‘For the Colonel, It Was Finger‐Lickin’ Bad’

MrBeast being displeased with the quality of MrBeast Burgers brings to my mind Colonel Harland Sanders, who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken, sold the company to a conglomerate in 1964, and then remained their paid spokesman for the remainder of his life, despite the fact that he despised their food and professed deep regret that he sold the chain. In 1976, New York Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton accompanied the then-86-year-old Sanders to a KFC in midtown Manhattan:

Once in the kitchen, the colonel walked over to a vat full of frying chicken pieces and announced, “That’s much too black. It should be golden brown. You’re frying for 12 minutes — that’s six minutes too long. What’s more, your frying fat should have been changed a week ago. That’s the worst fried chicken I’ve ever seen. Let me see your mashed potatoes with gravy, and how do you make them?”

When Mr. Singleton explained that he first mixed boiling water into the instant powdered potatoes, the colonel interrupted. “And then you have wallpaper paste,” he said. “Next suppose you add some of this brown gravy stuff and then you have sludge.” “There’s no way anyone can get me to swallow those potatoes,” he said after tasting some. “And this cole slaw. This cole slaw! They just won’t listen to me. It should he chopped, not shredded, and it should be made with Miracle Whip. Anything else turns gray. And there should be nothing in it but cabbage. No carrots!”

Mr. Singleton replied, “I just do what I’m told, sir,” and Colonel Sanders then said gently to the now stunned manager, “Well, it’s not your fault. You’re just working for a company that doesn’t know what it’s doing.”

Sanders was being paid $200,000 a year at the time to represent the chain in commercials. But what were they going to do — fire him? I wonder how many kids today realize Sanders was a real man who actually founded the chain, and not a fictional mascot, like Ronald McDonald, or the great pizza connoisseur Charles Entertainment Cheese?

Wednesday, 9 August 2023