The nihilism of the Popeyes chicken sandwich and its scarf


Yes, I ate Popeyes' chicken dang sandwich, the new addition to his menu that has been storming the internet since his launching August 12th. The sandwich was delicious for what it was: chicken, steep and well seasoned; pickles, exceptional; the spicy, functional mayo.

Other people seem to agree with me, judging by the pictures I saw of makeshift signs on service windows, indicating that the sandwiches were exhausted and that the messages were clearly erased in the eagerness of dispel the hordes. A surreptitious photo of an exhausted Popeyes employee, dubbed while she was sitting on a bench outside the restaurant, has even become a favorite subject for jokes. I doubt that people like her will be rewarded with a fair share of the profits they have contributed to the restaurant chain. (Popeyes, please prove me wrong.)

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I also did the same pose while sitting on a pile of folded rubber floor mats after a busy service in a restaurant kitchen, regretting, like many of them, that I was I have not been paid enough to deal with this shit. During the last week, I slowly started to regret my role in this hoopla, as small as it is.

There is something terribly depressing about watching the Brand Twitter accounts giants of fast food sass each other on who has the best fried chicken sandwich. That brings me back to the '90s, when these same companies struggled to grasp the fragile concept of attitude ("tude") in their marketing materials, printing combo meal bags decorated with children with spiky hair doing skateboard tricks. and throwing sunglasses on their beloved pet mascots.

The circus is ridiculous enough to make children forget about the faces whose faces we all watched on TV after their parents were arrested by ICE at the Mississippi poultry factory that employed them. And think for a moment about the life of factory-reared chicken that will eventually become a well-seasoned fried mass in a place like Popeyes. The reality is probably worse than anything you've imagined.

The sandwich was delicious for what it was: a cheap product whose real cost is borne by marginalized people and animals, besides the consumer. It seems that, as a culture, many of us who have the means to choose between many dining options eat between the concern for the well-being of our slaughter animals and our food service workers and the willingness to endure anything for security reasons. momentary pleasure. Yes, life is hard and sometimes you just want to roll your eyes and eat good things. At the very least, it's good to know what everyone is talking about.

Snappy Twitter repartee, catchy bag designs, regardless of the political symbolism inscribed in the object itself – they all act as a distraction from the real consequences of the choices we make. he is possible to keep all these truths together and to sit down with all the embarrassing implications to which they lead us.

Alternatively, you can sit and eat fried chicken sandwiches in one of these local establishments:

Hawking Bird. Lunch and dinner every day. 4901 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland. 510-593-2376 or

L & # 39; bird. Lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday. 115 New Montgomery St, San Francisco. 415-872-9825 or

Chicken Proposal. 11h-21h every day. Locations in San Francisco and Oakland.

Pinky and Red's. 11h-19h Monday Friday. 2495 Bancroft Way, ASUC, Berkeley. 510-255-1516 or

Bakesale Betty. 11h-14h Tuesday-Saturday. 5098 Telegraph Ave, Oakland. 510-985-1213 or

Best song I've heard in a restaurant

While dining at Eight Tables, the gourmet restaurant of China Live, I noticed that the music was very interesting, featuring American and Chinese jazz standards. "Heebie Jeebies" of the Boswell Sisters was one of them; The close and virtuoso vocal harmonies of the three sisters feel like theirs, woven as tightly as a beautiful wicker basket.

Photo of the week

Unlike the photo above, here is the Popeyes chicken sandwich as it appeared recently in the San Francisco Chronicle newsroom.

What I read

For more spicy dishes and taken on the chicken sandwich, check out the links below.

• Via Reveal, an investigation report on Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery, a program combining rehabilitation with a cheap workforce. "Perhaps no detoxification better represents this allegiance to big business than CAAIR. It was launched in 2007 by leaders of chicken production companies who were struggling to find workers. By forming a Christian detox, they could provide factories with cheap and captive labor, while helping men overcome their addiction. "

• In New Yorker, Helen Rosner examines the contours of chicken sandwich mania. "For some customers, put off by Chick-fil-A's corporate policy and widely-known anti-gay activism funding, Popeyes is appealing to a chicken sandwich with a less obvious moral compromise."

• For Edible Brooklyn, Alicia Kennedy talks with Evan Hanczor of Williamsburg's Egg restaurant about her $ 15.75 fried chicken sandwich. "Food is so complicated because it is essential, but it is also so wasted, and I think that some people and publications with privileges that allow them to know and talk about this reality and shape the taste have the responsibility not to ignore it. "

Curious Cock is a weekly newsletter from Chronicle's restaurant critic Sun Ho, distributed in the inbox on Monday mornings. Follow us on twitter: @ Hooleil

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