Comfort Food across the Country

A few months ago, McDonald’s started selling their Southern Style Chicken Sandwich.  I tried one when they were giving them away one afternoon.  It was pretty good.  However, a number of reviewers on the Internet reported the McDonald’s sandwich to be a mere echo of the real chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A.  Unfortunately, the nearest Chick-Fil-A restaurant is several hours south of us, so I couldn’t confirm this.

I flew down to Knoxville and saw a sign for Chick-Fil-A as I was driving in from the airport.  Unfortunately, it was Sunday and the restaurants are all closed on Sundays.  I went past again Tuesday night and they were doing a brisk business.  The restaurant had two drive-thru lanes with cars winding around the store.  A walk-up window had a shorter line, so I parked and waited in the heat and humidity.

I was surprised to see they had healthy selections on the menu.  I could get a broiled chicken patty on a special wheat bun with a salad or a fruit cup on the side, even a plain baked potato.

Of course, that’s not what I ordered.

I got the Original Chicken Sandwich (from what I’ve heard it is The Original Chicken Sandwich; they invented it) a large piece of fried chicken on a white bun with a dash of butter and a pickle slice.  It was tender and juicy and cut thick enough to be a pork chop.  I accompanied it with some waffle fries (one of my favorites… when they are done correctly) and a slice of lemon pie for dessert.  I washed it all down with a Diet Coke.  After all, I didn’t want to go overboard!

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I am something of a comfort food snob.  I know my pizza (both thick and thin), hot dogs and White Castle.  When I speak of a “beef sandwich”, I am not talking about Arby’s.  I love nothing better than to watch someone experience Lou Malnati’s for the first time.  But my experience leads to ennui.  I don’t enjoy eating it quite as much as I used to.  But traveling around the country, I’ve discovered Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, In-And-Out Burger and now Chick-Fil-A.  I’m glad that there are new frontiers in comfort food.  However, speaking as someone on Weight Watchers, I’m also glad they aren’t close by!


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