Are the calories consumed in restaurants beloved of liberals any healthier than the calories consumed in the multinational outlets they despise? You’d think so, listening to Mark Morford.

Dear Mr. Morford,

I’ll begin by agreeing with you that the KFC Double Down sandwich, composed of two pieces of fried chicken, two strips of bacon, two slices of cheese and a slathering of sauce, isn’t an item that will add to the overall good health of he or she who consumes it. And I’ll agree that most of your dissenters missed the point of your article last week by focusing on the sandwich itself and its comparisons with other fast food items rather than your central claim, that fast-food multinationals are “poisoning” the “gullible” and are going to “hell” for it, a point I’m happy to engage head-on.

The point you make is absurd. It’s the sort of thing said by deeply intolerable, caviling malcontents who twitch at their curtains while whining about what their neighbors are getting up to. I hope it was just a harebrained moment that caused you to write:

“…a VP for McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King or their ilk, someone who sits around all day trying to discover new ways to manipulate, coerce, poison, and otherwise flagrantly kill millions of humans worldwide by convincing them to eat mass-produced, industrial feedlot, chemical-blasted garbage you should not feed to your dog unless you totally hate him and want him to get heart disease and die.”

First, it should be obvious even to you that your statement is not supported by science. Really? Millions of human beings are being killed by fast-food corporations? Is it your understanding that KFC’s CEO is Dr. Evil? ‘May I present Operation Double Down! It will kill one billion people! Muhahaha!’

Only a zealot, overcome by anti-capitalist ire, would use the word “coerce” to describe the decisions of millions of your fellow citizens to eat fast food. My dictionary says the word ‘coerce’ means “to persuade an unwilling person to do something by using force or threats.”

‘Eat it! Eat it or I’ll stuff it down your throat!’ That’s a threat.

‘So meaty, there’s no room for a bun.’ That’s advertising.

Perhaps you think people would choose not to eat it if they knew what was really in it. Maybe that is what you mean when you write:

“…you manufacture all the flavors, smells and meat-like textures in a giant lab and sell truckloads of the crap to the poorer classes, until they get fat and sick and die.”

Strange, I’ve been eating fast food for years and I’m certainly not fat or sick, and I don’t think I’m dead. This firsthand evidence, along with fast food profits, would appear to contradict the thrust of your assertion that such results are derivative. Or do I simply need to be less well-educated or live in a worse neighborhood to manifest these symptoms?

It’s all nonsense. Manufacturing “flavors, smells and meat-like textures in a giant lab”? You do believe we’re inside an Austin Powers movie, don’t you! If you imagine for a second that there’s some mystery as to what’s in a KFC chicken sandwich, let’s examine the ingredients:

Boneless Chicken Breast Filets. Despite the shrill cries of the ill-informed, no growth hormones are used by KFC suppliers. Despite your own assertions, antibiotics are only used at the direction of a veterinarian for specific illnesses, as any other animals would be. (This occasional use of antibiotics is always stopped well before they’re ever used for food.) Most chickens used by KFC are supplied by family farmers in chicken houses, rather than industrial “feedlots” (a term you love so much for its emotional currency that you use it several times in your short piece). Slaughter practices are closely monitored by the USDA and the whole process must meet some of the highest standards of any industry. The common PETA-inspired misconceptions of what these suppliers’ facilities look like are just ignorant, alarmist bullshit. If you ever were inside one of them, you’d be surprised to find that you’ve been led astray by your ideological peers, who want so badly to believe that everything about capitalism is wrong that they’ve concocted a whole Chicken Hell in their fertile minds and spread it to yours.

Rice Starch. Just sounds evil, doesn’t it?

Soy Protein Concentrate. That’s right, soy.

Salt. Too much for a single meal, to be sure, but “evil”?

Sodium Phosphates and Monosodium Glutamate. A pH buffer which controls acidity.

Wheat Flour. Not for those with gluten allergies.

Monosodium Glutamate. Fermented sugar beet, used here as a flavor enhancer. Many studies have been conducted, and conclude that it is, in the words of one food scientist, “harmless, even in large amounts” (it’s present in KFC chicken only in tiny amounts).

Spices. Which come out of the ground.

Garlic Powder. Don’t tell anybody.

Water. I can’t believe they admit it.

Tapioca Dextrin. Hydrolysized tapioca (a Brazilian root, grown in America).

High Amylose Corn Starch. A corn starch with greater than 50 percent amylose (related to glucose, a type of sugar).

Non-fat Dry Milk. Yup, the stuff that comes from cows.

Dried Whey. Also from cows.

Dextrose. A simple sugar.

Dried Egg Whites. The irony!

Are you frightened of these ingredients, Mr. Morford? Is it these that you think are killing millions? Or only when combined, like some laboratory experiment gone wrong? Perhaps you simply think too many people are eating food like this too often, and if so, I agree. But you don’t say that. Instead, you say:

“[This is food] you should never put anywhere near your mouth…”

“If you eat this, you are a complete and total idiot…”

“…people who eat real food every day … who haven’t touched fast food in years…”

“…had KFC dared any genuinely healthy human to take a bite…” [emphasis mine]

You really think there’s some mysterious, deadly ingredient here, don’t you, one that’s been left out of all the lists surreptitiously; the magic ‘fat and sick and dead’ ingredient that will make you fat and sick and dead? Guess what? There isn’t. I regret to inform you that your ‘Mystery solved; Dr. Evil-is-the-Colonel’ scenario doesn’t hold water. Despite an obesity epidemic caused by multiple factors, including the unmoderated eating of unhealthful foods of all sorts, we’re living quite long lives (and that such food exists so cheaply at all is a triumph of an economy of plenty, allowing millions of working people a treat who can’t afford fine dining).

But I’m not surprised you think it’s evil.

It’s all part of the credo, you see. Your article checks all the boxes for foolish ‘liberal’ thoughtlessness (classical liberals should be turning in their graves). We needn’t re-read your hymnsheet because we won’t find anything new. Businesses, once they reach a certain size, are inherently evil, so the foods they serve must be so also (you said it yourself). And when a new one like this comes along, one which doesn’t even pretend to be healthy, it tips your reactive scales to hysteria.

For me, it’s all just a little militant. I prefer freedom and autonomy, despite the results of some of the choices they allow people to make. Nobody can claim they don’t know what they’re eating. Not a single reasonable person could level the blame for eating too much unhealthy food at anyone else, and I’ve never heard anyone do so. Free countries allow people to eat stupidly.

For most people who eat there, a meal at KFC is a little indulgence, 540 calories that hasn’t done my health a modicum of harm in such moderated amounts, and treats the reward centers of my brain with something fun which tastes good and makes me happy. Not caprese salad happy, mind you. Not Pinot Grigio happy, either. Not any of my favorite independent, full service restaurants happy either, with their much more socialist calories which are somehow okay because they’re not serving them to poor people and us educated types are smart enough to moderate our diets when we go there….

But happy.

Only dismal, joyless, intolerant, cretinous malcontents would take issue with KFC for offering it.


John Wright
30 years old, weekend fast food eater, 135 pounds.