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Weekly Alibi Speed Eater

Playing Twister: The Last of the Wrap Trilogy

By Nick Brown

SEPTEMBER 2, 1997:  Sandwiches, like guitars, are eternal. Nobody will ever get rid of them, but it's always interesting to watch them try. It's also interesting to watch somebody strum on a hoagie. That's why I, admittedly, exhibit a tendency to pick on sandwich substitutes instead of the myriad of burger variations that pop up daily. By now, we're all quite aware that Kentucky Fried Chicken has a new product called the Twister, especially designed for eating in the car. Lord, don't let me kill again.

It was a stupid day; it was a dumb day. Brown's the name. I eat food. Now, if a man were to slowly stroll in front of my vehicle as I was driving to KFC, I might be inclined to try running him over. That's the kind of day it was, and that's the kind of man I am. He shouted something at me, and I, of course, slowed down and assured him that he was far too cool to be injured by a speeding vehicle. He invited me to climb down from said vehicle. I told him to wait in the middle of the road and I'd be back in 10 minutes, then flipped him off and drove. Unfortunately, this all took place in front of the KFC I was heading for, but there are lots of KFCs.

The Colonel usually requires completion of an elaborate, weaving, back alley maze in order to reach the drive-thru window. This stems from his extensive military training during the Civil War, when they would saw people's legs off. I got my Twister without mishap, however.

The Twister is essentially a bread-like material (dubbed "pita" by the KFC think tank) wrapped around a swirling maelstrom of chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon bits and ranch dressing. It's like a puree of club sandwich about the size and shape of a large human stool. Sound good? It's really not that bad, though also a little weird, as I'm sure you can imagine. Food reality rarely mirrors the Platonic food ideal depicted on the disposable placemat.

My five or so experiences with the Twister were uneven at best. On some occasions the lettuce and tomatoes were wilted and mealy, though sometimes fresh and crisp. Sometimes the chicken was chunky, other times ground. Sometimes there were bones and gristle bits. Sometimes I blacked out and woke up with the wrapper in my mouth. Whatever the case, I ate every last crumb of every last Twister and seem to remember enjoying it.

I didn't try eating one while driving because I knew it would piss me off, but I will concede that others might do so, thanks to KFC's ingenious packaging. Each Twister is sealed in a crinkly, plastic bag, the top inch of which tears off along a perforation. The bag actually keeps the food together and would allow a driver to set down the Twister if he were busy getting into a car crash. Then the Twister would be ready for the cops to eat when they showed up several hours later, assuming the lawyers didn't get to it first.

The pita itself is so fragile that you don't even have to bite it. Just apply mild pressure with your teeth and it breaks right off, bringing the sloppy filling along with it. The first bite seems incredibly salty, but one quickly adjusts. By the third or fourth bite, you feel as though that guy you tried to run over got your license plate number.

But the really shocking aspect of the Twister is that it's cold. It's not just tepid or cool; it's refrigerator cold. The temperature and the high-tech wrapper had pretty much convinced me that Twisters were made in a government facility and shipped by Teamsters. A KFC guy assured me, however, that they are made fresh, daily, on site, not by elves, and no, he's not really a woman. I can't imagine that sales will skyrocket during the winter months, so now is the time to try one. For under three bucks a pop, a Twister is much cheaper than a guitar and can make a pretty good meal.

--Nick Brown


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