Friday, June 15, 2012

Pop Culture Curiosity: Bacon Sundae ...

I've eaten plenty of novelty items from fast food menus -- KFC's Double Down taking highest honors so far -- and this is the grossest thing I've ever forced myself to eat for the sake of this website: Burger King's Bacon Sundae.

Eventually someone is going to mention the super scandalous-but-not sundae in my presence and I wanted to know what I was talking about when I made my special dry heave face. What I now know I will say is this: "See there's this kid Billy, right? And he has 15 days to eat 15 worms. If he does it, he gets 50 bucks. And there are all these innovative ways to consume them. He fries them, he boils them, there's Ketchup ..."

The Bacon Sundae reminded me of the book "How to Eat Fried Worms." And, unfortunately, once you think that, you can't unthink it. Not even when you get to the gooey caramel collected in the bottom of your sundae cup. This Burger King thing would be the chapter where Billy's friends find one flattened by a car and baked by the sun and throw it atop ice cream like some sort of virgin rainstorm sacrifice.

The premise of a Bacon Sundae is only disgusting if you are having a conversation with the food-ular repressed. People who have actually put food into their mouth, chewed and swallowed it know deep down that this isn't the worst idea in the world. The bacon is just a salt delivery vehicle and the only thing better than salt is salt with sweet. People like bacon -- so much so that the word should be stuffed into a box with the saying "That's what she said" and fired into outer space. Ice cream is ice cream and when you slather it in sundae toppings like chocolate and caramel the world gets a little brighter. 

Burger King isn't going to try to sell you something impossible. They don't insist that their chefs are sent to France to train with the masters. Burger King isn't pushing Sundae Tartare. They serve safe food, quickly and at a small price, promising to never test or offend customers. The Bacon Sundae isn't edgy: It's fake edgy. It is the greatest amount of audacity possible in this limited Burger King environment. Like when we tried to get away with wearing mock turtle necks at St. Pius X when the dress code clearly called for collared shirts. 

As for the numbers: When you decide to eat a sundae you know you are committing to a certain amount of calories and you've either made your peace with it or you have a special place where you like to go crawl into the fetal position and have a short time out for the shame. Whatever's your jam. The Bacon Sundae is 510 calories, according to BK's nutrition menu. This is less than the Oreo Brownie Sundae, but almost twice as much as both the chocolate and caramel sundaes -- which are the same as the Bacon Sundae, minus the bacon. 

That says to me: This bacon better be more delicious than me just ordering two of these sundaes without bacon. 

That's the problem. It's not. At least not at the store I went to. It's the same bacon that is made in bulk and set aside for quick access throughout the day when someone orders a bacon cheeseburger. It wasn't  even re-heated. I'm not a scientist, but I feel safe in saying that it is easier to hide shitty bacon between meat, cheese and bread that it is to hide shitty bacon that looks like sidewalk kill on top of ice cream. It was a lifeless slab of flavorlessness, thus the wormy imagery. After two bites I chucked the bacon and just ate the sundae. 

When I do these experiments I like to eat in the store for the full on experience of what it is like to eat this food on this day in this place. Almost every time someone at a nearby table unleashes a meaty uvula-quaking belch that gives me a gut punch. I'm not opposed to belches as a rule. I usually think they are a great vibrating gust of comic genius. But not here. Not in this place. It's too real. 


chuck said...

If this project ever involves you ordering one of those Pizza Hut hot-dog pizzas, you can eat it yourself.

Christa said...

But what about the pizza stuffed with chicken nuggets?