From the moment the KFC Double Down was announced, I decried it as a monument to American gluttony and obesity. When I saw pictures of it, I couldn’t believe it was real. I couldn’t fathom how KFC could come up with the concept of a “sandwich” made out of two pieces of chicken instead of bread, two slices of bacon, two slices of pepper-jack cheese and some sort of special sauce, much less approving such a sandwich for release on an unsuspecting American populace.
Nevertheless, my better judgment took a backseat earlier today when, on my way home from class, I stopped at a local KFC and ordered a Double Down. I figured this was one of those things in life that I would regret not at least trying once and even if I never ordered it again; I’d be able to say I ate one. So, when I arrived home and took my Double Down out of the paper bag, I picked up the sandwich and braced myself, practically feeling my arteries closing in my chest before I took that first bite.
Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t believe what I’m eating. So many flavors washed over my taste buds at once. The chicken, the cheese, the sauce, the bacon, all of these things combined in my mouth to create an amazing symphony of flavors that all sung in perfect harmony with one another. The Double Down is true greatness delivered from the heavens and condensed down into the form of a sandwich.
This is chicken with cheese and bacon! CHICKEN WITH CHEESE AND BACON!!!
Eh, this is good I guess.
Each subsequent bite was just like the second. The greatness was gone. Once you’ve gotten over the initial rush of eating chicken with cheese and bacon and your brain has been allowed time to process this, you’re aware that you’re eating chicken with cheese and bacon. Don’t get me wrong. It was still a good sandwich and I enjoyed it from the first bite until the last but the magic wasn’t there after that first bite. The surprise factor wasn’t there and without it, it’s no longer greatness in sandwich form. It’s just a sandwich. I guess the best way I can analogize this is to say that it’s like crack. Addicts seek the experience they received from that first high, which they will never be able to get again. Well, I imagine that the Double Down is just like that. You’re never going to get the experience from that first bite back again. But I doubt that’s going to stop people from trying.
Now, I’m conflicted. I still feel the same way about the sandwich as I did before. I still believe that this is an unholy monument to American obesity, but now I understand why this is a monument to American obesity. It personifies every horribly unhealthy thing that the fast food industry has ever put out, not because it’s fattening or loaded with sodium (and boy is it) but because it’s good. This is the type of thing you can just eat without thinking about it if you wanted, and that’s what scares me. After you’ve eaten a Double Down, you may think to yourself as I did, “I can’t believe that I just ate that”, usually followed by “damn that was good”. Then you may begin to think “I want another.”
KFC is probably going to sell a veritable truckload of these things because, just like McDonalds’ Big Mac, eventually, even though you realize that it’s fattening, you just won’t care as you pull up to the drive through window to order a Double Down (or two) to go. Perhaps because you think it’s good and rationalize it by saying that you’ll find some way to burn the calories off later or perhaps because you think that this sandwich will be different and you’ll be able to relive that “first bite experience” all over again.
As for me? I doubt I’ll order another Double Down. Sure, it was good but I’m pretty sure that the magic is gone now. I’ve satisfied my lingering curiosity and I don’t feel the urge to try it again. Besides, this is two pieces of fried (or grilled but, let’s be honest, who’s going to buy that?) chicken with cheese, sauce and bacon sandwiched between them. That’s one of the most unhealthy combinations I can think of and while I’m a healthy 22-year old man, I don’t think it would be in my best interest to eat more than one of those things in my lifetime. So, if you’re curious or on the fence, I’d say give the Double Down a try; there’s nothing else quite like it and I’m pretty sure that it isn’t going to be around for a long while. Just…don’t go crazy, okay?