While watching the St. Louis Cardinals make the amazing run culminating in their 11th World Series victory, Fox and TBS bombarded me with one commercial that always caught my attention: the new KFC Cheesy Bacon Bowl.
The original bowl, introduced in 2006, combined pieces of fried chicken with mashed potatoes, corn and cheese, all mixed together into one bowl. So KFC took the next logical step, and put bacon on it.
With the help of Voice Editor Jackson Adams and former Scout Sports Editor Bill Hopkins, I decided to test the Cheesy Bacon Bowl. I came out on the other side disgusted with what I’d eaten, yet still enjoyed every second of it.
As with nearly all commercials, what you see is not what you get. The bowl featured in the ad is nicely piled together with care; the ones we ate had the impression of a couple of scoops of each ingredient thrown together haphazardly. The chicken comes in various shapes that are too big to be popcorn chicken but too small to be strips. Apparently KFC invented some sort of middle ground between the two without telling the rest of the world.
The cheese, described by Jackson as “prison quality,” is strangely melted together and created the worst feeling in my stomach. The mashed potatoes were tasty, but at the bottom of the bowl they were cold. And there’s gravy, and it’s awful, since it’s mixed together with everything else in the bowl.
But the most disappointing aspect is the whole reason for trying the bowl: the bacon. Though it’s clearly real bacon, it simply comes in the form of bacon bits. At least in my bowl, the bits were shifted all to one side at the top, and the thickness of the concoction made it impossible to mix anything up.
Yet even with all the flaws of the Cheesy Bacon Bowl, it has to be eaten once by anyone curious about it. The overall taste is almost indescribable; separately, on a plate, you would have a nice meal with separate food items. But here, the flavors mix to the point where each ingredient tastes similar. It is a strange, bland hodgepodge of starches and meat enhanced by cheese and bacon. The taste is distinctive enough to make it memorable. Whether that’s good or bad will be up to you.
Comedian Patton Oswalt described a KFC bowl as a “failure pile in a sadness bowl,” and it’s hard to argue with that idea. The bowl is disgusting and I hated myself for eating it for the rest of the day. But the taste was so unique and interesting that I’m somehow still glad I ate it.
It probably took a week off of my life and forced me to invest in a new bottle of Tums, but for those 20 minutes in the afternoon while I was eating it, the bowl was worth it.