It's rather quiet out there.
The entire fast food media (which is a thing that we pretend exists so that our parents will think we have real jobs) is holding its collective breath in anticipation of the launch of McDonald's new Mighty Wings, a breaded, bone-in spicy chicken wing that takes our country's current favorite way to eat birds and frees it from the constraints of civil, planned mealtimes.
While we wait hungrily for the Sept. 13 launch date to arrive, here are the other horribly reckless treatments of the noble chicken that we'll be eating in the meantime.
Totino's BOLD! Buffalo Style Chicken Rolls
If you eat frozen Totino's pizza rolls of any variety after the age of 20, it's time for a serious re-evaluation of whether your life is on track. Having a bag of these in the freezer is only acceptable if you have hopelessly cranky children who won't eat anything else, and the remaining alternative is letting Child Protective Services take them away from you.
TGI Fridays' Buffalo Style Popcorn Chicken Buffalo
The existence of these TGI Fridays frozen appetizers is a bit of a mystery, mostly because every visit we have ever made to the chain has ended with "contracting a sore throat" and "blacking out at a stranger's apartment." It's hard to imagine anyone having the urge to re-create the magic of this particular dining experience at home.
Burger King Buffalo Chicken Strips
This new limited-time offering from Burger King marks the first time we can remember flipping open the lid of a fast food container and saying, "Oh, they're served wet. Well, that's a relief." Instead of packing the flavor into the breading, these crunchy chicken strips are actually bathed in a reasonably spicy Buffalo wing sauce with lots of kick from the vinegar. They're exactly like the kind of boneless Buffalo wings you would get in a restaurant, if you ate in the sorts of restaurants that served boneless Buffalo wings. And if that's the case, stop it.
FlatJacks Chicken Snacks
FlatJacks Chicken Snacks are thin, "fully cooked chicken breast cutlet patty fritters with rib meat chopped and formed," which come from Canada and which you can cook in your toaster. Following the package's urging to "toast on highest setting for two cycles or until desired level of crispness," our FlatJacks were indeed ready in just a few minutes, with no dirty dishes (though, the package helpfully notes, some "risk of smoke or fire").
Banquet Frozen Chicken Strip Dinner
Because there's nothing more well-suited to accompany a few frozen chicken strips than "gluey macaroni and cheese that doesn't taste like anything" served with a side of "burnt brownie that will obliterate your mouth with its uncooked liquid center." Actually, don't eat these. You should want to spend more than $1 on a meal, frozen or otherwise.
El Monterey Shell Shockers Nacho Cheese Chicken Taquitos
These actually make a ton of sense, since there's probably a lot of overlap between the "people who want their pretend Mexican food flavor-blasted with synthetic spicy orange cheese powder" and the "people who have suspended driver's licenses and thus can't get themselves to a Taco Bell" demographics.
KFC Hot Shot Bites
We were surprised by just how tasty these breaded nuggets were, offering a texture that at least suggests a relation to actual chickens, followed by the kind of startling, spicy heat that can only be quelled by the accompanying Styrofoam container of oddly vanilla-flavored whipped mashed potatoes. Chase it with the biggest plastic cup of Mountain Dew the chain sells and you'll feel exactly like you're 13 years old.
Jack Link's Buffalo-Style Chicken Big Dippers
If you've ever had your day ruined with the thought that Buffalo chicken wing jerky isn't a thing, there's good news waiting for you at the nearest Walmart. There, near the checkout, you'll find six sad strips of dehydrated chicken, glazed in a very faint moisture that coats your fingers and gives off the distinct smell of sausage casing and artificial butter flavoring. Dip them first in the accompanying packages of buffalo wing sauce, followed by the ranch sauce, followed by the pooling well of your own despair.
These eight take-home monstrosities won't fill the void in your arteries that waits for McDonald's new Mighty Wings, but they're a start. And once
the apocalypse Sept. 13 arrives, all will be right in the world -- and your bellies.