INSIDE EDITION: CHICK-FIL-A
I am fascinated with the Pennsylvanian obsession with Chick-Fil-A. Friends, co-workers, business affiliates—men everywhere, eating and discussing Chick-Fil-A on a daily basis! Madness! I was able to discount the credibility of the praise when it was coming from a particular Southern transplant, but once gainfully-employed Northerners began to barrage me with the joys of fried chicken, I had to take it seriously.
So despite being in my awareness for at least 15 years, I was barely interested in Chick-Fil-A until the past several months, when the CFA insanity seemed to be reaching a hilt. Last night, Brian suggested it on our way to see Inception at the KOP (Vague comment about taking kids out of Villanova but not being able to take something else out of the something something…), and clearly, this was a sign from above that It Was Time, to try the famous “chikin”.
We stood back from the counter, surveying our possibilities. Brian looked at me imploringly, and I said, with the voices of a thousand women behind me, “I just want a bite of yours.” He took this well, so I added, “and a bucket of Diet Coke.” Which he said he could not accomplish, until I pointed out the “gallon” option to the right of “extra-large” under the beverage column. We discussed and settled on a chicken sandwich, with big fries to share. And one of every kind of sauce, to get the full Chick-Fil-A experience. The 16-year-old taking our order laughed merrily with our joyous silliness, and cooperated.
I pulled apart several burning-hot-from-the-fryer waffle fries to sample the sauces (CFA sauce: creamy, a little sweet, a little mustardy, addictive; Honey Mustard: a little too sweet and too mustardy, and a radioactive shade of greenish yellow; Ranch: Just no; Barbecue: of course it was awesome; Polynesian: the sweet half of sweet and sour, monotonous but tasty nonetheless) while Brian took a bite of the sandwich quietly.
He looked somewhat confused. By a chicken sandwich? “Lauren- it tastes like rye bread.” Huh? “No, like rye or pumpernickel. You’ll know what I mean.” His inner conflict still written across his face, I took a bite. Oh. It most definitely had caraway in the breading, which was soggy. Disappointment. I’m not as bad as I used to be, but when I was little, I would spit out Dad’s soda bread if he put caraway seeds in it. Which was upsetting for all parties involved, because Dad is notorious for making the richest, most cakelike soda bread of any we (friends, family, innocent bystanders) have ever tasted. He may tell you his secret ingredient. I will not.
Let down by the toxic combination of high fructose corn syrup and unmet expectations, we turned to the waffle fries and carbonated beverages for consolation, which performed satisfactorily. Brian and I discussed insignificant but unexpected fees on the cable bill and more worthy imports from Georgia, like Otis Redding and Bobby Jones, and prepared ourselves for lots of thinking during the movie ahead. Several hours later, we exited the theater, buoyed by the truth that some things in life can, actually, live up to the hype.