In Defense Of The KFC Double Down

In the world of fast food, there's never a shortage of strange specialty items. Some of these items pop up in select markets for just a few weeks before vanishing without a trace, leaving those who taste-tested them to wonder if they were ever real, while others manage to get a wide-scale release, only to court controversy before being discarded to history's trash bin of forgotten food experiments. Yet every so often a product so strange — and so controversial — comes around that it manages to implant itself in our collective subconscious, either as something truly horrifying or so outrageous it was actually brilliant. And often, these snacks are one and the same, depending on who you ask. Enter the KFC Double Down.

KFC recently announced that its unique take on the chicken sandwich will be returning to the U.S. for a limited time starting March 6, likely to the thrill and horror of many. The Double Down, for those who are unfamiliar, is a sandwich consisting of two extra-crispy white meat chicken patties, bacon, cheese, and sauce, which doesn't sound that over-the-top until you realize that the sandwich is bun-less and the fried chicken actually substitutes for bread. Originally released in spring 2010, the Double Down achieved a sort of have-to-try-it infamy, with the New York Times calling it a "must-to-avoid" and Stephen Colbert defiantly eating one on "The Colbert Report" and deeming it "good" after a comical tirade condemning the fried creation. The media attention only spurred sales, leading KFC to extend the run of the Double Down until it was eventually discontinued in 2014.

Now that the menu item is officially returning, we're sure there will be endless chatter about how it should have never been brought back, but we're here to tell you why all the Double Down detractors are wrong.

One chicken sandwich, hold the judgment

Despite not being available in the U.S. for nearly 10 years, KFC reports that it never stopped receiving requests for the Double Down from loyal customers. (Over the years, the controversial sandwich has seen temporary re-releases in foreign markets.) Despite the shock and disdain the initial release was met with, many people appear to have truly enjoyed the unusual sandwich and pushed for a comeback — so let them have it.

It is none of your business what people choose to eat or how they choose to spend their money. And though many may act as though their concern is actually with the health of others, this is really not the issue it was hyped up to be. Even though it comes with the unusual optics of holding two pieces of fried chicken and bacon like a sandwich, the Double Down isn't actually the nutritional nightmare many assume. Its calorie count is on par with the Big Mac and the Whopper and the lack of bread might actually make it appealing as an option for those on a low-carb diet like Keto.

All that said, the Double Down is not for everyone. It's entirely fair if you are not interested in eating one, but maybe this time around the media — and everyone on social media — could hold their judgment and take it a little easier on the fans who can't wait to dig in. Unless you are a doctor who has personally examined someone, keep your thoughts on the diet of others to yourself.

Save your outrage

Look around you, there is a lot going on in the world. The economy is teetering on the brink of recession, we are still grappling with a pandemic that has faded but won't quite go away, eastern Europe is at war, climate change is wreaking havoc, and here in the U.S., an ever-growing political divide is making people fear for their civil rights and safety. To put it mildly, the world is on fire. As a society, we're dealing with a collective trauma the likes of which has not been seen in 100 years and, perhaps understandably, some people like to cope with a little comfort food or be momentarily distracted by the latest fast food trend. Who are we to judge?

The truth of the matter is a lot of what goes on around us is entirely out of our control, and we have to accept that. What we don't have to accept, however, is criticism for exercising some bodily autonomy and eating what we want, when we want it. No matter what it is you're eating or drinking — whether it be a taco made with a Doritos shell, a soda that tastes like marshmallows, or steamed broccoli — there is going to be someone somewhere who is grossed out by it, and that's okay. There's nothing out there that works for everybody, so resist the impulse to be insulting or freak out when you encounter someone enjoying something you don't. There's enough to be upset about in the world as is, let's not allow a kooky chicken sandwich or a funky Frappuccino to send us into a tizzy.

Save your outrage for the real issues, find joy where you can, and (if you want to) eat the KFC Double Down.