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We Need To Talk

Being Valentine’s Day I thought it only fitting that we dive under the covers together, because I think it’s high time we got a little more intimate.  We’ve been hanging out for a while now – and we need to talk.

We need to talk about emotions.  And chicken.  Kentucky Fried Chicken to be precise.

It’s true.  I do *love* KFCLOVE it.  I suspect that I am not alone in this unrequited love.   I am also not too proud to declare that love far & wide.  I suspect that I am rather more alone in that endeavour – especially since I have this healthy-eating blog thing goin’ on, and a podcast listened to all over the world by hundreds of thousands of people where I extol the virtues of eating smarter.  I am not supposed to even mention the name KFC, let alone write about it – or heaven forbid – EAT IT.

But the truth is – even the sight of the bucket makes my heart beat just a little bit faster.  So before I receive an inbox full of flame mail about how I could possibly call myself the Queen of *SANEity and then write an entire post proclaiming the utter yumminess of Kentucky Fried Chicken, hear me out.

Just like you, I am human.  And just like you, I have emotions.  And sometimes, just like yours, those emotions are more powerful than anything else that’s going on.  I know this about you because Jonathan and I receive tons of pleas to talk about emotional eating.  It seems that emotional eating is sometimes all that is standing between us and *SANEity.  I want you to know – I get it.  Truly, deeply get it.  I also want you to know that emotions are like waves – we can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf.  And every once in a while I choose to surf the KFC wave – because sometimes we need to let our emotions have their moment in the spotlight in order to stop them incessantly demanding attention in increasingly unhealthy ways.

So what is it about Kentucky Fried Chicken that makes me drool?  Nothing.  Why does KFC have the ability to make me do inSANE things?  It doesn’t.  It’s absolutely nothing to do with the chicken.  It’s all about the emotions, Baby.

Carrie Brown  |  KFC

It all began several years ago – ok, a long time ago – before I was even a teenager.  Every other Saturday my family would make the hour-and-a-quarter long drive up to London to my grandparents house to spend the afternoon and have tea with them.  In those days the term “tea” in this context meant a meal consisting  of sandwiches or bread and butter with jam, maybe some cheese and cold meat, and then a piece of cake, all served with a pot of tea.  This was either the last meal of the day or a light meal served between lunch and dinner.  For our family it was the last meal of the day.

We usually left our grandparents around 8 pm to head home, and one {entirely} memorable night my father did something quite extraordinary & totally out of character.  Driving down the road he suddenly pulled over and stopped outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken store.  He turned to our mother and said “Let’s have chicken and chips.”  My brother and I sat in stunned silence in the back seat wondering what on earth our mother’s response would be, and if, in fact, the world would ever be the same again.  To our utter astonishment she simply agreed.  They left us in the car while they went into the store to get 4 boxes of chicken and chips.  {Bro – chime in anytime you want.}

To appreciate this tale, you have to understand the utter enormity of what was taking place.  We had a whole slug of unwritten codes of conduct in our family, some of which included:

1. You NEVER eat in public unless you are at a restaurant, sat at a table, using a knife and fork.

2. You NEVER have extra meals outside of the 3 structured, regular-as-clockwork meals that your mother prepares.

3. You NEVER eat fast food, junk food or pretty much anything that isn’t made from scratch by your mother.

4. You NEVER do anything random or unplanned, reckless or spontaneous.

5. You NEVER spend money on anything that is not a necessity (unless it is Christmas).

6. You NEVER do anything just because it is fun or enjoyable.

This was a family who only ate sweets (candy) for one week a year – from Christmas to New Year.  A family who only drank fizzy drinks (soda, pop) that same week; who only had crisps (chips), chocolate biscuits (cookies), and chocolate that same one week of the year.  The same family who ate ice cream maybe twice a year, never went to a fast food place, and had never eaten burgers or a hot-dog.  A family that had only two family vacations that I can remember in the 21 years I lived at home.  A family that almost exclusively only saw any other members of the family (outside of our paternal grandparents) at 21st birthday parties, weddings, and funerals.

Trust me.  This spontaneous pit stop at KFC was a huge deal.  HUGE.  It has remained imprinted on my mind, my heart, my soul…forever.  It was a defining moment.  We ate chicken and chips in the car.

Carrie Brown | KFC

Understand that when I confess to a run-in with a bucket of chicken, I am choosing to let my body live with a dash of inSANEity in order to take care of my emotions.  AND THAT’S OK.  Because sometimes that is the right thing to do to keep yourself in balance.  If you’ve been living SANE for a while, your body is likely very good at dealing with the odd moment of inSANEity, and it will not have any detrimental effect at all.  The {far} greater harm would be in beating yourself up mercilessly over 3 pieces of chicken with a small amount of wheat glued to it.

So don’t tell anyone, but last Thursday night (which is my Friday) I went to KFC on the way home and bought a bucket of chicken!!!!  And I ate it all!!!!  And it was AWESOME!!!!  And I didn’t die!!!!  And I didn’t put on 4 lbs overnight!!!!  In fact – nothing bad happened.  At all.  Fresh, hot, juicy chicken wrapped in that secret blend of 11 herbs & spices clinging to the semi-crispy, delicious tasty skin.  I am salivating just thinking about it.  And sometimes, as was the case at about 8 pm on that particular Thursday night, there was no apparent reason for it…I just had this random, spontaneous desire to eat KFC.  AND THAT’S OK.

And then, the next day I woke up and went on my merry SANE way.  And I won’t eat KFC again until the next KFC wave comes rolling in – which likely won’t be for 6 months, or maybe even a year.  Because I took care of my emotions and the cravings went on their way.  I think it may have been a {very} different story if I’d gone into battle with my emotions instead of just letting them have their moment.

Sometimes you have to lose the battle in order to win the war.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!



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  • NI stumbled upon this via Urban Spoon and just love it! So much of what I love about food and write about is the emotional and social connection it creates between and within people. You write it so much better. :)ReplyCancel

    • cbWhy, thank you, N. I am not sure that it’s true that I write it so much better, but thank you anyway :-)ReplyCancel

  • Natasha ReedI love it when somebody just opens up the closet and airs their dirty, oh so dirty foody favorites.

    I seriously have to ask….have you tried Ezell’s? Because really, Ezell’s is stinking awesome. Cheers to you on the chicken love. ;-)ReplyCancel

    • cb:-) It is what it is.

      Ezell’s, no. But I will now! Stinking awesome sounds, well, stinking awesome right now.

      Love your portrait work BTW.ReplyCancel

  • Lt. SandersI am an unabashed lover of KFC’s bucket of bird! Spread the original recipe love!ReplyCancel

  • PateeNice job. It’s about time somebody like you told the truth. Way to go.ReplyCancel

  • AlisaGreat post! It’s one of my favorites too, although I dont get to eat it that much these days. You are right, there are a lot of happy memories with a bucket of KFC :)ReplyCancel

  • cbNo, I have a really cool tool that automatically deletes all the spammers. Leaving yours up here so that maybe you & your fellow spammers will give up and go do something useful with your lives instead.ReplyCancel

  • Birdie CarewGreat article. Waiting for more.ReplyCancel

  • Sunbreaks « Thursday Night Bites[…] “Really?!?! Fine, eat your chicken, but why write about it?” Still, I clicked on the post and read it. I was totally blown away. The author, CB of Foodie Footnotes, completely captured what […] ReplyCancel

  • Cyndy SponslerSplendid, as a gentleman would say. Brilliant work on this writing. I sincerely adore it ;).ReplyCancel

  • JaneSpotted a link to this post over at Delicious. Thanks for posting it.ReplyCancel

  • Chicken Love » Foodie Footnotes[…] twin made me do it.  She said, “Have you tried Ezell’s?  Because really, Ezell’s is stinking […] ReplyCancel

  • Warts And All » Carrie Brown | Marmalade and Mileposts[…] nature or human emotion.  Science doesn’t get that you can have an emotional attachment to Kentucky Fried Chicken so strong it can make you drive 30 miles just to get a bucket.  The science is simple – that […]ReplyCancel

  • Summer Pear Slaw » Carrie Brown | Marmalade and Mileposts[…] and The Hubs were due to come over with a big bucket of bird in the early evening.  My contribution?  To bring some *SANEity to the proceedings.  Which, by […]ReplyCancel

  • RomyDear Carrie
    Thanks for sharing this story.
    Looking forward to more of your posts.

  • NancyI had pancakes for breakfast with my dad and I didn’t feel guilty for one second! :) :) :)ReplyCancel

  • cowgirl raeYou rock Carrie! Thank your for sharing. Thank you for showing the world the humanness in the blog-o-sphere.

    I’m astounded at the bitterness and judgmental attitudes others show, too bad some folks feel driven to only show what they think others want to see, AND, go so far as to hold those expectations over others.

    Don’t they know it’s not a contest? there are no winners or losers?

    Carry on!ReplyCancel

    • carrieThanks, Cowgirl. I just have to be real – it’s who I am. Some people will criticize – I am OK with that!!!ReplyCancel

  • tammylove it… had a similar situation with cinnamon rolls yesterday.. smiling!ReplyCancel

  • AnnCarrie, I LOVE this post! It shows that you are human, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate hearing about people who have emotional eating days because it makes me feel better about my own indulgences from time to time. I’m willing to bet that most of us have days like that, and I really like that you shared your KFC craving with us. It makes me not beat myself up as much when I emotional eat… which I did the night before last with Domino’s pizza and Valentine chocolates. Yesterday I hopped back on the sane wagon, but boy was eating pizza and chocolate fun!ReplyCancel

    • carrieThanks, Ann! I have to be honest – it’s just who I am. Glad it helps!!ReplyCancel

  • AshaThank you for your honesty. Sometimes we hold a perception that healthy food bloggers eat chia seeds and kale all day every day. When in fact, they don’t. We can use our misguided perceptions to berate ourselves (which, as you point out does far greater harm than the food we are eating). Okay I confess I ate 10 peanut butter reeses yesterday, and guilt tripped myself the entire evening. Sigh.

    The whole notion of eating one’s emotions is something I am fascinated by and am exploring further. Would love to hear more posts like this. Nice one Carrie.ReplyCancel

    • carrieHi Asha – thanks for chiming in! I do, for the most part, eat SANE – 95% of the time – but I don’t berate myself when I don’t because it’s just not helpful! I eat SANE because I feel so much better when I do, and I physically suffer when I don’t. There are different types of emotional eating and I will deifinitely be writing a lot more of this! It’s important.ReplyCancel

  • Potty DimleyCB: you are a wise woman. In the UK in the 1970s and 80s, KFC was exotic and memorable for all the reasons that you listed. To this day, it’s a rare and delicious treat.

    When I got married the first time at an absurdly young age, we finished our make shift wedding with a night out with friends. On the way home, my new husband of less than 12 hours refused to let me eat KFC on the way home. There were tears, and thirty years later, I still swear that’s where it started to go horribly wrong….ReplyCancel

    • carriePotty – love the story. KFC has a lot to answer for!! From one KFC lover to another…ReplyCancel