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Why not create your own Double Down?

Bloggers add doughnuts, peanut butter and fish. We decided to do a healthier version.

By Teresa Mears Apr 27, 2010 3:17PM

It was bound to happen: People have created their own versions of KFC’s new Double Down sandwich.


The latest we found was at Top Cultured, which suggests using a Krispy Kreme doughnut as the bread. This raises the calorie count to more than 900 with extra sauce. Heesa Phadie wrote:

What you end up with is over 900 calories of tongue-flipping delight. This thing will not only supply you with enough calories, sodium, sugar and fat for a good part of your day, it will keep you up and running for a bit. The inevitable afternoon crash was not the best, though … as there is now a brick in the belly. I do highly recommend you give this a shot, though. I know it sounds far-fetched but it’s actually quite delicious.

We don’t plan to try it. It seems a terrible waste of a perfectly good doughnut. Top Cultured also came up with an Elvis version, adding toast, peanut butter and banana to the Double Down. Heesa liked that, too. Crystal at Snackin’ in the City did a “pescatarian” version with fish and fake bacon.


“Mamacita” at Midtown Lunch thought the Double Down was delicious on KFC buttermilk biscuits.


It’s amazing how much attention KFC has received for, basically, taking the bread off a sandwich. Where was the Double Down during the Atkins diet craze?


For those of you who were buried underground the last few weeks and somehow missed the hype, a Double Down is two pieces of KFC chicken (fried or grilled) acting as the bread around cheese, bacon and a sauce similar to Thousand Island dressing.

Nate Silver at Five Thirty Eight, a political blog, did a detailed nutritional comparison, creating a DD scale in which he measures other fast-food sandwiches against the Double Down. Looking merely at total calories, sodium and fat, the Double Down has lots of competition for most unhealthy fast-food sandwich. But if you calculate bad stuff per calorie (and he did), the Double Down looks worse.


It’s interesting that fast-food chains are promoting bigger, less healthy sandwiches at the same time they’re touting healthier fare. Perhaps they’re trying to rush out the big burgers before calorie counts are mandated on menus. Or maybe they’re just trying to capture two different audiences.

So why HAS this mediocre KFC sandwich garnered so much attention?


Well, as Mike Sutter notes in the Austin American Statesman’s Forklore blog, it’s the perfect fodder for a sarcastic blog post (would we do that?) and it’s a lot easier to write about than, say, fraud and deceit in debt settlement.


It’s an equally popular topic for those who are outraged that fast-food restaurants are pushing unwholesome, high-calorie, high-sodium food at a time when concern is rising about obesity. “The fast-food chains seem to be in competition to see who can kill us first, fastest and with the most misery,” writes Christina Pirello at The Huffington Post.


Forbes says the Double Down matters because it demonstrates that people want innovation in fast food, not just low prices.


It’s too early to say whether the Double Down hype will bring more business to the struggling KFC. We agree with Melanie Warner of BNet, who suggests that cleaning up the rather dingy restaurants might be a more effective marketing tool.


We’re sure one Double Down won’t kill you, plus it’s off the menu after May 23. (Karen tried one and thought it was OK, though she found the bacon superfluous. She isn't likely to eat one again.)


Eating frequently at fast-food restaurants is a quick route to poor health and an empty pocket, but you don’t need us to tell you that. We like the advice of author Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” So, you’d better believe we are not going to eat a Double Down. We are saving all our fast-food calories for our annual serving of McDonald’s fries. Or maybe 31-cent scoop night Wednesday at Baskin Robbins.


We’re more in tune with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and the choice of fresh food over processed junk. So we thought we'd create our own Double Down, using healthier ingredients:


Dredge skinless chicken pieces in melted butter or margarine, then in seasoned bread crumbs (or season some yourself) and bake at 350 for about an hour (the exact amount of time depends on the size of the chicken pieces). Or find another oven-baked chicken recipe. Or go really healthy and use grilled chicken. Microwave turkey bacon (or real bacon). Shred some real cheddar cheese. Put a healthy portion of salad greens in a plate or bowl. Cut up the chicken, put it on the lettuce, and add the cut-up bacon and shredded cheese. Top with a moderate amount of your favorite dressing. More than one blogger says the KFC sauce tastes like Thousand Island, though I prefer a homemade honey-mustard vinaigrette (oil, vinegar, garlic, honey, Dijon mustard).


Better than the Double Down any day. It’s cheaper, too.


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