We Eat It So You Don't Have To: Burger King's Fabled Chicken Fries

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Photo by Ryan Cady
Good god.

I write this from a place of ecstasy. For today, upon this green and golden earth, a benevolent God shone His mighty visage upon the human race, and smiled, raining down upon the good people of His Creation all the blessings befit a Paradise upon the Earth.

Burger King's Chicken Fries are back.

Burger King first introduced the cylindrical slices of heaven back in 2005, incorporating them into an ingenious cup-holder-shaped carrying package that included a foldout pocket in which to place your sauce cup. It was what some people have considered the greatest innovation in culinary technology since the invention of the conventional oven. The spears of deep-fried, golden-brown goodness were part of a PR campaign to remarket Burger King as an upscale fast food establishment, and tasted great when dipped in ranch dressing and accompanied by a large Coke Icee.

But in what is perhaps the greatest atrocity to have stricken the human race since the turn of the century, Burger King removed Chicken Fries from their menu in 2012, instead focusing on their inferiorly flavored and formed chicken strips, which, one worker once assured me, "are just as good." Since the fateful day of their removal from the BK menu, I have eaten at Burger King a total of five times, and every time, essentially against my will.

But that's all changing, because the dark days are behind us. I am confident that, with the provided morale boost from Burger King's Chicken Fries, humanity can once again dare to dream, and face the adversity inherent in our society with an optimistic smile.

Which is exactly why, on this most auspicious day, the day of the return of the Chicken Fry, I went to Burger King.

***

When I pulled into the drive-thru, I had a moment of utter panic - there were no promotional materials. Sure, there were posters for new burgers, new drinks, the new "Satis-fries" crinkle-cut potato treats, but no Chicken Fries. The Internet had assured me, yes, Aug. 11, 2014, was the arrival date, but what if something had gone horribly wrong? What if there had been a delay in delivery, or some sort of poultry pandemic that had wiped out the entire chicken population?

Seeing no mention of God's gift to mankind on the menu, I cautiously addressed the oracle behind the drive thru order microphone.

"Um, hey," I began, casual, cool and collected. "Do you guys have those chicken fries?"

I felt a sweat began to break on my brow - and not the good kind of sweat that you get from eating Chicken Fries, either - as silence crackled back at me for an entire SIX SECONDS.

"Yeah, we have them in six, nine, or twelve pieces," sang a voice like the golden trumpet of God's most musical archangel.

Of course I ordered 12, with ranch, and I felt like some kind of secret agent using the password to get into the high rollers club. No, of course they're not on the menu, Mr. Bond - we wouldn't want all those plebeians to get at the Chicken Fries before you had your shot.

I grinned the entire ride back to the office, and prepared my meal at my desk with the flourish and confidence of a master chef. Sauce packet open, straw in drink, and Chicken Fries at the ready. I tried to chide myself - they might not be as good as you remember them, Ryan, don't get your expectations too high - as I dipped one succulent, perfectly-crisp Chicken Fry into the dressing. I raised it to my mouth, and took a bite.

Perfection.

Sheer, unadulterated perfect. It was like traveling back in time to a point in my life where anything was possible and the grim, cold reality of adult responsibility had yet to grind my hopes into dust. It was like winning the lottery, or kissing your soul mate, or finding out the Afterlife is real and everything is going to be okay, no matter what.

It was like Burger King brought the Chicken Fries back, and they were just as good as I remembered.

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Photo by Ryan Cady
Ecstasy.

You can follow Ryan Cady on Twitter @rycady! Also, follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook! And don't forget to download our free Best Of App here!



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8 comments
Honeyman
Honeyman

Jesus, somebody who actually can write at the OC Weekly.

I'll give him two weeks.

LPHastings
LPHastings

Yep, Ryan Cady is the funniest. 

mhip
mhip

Now if only Carls would bring back old school Crisparitos, and the mash potato fries...

Ryan Steele
Ryan Steele

What a beautiful, well stated article.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

This is so funny & thoroughly well-written, from the first word to the last. Well done.

mannybanny
mannybanny

@mhip 

I worked there in the early eighties.

The mashed potato fries were made with dehydrated potato pellets. They'd drop into a hopper, mix with water, and then get pushed out of a mold and sliced so they dropped into the oil.

Somebody figured out that the paste got super sticky when rinsed in water. The fish and chips sign next door got repeatedly 'dotted' by my co-worker on night shift. They would bake to a golden brown the next day in the sun.

FnC owner was ticked. 

Co-worker went out with a handful one night, aimed and was then lit up by the cops who were waiting....

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