The Ubiquitous Colonel Sanders

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Cleaning some old photos off my computer this morning I came across this one. I took it in in Langkawi, Malaysia in 2006–a smiling Colonel Sanders, looking down on a crowd of Muslim Malays.

All the way back in 2004 we were on a family vacation in Paris, when our kids spotted the magic letters “KFC.” They begged and begged and whined and whined, and we relented. So there we were, in Paris, buying kids’ meals at KFC. I remember finding it amusing that you could get a glass a wine with your fried chicken there.

So what should we make of the global appeal of Colonel Sanders? The triumph of southern fried chicken? The triumph of American fast food? The ever-shrinking world? All of the above?

 

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30 comments on “The Ubiquitous Colonel Sanders

  1. The Colonel was even at Burning Man, Bill… although not the authorized version. The Kentucky camp set up a KFC look-a-like right down to the Colonel himself. Alas, there was no fried chicken. Instead they offered fried baloney sandwiches with a shot of Kentucky Bourbon for breakfast. How could I resist? 🙂 –Curt

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  2. BeeHappee says:

    Ha ha. Kentucky bourbon for breakfast sounds good. . . My kids in Lithuania now, the only fast food here is McD in three major cities. But they managed to spot that also. 🙂 so far, they are pretty happy with dumplings, sausages and dark rye bread. Me too.

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    • Bill says:

      I recall how popular McDs when it arrived in Moscow. It’s like an unstoppable force. I used to work a lot in Brazil and there it is the custom to never touch your food. They use a knife and fork for everything. But when McDonalds arrived the young people all went there (it being the hip place to be) and french fries and Big Macs began changing the food culture.

      So good that your children are getting to visit your homeplace. I’d be very happy with the dumplings, sausages and dark rye bread too!! Hoping you have a wonderful visit!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres says:

    Just about the very time you were having some family time in Paris and eating KFC, my mother had moved down here from Kansas City. She was a great KFC fan, and our relatives “up north” often would have it for a casual weekend supper.

    One day, she said, “I really would like some Kentucky Fried Chicken.” Such a simple request — but when I started trying to find a KFC, I couldn’t. After resorting to an internet search, I finally found some franchises in surrounding towns, but the closest was 20 miles away. Whether that’s still true, I don’t know, but in that case, we drove to the restaurant and had our chicken there. It would have been cold by the time I got it home.

    There needs to be some sympathy for people who live in fast-food deserts, don’t you think? 🙂

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  4. Yes. One can get beer at McDonald’s in Germany! Not sure we should be proud of bringing fast food to the rest of the world though… ❤
    Diana xo

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  5. avwalters says:

    It’s food engineering. They’ve tinkered and tested until they honed it to a science–the perfect ratios of salt, fat and sugar–the one that is addictive. And that’s what they feed us, because they know that we’ll have no choice but to go back for more. It takes a while of wholesome food to recalibrate your senses to the real flavors of food. Well worth it, though.

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    • Bill says:

      You’re right. Have you read Michael Moss’s book Sugar Salt Fat? There is an army of highly paid food scientists whose job is to create food-like substances that we’ll overeat.

      You’re absolutely right about recalibrating our senses. I haven’t eaten that kind of food in over 10 years. My stomach would immediately reject it if I tried now.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie Graves says:

    I must admit I have a weakness for KFC fried chicken. I don’t have it very often, but when I do, I sure enjoy it. Finger licking good?

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    • Bill says:

      I used to eat it every now and then. Of course it couldn’t compare to my Granny’s fried chicken but I liked it. There’s no way I could eat KFC now though after a decade of wholesome food. My innards would reject it!

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  7. Dani says:

    Personally, the last time I had it (years ago) there was more (old) oil soaked battery crumb on it than chicken flesh. We stopped buying it. I far prefer the taste of plain boiled chicken – where you can actually taste the chicken, as opposed to only the oily battery crumb coating.

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    • Bill says:

      Back when I ate fast food I was a fan of fried chicken biscuits. No way I could eat them now though. I remember that if I ate them while driving my steering wheel would get greasy. The only time I eat chicken now is if we cull a hen or rooster. Then we slow cook it in a crock pot.

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  8. Susan says:

    I’m always surprised that other countries go for that stuff. I guess bad taste is universal. Ha!

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    • Bill says:

      It’s considered hip and cool to eat at American fast food restaurants in much of the world. They are part of how we do imperialism these days. 🙂

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  9. Dearest Bill,
    Both of us never have supported the Colonel in a way that we bought his Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not good for your health… But you are right about the world becoming smaller and smaller and ALL nations, sooner or later will copy-cat the U.S.A.
    If you want to live healthy; you have to prepare your own food from fresh ingredients and cutting down on the salt, refined sugar and flour.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    • Bill says:

      It does seem that the world wants to be like Americans, fast food and all. I recall a trendy new neighborhood in Rio that was designed to look like an American town–complete with fast food joints and English names. It was THE place to be.

      Sadly we’re exporting our epidemic of poor health. Hopefully good sense will eventually prevail.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. mukhamani says:

    We have a KFC here too :))

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  11. A friend of mine lives in Japan. She says it’s a tradition all across the country to eat KFC at Christmas, something that’s been firmly woven into the culture since the 1970’s.

    buzzfeed.com/eimiyamamitsu/did-you-know-that-kfc-is-a-huge-deal-in-japan-on-christmas?utm_term=.yjjxmBp6G#.ybZKPqxLo

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  12. Zambian Lady says:

    That guy certainly is everywhere, Zambia included. When I lived in Austria, I made a mistake of buying KFC for an elderly relative when I took her on a tour of Prague. She needed food before taking her medicine and the nearest food shop was KFC, so I fed her that since it was an urgent situation. Problems! She started only demanding for “that chicken in a bucket with an old man”. I did not worry much as she is now back in Zambia where she eats wholesome food straight from her farm. That chicken is surely addictive.

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