Review: KFC Famous Bowl  by Jeff Kay

I like to mix my food together, I’m that kind of guy. Even as a kid I’d routinely shove everything into the middle of the plate, and toss it like a salad. It made for an unpredictable and often delicious surprise, and it’s something I do to this day. I’m a natural born mixer.

My brother, on the other hand, would see this happening and react like he was viewing grisly crime scene photographs; he’d literally recoil in horror. My brother is the type who requires at least an inch-wide barrier between every item on his plate. If, through some unforeseen series of events, a green bean would happen to come in contact with the gravy, everything was ruined. May as well just toss it all in the garbage, ballgame’s over.

I also had an uncle who’d become physically ill if someone put cream in their coffee and didn’t stir it right away. He’d sit there with beads of sweat popping out on his forehead, then finally crack beneath the pressure: Stir it!  For the love of all that’s holy, stir your coffee!!

But that doesn’t really have anything to do with this.

When we began seeing TV ads for the so-called KFC “Famous Bowl,” which was reportedly a mixture of mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cheese, and chicken, I thought: yum. At the same time my wife’s lower jaw would retract, and she’d holler, “Damn, that’s disgusting! I wouldn’t feed that slop to a starving dog. …Is this Comedy Central??” I guess I’m in a mixed-marriage?

That’s been several months, and I never found myself in a situation where I was able to sample that delicious-looking bowl of “slop.” There are only two known KFCs in our area, and both are pretty far off the beaten path. They’re in parts of town you only visit when, say, you need your propane tank filled, or an emergency window-tinting.

Plus, as detailed in the review here, I’m not really a huge fan of the former Kentucky Fried Chicken, and never felt a strong urge to seek one out. I had a vague interest in their “bowl,” but not enough to put forth any actual effort in purchasing one. I wanted one, but not enough to work for it.

Until last week, that is. For reasons unknown, KFC appears to be advertising their Famous Bowl as a brand new menu item again, and this time they got me. I was out running errands one day, and the commercial suddenly began playing inside my head. Without realizing what was happening, I’d whipped the steering wheel violently to the right and was headed for Tintsville.

I was under the impression there are now two bowls: one with chicken on the top, and another with country fried steak, or somesuch. But the KFC in Upper
Propane Township only offered the chicken variety. Not a problem, since I’d planned on going with the classic version anyway, but where’d I get such a notion? Had I dreamed it? Sweet Jesus, please tell me I wasn’t dreaming about steak bowls….

A surly teenage girl, wearing the expression of someone smelling turds, passed my lunch to me through a window and thoughtfully included a packet containing a napkin and a spork. I peeked into the sack with anticipation, and the plastic dome over the bowl was fogged-up and dripping with the condensation of brown gravy. Double yum!

When I got home our dog Andy sniffed the bag of food I was carrying, and his eyes almost popped out of his head. I’d never seen such a reaction from that hound. He began whimpering and turning tight circles in the middle of the floor…. I hoped he wouldn’t just say screw it, give in to the chicken frenzy, and make a leap for my throat.

But he was right, that thing was putting off one helluva beautiful aroma, and I couldn’t wait to get at it. I sat down at the dining room table, broke the seal on my cutlery bag, and lifted the dome off my lunch.

And before you click the link to see the photograph of what was contained within, please take a second to review the KFC website representation of the Famous Bowl at the top of this column. See it? Now look at this.

My stomach sank. It appeared to have already been eaten at least once. It looked like a pipin’ hot bowl of vomit.

But, of course, I ate it anyway. And it was good, really good. The chicken was tender and tasty, not the kind with the hard breading that tears holes in your gums, or anything like that. The gravy was delicious, the corn buttery, and there was so much sodium and fat my heart is still cutting in and out – and it’s the arrhythmia of love.

If they could maybe dress it up a little, and get away from the insinuation of fresh barf, I think the public would embrace the Famous Bowl. Not my wife, needless to say, but the part of the population that lives in the moment, and never bothers with such fancy-pants information as this.

I give the KFC Famous Bowl a solid B, docked a bit for its off-putting appearance. And, for the record, Andy is still not acting quite right.

Further fast food shenanigans

The West Virginia Surf Report!