Monday, October 1, 2007

The KFC Sludge Bucket

When I was a child every summer I attended a Bible camp in northwestern Pennsylvania. It was a idyllically situated between two hills (boys hill and girls hill for propriety's sake) with fields, forests, a swimming pool, chapel and mess hall filling out the land around and between the hills. Each summer I enjoyed nearly every aspect of the week which was filled with not only Bible study but the typical activities and pranks that one finds at a summer camp. I say nearly every aspect because there was one thrice-daily activity that I absolutely hated.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were eaten at large 10 seater tables in the mess hall. At the end of each meal, every person would pass their plates to the head seat of the table. That person would scrape all the leftovers onto one plate and then stack the remaining plates under his plate. That top plate had to be the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. I remember looking at the gravy smeared potatos, corn and chicken remains (possibly combined with some previously chewed chicken) and thinking, "It looks like its being digested!".

Imagine my surprise, then, when I was watching T.V. one evening and discovered that that very dish is now being served at KFC! But this is the great benefit of having an entire industry committed to advertising. It's not just a plate of leftovers anymore. It's one of KFC's "Famous Bowls". According to the commercial, this "bowl" starts with a "generous" serving of "creamy" mashed potatoes, followed by a layer of corn, and bite sized "crispy" chicken pieces. Unlike the sludge plate of my youth, though, this dish has artifical gravy and cheddar cheese.

"Okay," I convinced myself, "surely this will flop. Certainly not enough of our population will actually pay money and eat that."

But, surely, I was wrong. Now there is not only the the Mashed Potato Sludge Bowl, but also a rice and a biscuit sludge bowl as well!

The sludge bucket is not the only insane thing out there. Check out Campbell's Soup-at-Hand! This is soup that comes in a cup (conveniently sized to fit in your car cup holder) that you drink while on the run. You might even want to try their "velvety potato"! Okay, that's just not natural! What about the chunks?

Or another one of my favorites: Disney Produce (see Attack of the Disney Tomatoes for more info!). As a parent of small children, I can either buy the cheaper fresh fruits and vegetables or I can buy the more expensive ones that come in the Disney bags. Apparently buying the ones in the Disney bags will guarantee that my children will have fun eating the produce. It makes me wonder if Disney's lacing something in the produce, since my children never see the bag that their fresh fruits and veggies come in. Maybe there's a face of Mickey Mouse on the apple skins, kind of the like Virgin Mary on the grilled cheese.

It's absolutely amazing what the food industry can create, and while so many advocacy groups are after McDonalds, KFC and what not, the real issue is that people are buying it! If people didn't buy it, then the companies wouldn't be making it. We're really living in a culture where moms are spending more money to buy Disney apples, people are drinking soup and a bucket full of sludge is considered not only palletable but desirable!


gingerswindow said...

I will never eat at KFC again! You need a billboard, you could put them out of business.

Bill & Lena Shrader said...

I hate fake cheese. I would probably eat the sludge bucket, but for the cheese. As much as I love real cheese, I can't imaging mixing it with chicken gravy.

In Costa Rica, they frequently serve french fries with a mixture of catsup and mayonase. It turns out like Thousand Island dressing. At first it disgusted me, now I look forward to it. When you go to a restaurant, they dispense it from large vats with plungers. Having seen my dietary standards plunge so precipitously in just 9 months, I believe their may be a sludge bucket in my future.