I ate a KFC Double Down once.
I’d eat one again.
It was all the joy of eating a giant piece of fried chicken, combined with all the joy of eating another, equally giant piece of fried chicken, combined with the tremendous and ineffable joy of bacon.
It was delightful, in that way that anything that makes millions of cells in some part of your body scream out in terror and then be suddenly silenced always is. That’s most forms of enjoyment. “It seems that all the things I really like to do are immoral, illegal or fattening,” said Alexander Woollcott. He nailed it. The Double Down is one of them.
Every pleasure brings you one step closer to the tomb, unless your hobby is jogging away from tombs. People who burn candles at both ends live less long, in better lighting, or however the phrase goes.
But this raises another question: What’s going on with bacon?
Much has changed since the Double Down last rose over our cholesterol readings.
When we first saw the Double Down, we were still in the Bacon Honeymoon. This was before the advent of the Cronut, when all we had to occupy our minds was whether Pie was the new Cupcake was the new Pie.
But then it kept going. And bacon has some weaknesses. We want it to be the all-sizzling, all-dancing crap of the world. We want it to be everything to everyone. But it’s not. There is objective evidence of this: Wired did a study comparing the ratings for recipes that included bacon with the ratings for recipes that did not, and bacon generally improved the ratings — except when it came to desserts, and to pastas. Bacon does not actually make everything better.
Bacon is not good on desserts. We all know this, even if we pretend to get excited by chocolate bacon, the Emperor’s New Clothes of dessert foods. And summer of 2012 — just before the ineluctable bacon tide reached its highest point — was when Burger King introduced its bacon sundae, allowing millions of people across the country to discover this fact for themselves.
Then an artist constructed a bacon Bacon, bringing the food to its ultimate perfection, and we had nowhere else to go.
Now the bacon tide is receding. We’re headed for a bacon backlash. Or possibly we’re in one already. That would certainly explain the popularity of kale, a food that tastes like disappointed leather. Who decided this was edible? He belongs on the Time Traveler To-Assassinate list.
It pains me, but bacon’s reign may be over.
I don’t know when we developed the rule that for every popular frenzy of adulation, there has to ensue an equally vigorous popular backlash, but I wish we hadn’t. I want to go on liking the things I like without feeling like some sort of normcore Neanderthal. “Love,” John Barrymore said, “is the delightful interval between meeting a beautiful girl and discovering she looks like a haddock.” I wish we didn’t have to keep discovering that everyone looks like a haddock.
Now the Double Down is back. Maybe some of the magic will come back with it.