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Funny and frightening fast foods

This weekend, the State Fair of Texas will serve up deep fried helpings of everything from lemonade to caviar, and KFC’s Double Down sandwich has become infamous – but restaurant chains are now upping the ante with their own ludicrous menu items.

The Double Down proved successful at getting consumers to talk about KFC after it posted the lowest sales for a Yum! Brands restaurant chain, according to That fast food feat was two chicken breasts with two pieces of bacon and cheese sandwiched between them.

From a food standpoint, this raises questions. Why would KFC replace a source of carbohydrates with a source of more protein and fat?

And if this is a “sandwich,” then why does it only have cheese, bacon and sauce in the middle? Why not at least throw in a tomato and make it look like you are trying?

Still, other chains have caught on to KFC’s idea that the consumer will put aside health for uniqueness. Some predate the Double Down, like McDonald’s offering of a syrup-injected pancake sandwich – or what they call the McGriddle – since 2003.

This item might be bearable with just sausage, but it is offered with bacon, cheese and egg as well. If only Micky D’s put chocolate chips in the pancake buns, they would have a real contender for the leading cause of obesity.

Then, there is Friendly’s, which decided to say, “Forget the alternative buns, let’s replace each bun with a sandwich!” Thus, its artery-clogging monster was born – a sandwich made out of sandwiches.

The restaurant’s Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt boasts four bread slices, two cheese slices, one patty and 1,500 calories.

Ever eaten mozzarella sticks and thought to yourself: “Wow, I wish these breaded fried cheese sticks were smothered in more cheese and fried with even more breading?”

Wish no more! Denny’s offers the Fried Cheese Melt – the most extravagant way to die of cheese overdose. It also contains 610 more milligrams of sodium than the USDA’s recommended daily intake.

It seems fast food chain Carl’s Jr. wants to enter this fatty race, too, with its testing of the Footlong Cheeseburger in Indiana and Southern California restaurants over the summer. No exact nutrition facts have been reported, but one can imagine how unhealthy three burger patties on a 12-inch hoagie style bun could be.

Apparently, the Double Six Dollar Burger – which ranked No. 3 on’s 272 fast food items highest in calories – just wasn’t enough for the full-grown grizzly bears that frequent these restaurants.

These corporate fast food joints should leave the dangerously experimental cooking to annual events like the State Fair of Texas’ quest to leave nothing un-fried. This year’s eight entries include fried club salad, caviar and even beer.

That’s right, there is a less healthy way to consume beer than the traditional keg stand.

We live in a world of extremes. Many restaurants like Evos have attempted a push toward a “green” lifestyle – with campaigns to revamp their image as healthy and natural.

It seems the fast food industry is heading in the opposite direction, pushing our digestive limits with attention-grabbing food items. When will it end?

A recent Internet rumor claimed KFC was vying, once again, for the edible abomination crown with its latest experiment, the “KFC Skinwich.” This item – a sandwich made of KFC chicken skin – proved to be merely an Internet hoax.

However, Kevin Pang of the Chicago Tribune posted pictures and a description of his homemade KFC “Skinwich” on his blog. He peels the skin off of several chicken breast sandwiches and ultimately remarks: “Let’s face it: That’s the only reason why we eat KFC.”

While this is true, it could be dangerous if KFC were to find out.

All this unhealthiness doesn’t even take fountain drinks and french fries into account, and many fast fooders accompany their sandwiches with these.

When fast food companies start competing for attention by dreaming up ridiculous menu items, they do an injustice to an already unhealthy population.

Yet, until we learn to consider our bodies before ordering half the day’s caloric intake, the food industry will continue combining fat, sugar and salt between two buns, four buns, no buns – and who knows what else.

Particular offenders:

McDonald’s McGriddle (with sausage, egg and cheese)

Description: Egg, sausage and cheese sandwiched between two buns infused with syrup.

Calories: 560

Fat: 32 g / 12 g saturated fat

Sodium: 1,360 mg

KFC Double Down

Description: Two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese, sauce and two fried chicken breast buns.

Calories: 540

Fat: 32 g

Sodium: 1,380 mg

Red Robin’s Wise Guy Burger

Description: Beef burger topped with pepperoni slices, banana peppers, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce.

Calories: 1,012

Fat: 51 g

Sodium: 2,017 mg

Friendly’s Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt

Description: A thick burger with two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns.

Calories: 1,500

Fat: 79 g / 38 g saturated fat

Sodium: 2,090 mg

Carl’s Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger

Description: A whopping double burger with tomatoes, cheese and onions

Calories: 1,520

Fat: 111 g

Sodium: 2,760 mg

Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt

Description: Thick fried cheese sandwich made with mozzarella sticks in the middle, served with fries and marinara

Calories: 1,260

Fat: 63 g / 21 g saturated fat

Sodium: 3,010 mg