Saturday, January 23, 2010

Don't Be Poutine the Blame on KFC

Today we're venturing to a KFC located up north in Canada, America's Hat. Even though chain restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, have essentially the same menu no matter where you are (which makes it simply wonderful that you can get Chicken McNuggets when you're in Paris), there are variations on each menu that reflect each culture. Today's alleged culprit is something called poutine.

I, being a Yankee American, had absolutely no idea what poutine is, though from what I have read, it appears to be French fries topped with cheese curd and gravy. (It also appears to be pronounced poo-TIN. I figured I should throw that in there just in case you got a hankerin' for some and didn't want to sound like a fool trying to order some...somewhere.) So...gravy laden cheese fries, eh? I have to tell you that I can't decide if that is ruining a perfectly good plate of cheese fries or if it is creating a heaven on earth sort of delicacy. It's a toss up.

Now, the KFCs up there in America's Hat offer poutine on their menu. And up there at a KFC in Acton, Ontario, a one 15-year old Kendell Lakin had decided to partake in said poutine. So far, so good, right? Right. But then things went slightly awry.

According to the good folks over there at, Ms. Lakin was enjoying her piping hot poutine when she suffered an epileptic seizure and did somewhat of a faceplant in said dish. As a result "...her chin started to blister and her neck appeared red and burned. She went to the hospital and was treated for second-degree burns. Her chin and bottom lip have several large blisters." Wow. That sounds brutal. I'm glad that she's recovering from that incident. Wouldn't it be great if my sad little tale of woe ended here? Sure it would. But you know it doesn't, right? Right.

See, here's the problem: Ms. Lakin's father, a one Lee Lakin, is upset. He's upset at (wait for it) KFC. Why? Well, because they serve their poutine hot, of course. Wait. What now?

Correct. He is angry because the poutine is hot. He claims that "...he’s not after a multi-million dollar lawsuit, he just wants to speak out to warn others and perhaps get the Colonel to turn the temperature down on the cheese and gravy."

Now, below is a close up of the poutine at a KFC as shown to us by the folks over at the I Love Food Blog (picture used without permission, but without malice either). I'm really not thinking that this looks disgusting, but if it were cold, I'd think exactly that. Poutine is clearly made to be eaten hot. It's a hot dish. How do I know this? I know this because French fries are meant to be eaten hot. Gravy is meant to be eaten hot. Melted cheese needs to be hot in order to get that melted quality that makes the melted cheese what it is (that being melted). There's a plethora of heat that is needed to make this dish. That is obvious. What is not obvious is what in the world is wrong with Mr. Lakin.

Perhaps this quote from the aforementioned Mr. Lakin will help us figure it out. He said, "I’m not looking for $10 million. ’m looking for someone to stand up and say, ‘We’re sorry Mr. Lakin, we’re sorry Kendell. We want to make this right and hey everybody this food is hot.’" Hmmm. No. No, that didn't help me sort through this at all.

"Hey everybody this food is hot"? That's what he wants? He didn't know that there was hot food at a KFC?! I'm going to take umbrage at that statement (basically because it's rare that I get to take any umbrage at all anymore, so when I see a chance for umbrage, I jump at it). He knew there was hot food at the KFC. His daughter knew there was hot food at the KFC. The only thing that no one could have possibly known at that KFC was that his daughter was going to have a seizure. And I've got news for Mr. Lakin. There's no way that one can predict when a seizure is going to happen. It's going to happen whenever it wants to regardless as to the temperature of the food in front of the person having the seizure.

Mr. Lakin took his concerns to that particular KFC. He states: "One comment the manager said to me was, ‘The poutine comes in frozen so we really have to heat it up.' KFC needs to figure out how to make this poutine without burning people." KFC already HAS figured out how to make the poutine without burning people! They put it in a cup! They give folks a spork if they want one! (And who doesn't want a spork?) They don't ladle it, piping hot, into the bare hands of the restaurant's patrons! They don't force patrons to eat it out of the cup like a sow at a trough! They've got that one covered, Mr. Lakin!

Immediately following the inexplicable statement above, Mr. Lakin said, "You’ve got hot gravy and hot cheese, two really hot elements in there.” YES! Yes you DO! (Whew! For a minute there, I thought this guy was a complete moron. Oh, wait a minute. He's still blaming the hot poutine for burning his daughter when she had a seizure. Never mind. I'd like to retract that part about him not being a complete moron. Thanks.) You have two really hot elements that are going to burn anyone who touches their mortal flesh to them! That's why you see all of those folks blowing on food at virtually every restaurant establishment that serves food that isn't cold! It's to avoid the burns! We know that! We know about the "two really hot elements"!

What if she hadn't dove into the poutine? What if instead she ended up falling down and hitting her head on the concrete floor? Are you going to go around warning people that concrete is a very solid material and that people should be aware that if you fall and hit your head on the floor that it's going to hurt and is possibly going to injure you? I don't think that you are and do you know why I think that? Because it would be asinine, that's why! And acting like it was the fault of either the KFC or the poutine itself that your daughter got burned is just laughable.

Must I really state the obvious and say that it is not the fault of the KFC that Mr. Lakin's daughter was burned after she went face first in the poutine during an unpredictable epileptic seizure?! Really? The nature of hot food is that it's hot! The nature of a seizure is that it's a seizure! Let's try and put this in a different context (and let's also try not to sound like a complete ass while doing so). but if Mr. Lakin's daughter is prone to seizures, why isn't it her responsibility to only eat food that is cold in case this sort of incident happens again? Because that would be what? Ridiculous, that is correct. But if it weren't so ridiculous, wouldn't the argument be that eating only foods that were cold would be her way of taking responsibility for herself and her condition? Where is the responsibility of the individual in this story?! Oh, that's right. It's missing. Morons.

Wait! Just one more angle! Let's say that this moron is correct and that there should be a label or a sign or a talking dog (which would be kind of cool, really) that says that the hot food is, in fact, hot. Explain to me what effect that is going to have when someone has a seizure and goes face first into the hot food? The hot food that they knew was hot? (You know, because of the talking dog and all.) That's right! It's not going to have any effect. AT ALL!

Come on, sir! Just because something bad and/or unfortunate happens to someone, that doesn't necessarily mean that someone has to be blamed. It doesn't necessarily mean that someone is at fault. That's why some occurrences are called (wait for it) accidents! Sir, if you want to go around spouting some sort of message, how about you make it what to do in case you're around someone who has a seizure? At least that might do some good! But going around telling everyone that hot food is actually hot? Well, that seems like a waste of time on many levels. Stick to seizure awareness. People will hate you less.

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