Ever since the 1930s, the time when Henry Ford first needed a way to carry his amber-colored glass bottle of cocaine-spiked nerve tonic with him to the local flimflam joint, we've found countless ways to find new purpose for the humble automobile cup holder. There's the cup holder-mounted cell phone holder. The stow-away plastic dog bowl, suitable for long road trips. The portable ashtray with the beanbag for a bottom, designed to fit perfectly into the space normally intended for a cup.
And now this: Kentucky Fried Chicken's new "KFC Go Cups," five different bargain-priced snack-sized meals designed to fit in your car's cup holder, presumably to be enjoyed as a part of your hands-free, on-the-go lifestyle.
"KFC Go Cups"
The Pitch: "With KFC Go Cups there are five different ways you can enjoy the great taste of KFC® on the go. Fill your Go Cup with Chicken Littles®, Original Recipe® Bites, Hot Wings™, Original Recipe® Boneless, or Extra Crispy™ Tenders and a serving of crispy seasoned potato wedges. All this comes in a package that easily fits in your car cup holder, making it the perfect on the go snack."
KFC has been working long and hard to make it easier to get fried chicken into our fat faces with as little acknowledgement of the experience as humanly possible, first by simply piling all of their top-selling menu items into a single bowl so that you can eat them with a spoon, and then most recently by removing the bones and skin so that what remains is a hyperpalatable mist of white-meat chicken and lightly-spiced batter that you can almost inhale instead of eating.
It all leads inevitably to this: A meal that fits in your cup holder, so that you can enjoy "fried chicken" instead of "life-giving, hydrating water."
We tried the Original Recipe Boneless version of the Go Cup, served with a few tepid potato wedges, and found that there wasn't a lot new to report. The chicken tasted a few hours old, and the potato wedges were starchy and kind of crumbly. You know, the way it always is. But this isn't about the chicken. The entire story, here, lies in that cup holder-shaped container (and possibly also the fact that as a people, we now consider something that clocks in at 540 calories a "between-meal snack").
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Here's the problem with all of this: Most automobile cup holders are kind of gross. Most are filled not with delicious, frosty beverages, but with the detritus of a life spent sitting in traffic: a few old, crumpled up receipts, a french fry, three stray peanuts, a brass key to a post office box you no longer own, and a few mildewed nickels and dimes, all coated in a sticky shellack of the sweaty condensation from hundreds of drive-through paper cups full of soda, mixed with the slowly melting coating from a single purple Skittle.
Your car's cup holder is simply not a suitable place for food. No, for now, we'll keep eating our chicken the way God intended: At home, and from a bucket.