Thursday, August 27, 2009

Double Trouble

I've seen this commercial for KFC's latest menu item a few times so I assumed that it was taking American by storm. I learned today that this new culinary creation is currently being test marketed in Providence and Omaha, so I'm one of the lucky few able to experience the deliciousness of the Double Down, which is ostensibly a bacon and cheese sandwich with a bun made out of boneless pieces of fried chicken. For the record, I have yet to try one and have no plans to do so. My lack of interest may lead directly to the Double Down not testing well enough to merit a nationwide release, but it's a chance I'm willing take.

Normally, this is where I would go into full snark mode, but after The AV Club called it "the Reichstag fire of health care reform", I don't think there's anything else that can be said. I hope that I have an opportunity to use that analogy somewhere else, though. But is the Double Down really that bad? The concept seems a little dated. The bun-less sandwich sounds like something straight out of the Atkins craze of a few years back. The bacon seems forced, and I feel like the current incarnation of the add bacon to everything craze is starting to fizzle out. Other than that, I don't see how this is much different than other items on the menus of America's fast food restaurants. Don't get me wrong, the Double Down is kind of disgusting and definitely not something you should eat on a regular basis if you care about your health, but it isn't a new low in the field of culinary arts.

Case in point, last night I dined on some deep-friend clam-infused dough balls. Clam cakes, as they're usually known in these parts, are a Southeastern New England institution and a staple of seaside seafood shacks. Clam cakes have a better name than the Double Down and a simplicity that makes the Double Down look even more thrown together by comparison, but are they really all that different? If clam cakes can be considered a classic comfort food cherished across generations, can the Double Down really be considered a harbinger of the end of the times?

Restaurants need to innovate in order to attract customers. For fast food restaurants, that means either offering more calories per dollar than their competitors or combining a limited set of ingredients in new ways. Most innovations across the food service industry will be forgotten as quickly as they appear. A select few will become part of humanity's culinary lexicon for a few years, a few generations, or, if they're really good, forever. I'm not predicting that every greasy spoon will someday serve a version of the Double Down, I'm just saying that the difference between a beloved culinary institution and an affront to good taste on a plate is smaller than we think.

1 comment:

dhodge said...

A Double Down sighting in the wild.