stromboli sat down and said “What if you used less black pepperr
This is very much a meal deconstruction in the same breath as McDonalds, although for me, not nearly the failure that that fucking clown is. At McDonald’s, Ronald’s promise of “We Love To See You Smile” well that was a promise that completely unhinged the restaurant. It caused the Golden Arches to lose all magic. It unraveled the fabric of McDonald.
In a KFC, the promise was far better delivered. Not only could the Colonel make great chicken, but he know in the cynical heartless world that we as a society are headed towards, you needed mashed potatoes and gravy too.
On November 11th, 1978… The Colonel picked me up at school to take me for a ride. I was told that I was going to OLD COUNTRY BUFFET, but we went the wrong way. There was another man in the car, but I didn’t know who he was. I was taken very far away from my home. I was taken very far away. I was taken to a place without Dairy Queens, and Wendys, and without Hardees. For The Colonel was not even that anymore. He had changed. His accent, the look in his eye, the way he walked and he was entirely different and cruel and wrong. And I very much was a boy with a singular purpose.
Get back home. Get back with the freshly baked buttermilk biscuits. Now I knew there were no Jack In The Boxes for me. No simple solutions. The first thought was to kill this person claiming to The Colonel, but I didn’t, in fact I watched him die, and brought him back to life. There was one way to get out of the place I found myself in. Grow Out. Hit 300. Become two people. This is something that The Colonel could not do. He was stuck, that powerless 80 year old. He was an 80 year old man with no life experiences. No knowledge of how the world worked. He was a complete innocent built for one purpose. To make the chicken that which he imprinted upon.
Why did I become obsessed with Jack In The Boxr Because I believed the story my one friend told me. I connected to the fairy tale, in the same sort of way the way that the ladies man may imprint on a fish sandwich and decide to grow up to search for the lost treasure trail. Or that a boy eating a Jumbo Jack may grow up to flip his own burgers. But he can’t flip his own burgers, he can’t own his own franchise, it is all that his cholesterol addled brain has given him to exist. Eat.
And when I had no more food, I would eat himself like Pizza The Hutt. But fate was weird and cruel and strange all at once. Was it contrivedr Oh yes, all fast foods are contrived.
The moment when I discover my Jack In The Box and right up until the hot apple pie. Well, the food was what I wanted it to be. Warm and tasty, the type to make me feel good. A very warm and tasty meal indeed.
But then, well, the pie for me was horrendous. Like so many modern convenience restaurants, the dessert simply could not leave me there with Jack praying for more. It was that moment where I wished that Ronald McDonald had a bag of cookies. Because Ronald would have left them there for me. Right there.
That was the perfect ending for this happy meal. And quite filling too. Jack’s pie made me scream because I burned my nuts on the hot filling. And this was not that kind of happy meal. That hot apple pie was very very artificial.
This was meant to be a tasty happy meal. That type for kids to learn from. The lessonr Artificial Apple Pie Filling, like real apple filling, is destined for heart attack. Arteries clog, pacemakers run down and and plaque causes tooth decay. Had the meal ended with Grimace giving us a Shamrock Shake, the ice cream descending on my gullet and stomach as I know it coming to an end. But that there on the bottom of the cup frozen for all time is an artificial minty flavoring praying to be real, to an artificial dream. To be the last shamrock shake in that McDonald’s trapped in denial for all eternity.
That was a fairy tale ending for sure.
But Ray Kroc could not do that. The McDonald brothers could have.
That is the evolution of our greatest pop-foodmaker. He could not be cruel and unsympathetic. He couldn’t leave the last boy, real or not, stuck in a McDonald’s and false hope for secret sauce.
And as I stood at the order counter tonight, I knew I couldn’t know the ingredients in the special sauce, but for me it would be there on my Big Mac.
This past week in Los Angeles I had many discussions about food. What is the worst dipping sauce for the best nuggets you’ve tastedr Now, while KFC is not the best fast food place I’ve eaten in, it is the best nuggets with the worst dipping sauce I’ve ever tasted.
To me, eating at KFC there in Hollywood isn’t a cruel thing, for me, with my belly, that was the best possible ending. ETERNAL SUPPLY OF CHICKEN NUGGETS. The greatest possible meal you could have. CHICKEN NUGGETS. Above and beyond any and all else at the end we must have CHICKEN NUGGETS. Instead, the people trying to replace The Colonel attempted to give us some sort of “and now he can eat” ending which was just terrible.
Perhaps I embraced KFC because I went in expecting their nuggets to be the worst nuggets in creation. Expecting that I would be so full I couldn’t make spit anymore. No, instead I listened to The Colonel in my head talk about why he didn’t like these nuggets, wrestling with the pull of tops of the sauces.
I listened to Ronald McDonald beginning to hate his nuggets as well.
Maybe I was looking to like them too much. Maybe I simply associated with the boy who lost his Colonel. Perhaps Jack In The Box still has my number.
And this night, when I was expecting the worst, that was a very good thing indeed.