Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

The KFC 'Double Down' — two slices of bacon, melted swiss cheese and pepper Jack cheese, and the “secret” sauce sandwiched between two pieces of the Colonel’s special blend of herbed and spiced (not to mention deep-fried) chicken. “So much 100 percent premium chicken," said the TV commerical, "we didn't have room for a bun."

When a friend of mine first told me about this sandwich, I thought he was kidding with me. I thought it must be another urban fast food legend, akin to the unceremoniously titled McDonald’s sandwich that featured a McChicken nestled between the beef patties of a double cheeseburger. It wasn’t something you could order on the menu, but the staff would rustle it up for you if requested. Rather the sort of thing bored teenage boys would YouTube themselves eating, dig?

I was wrong. As it turns out, the Double Down is presently being tested in two markets in the United States. And it packs quite the lunch punch. The Vancouver Sun, armed with calculators and KFC’s nutrition guide onscreen, deemed this single sandwich can be estimated to supply more than the following daily recommendations in fat, cholesterol, sodium and protein, as well as 61% of your daily recommended total caloric intake. Comparable to that of three Big Macs. In one sandwich. 

KFC was quick to sputter out a correction within hours, declaring that the Sun had overestimated their totals a tad. The Colonel has had a rough couple of years: First the shocking PETA video (featuring Canada’s own Pamela Anderson) illustrating the torturous, sickly living conditions of the poor cluckers that end up stuffed in a tub and sat atop picnic tables across North America. Then the Oprah fracas that sent a flurry of hungry Americans into a state of riot, with coupons in hand for a free meal.  And that coleslaw, in the astonishing shade of green that has frightened small children for decades…

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering: What  does this have to do with a Canadian blog about veganism? Well, not much, when one reads the one-liner detailing what and why this blog is about. Outside of the thrust of this blog, the Double Down melee is worth noting. Not in a finger-pointing, voyeuristic, priggish-vegan sort of way, but as a larger indication of the food we eat and why:

“The food we choose to eat or not to eat, and the precise ways in which we either do or don’t eat it, has now become the authoritative measure not only of our physical selves but of our emotional and spiritual well-being.” Wrote Frederick Kaufman, reviewing a host of faddish diet books in a Harper’s back issue lying around the house.

This is a heady statement, but if it holds true even in part, one is made to wonder at a culture that would bank the creation of the Double Down and similar gastrointestinal projectiles. Not only is it something that has no possible nutritional benefit, but is akin to fastening bullseyes to your internal organs, handing off a 12-guage at a ten-foot range to a hyperactive 10-year-old on a Ritalin break, and inviting him to fire away. The big red flag of the fast food industrial complex is being fluttered in our faces -- smothered in the Colonel’s Special Sauce, to boot. 

One can only imagine in this one-up world: what’s next? 

*Photo courtesy of Foodgeekery.Com

*Cited Article: "On the triumph of American gastrophy," by Frederick Kaufman. Harper's. January 2000: 73.