Fast Food Avengers: The Chicken Wars (Part 1)

Fast Food Avengers: The Chicken Wars (Part 1)

To understand the current fried chicken sandwich battle (also known as “The Chicken Wars”), one must go deeper into history and study the origin story of our iconic fast-food restaurants.

Like a greasy version of The Iliad, this epic poem sets “the table,” so to speak, for the fast-food universe. This, my friends, is how it all got started.

The Food that was Fast

The year was 19 hundred and 21

Food was cooked slow, each burger one by one

There was a kingdom, the greatest you ever saw

In the south of Kansas, a land called Wichita


Inside was a king who was hungry and moody

He’s what we’d call today, “A bit of a Foodie”

He yelled at his cooks, “Work faster! Work faster!”

When he missed a meal, it was a disaster


He loved burgers, pizza, fried chicken in buckets

French Fries and tacos, and crispy chicken nuggets

“Bring me more!” he shouted. “Did you not hear what I told ya?!

And refill my goblet with ice and some fresh Coca-Cola.”


The king had many sons and daughters who all loved to cook

There was a servant named Sam who kept their recipes in a book

And one of the chefs, named Elizabeth Tree,

Taught the kids how to cook, completely free


Each child believed, when their Dad passed down the throne,

That the kingdom would become theirs and theirs alone

They’d lead the kingdom as chief and ruler

And polish their crown at the local jeweler


In the winter of ’21, the day finally arrived

An illness hit the king that he would not survive

The chefs brought him steaks grilled over briquettes

He was dying of an illness called “The Meat Sweats”


He ordered his children to come in together

Even his youngest, who was still a bed wetter

He cleared his throat, and with what strength he had left

He shared his vision for food while the kids were bereft


“I imagine a day when food will be fast

When long sitdown dinners are things of the past

It won’t matter whose rich or what bloodline is in you

All people will have access to the same Dollar Menu.”


“A family can eat for a couple of dollars

All will be welcome, both blue and white collars,

And all ’round the country our kingdom will reign

Historians will say: “It’s the era of the Fast Food chain.”


So, come to your father and receive your blessing

Put a smile on, Ronald, this should not be depressing

I’ll begin with my eldest and carry on down the line

Then we’ll feast on pork chops. They’re still in the brine.”


“Son, I know we’ve had troubles, and it’s been quite a hassle

But you’ll launch the first chain and name it “White Castle.”

Some will say A&W did this two years before you,

But that’s fast food history and I don’t wish to bore you.”


“Harland, my son, ‘The Colonel’ they’ll call you

That boy Matthew Stewart, he’ll sure try to maul you

But fight back you will and you’ll give him a lickin’

You’ll bring to the world: Kentucky Fried Chicken.”


“Ronald, sweet Ronald, the one they call clown,

You’ll be the most famous in all of the towns

A bright beacon of light, your arches will shine

You’ll make the McRib, made of bar-b-q swine.”


Wendy, oh Wendy, my daughter of red hair,

You’ll bring the world burgers shaped like a square!

And Arby, my daughter, you’ll cause quite a stir

But stick to your guns, America’s roast beef, yes sir!”


Glen, in a world of burgers and fries

You’ll bring to your customers quite a surprise

They’ll choose how they like ’em, with hard or soft shell

You’ll stay open late at the notorious Taco Bell


Ah, young prince, you’ve eyed my crown and my ring,

From this day forth you’ll call yourself, “Burger King”

And Jimmy, my son, always dressed like a pirate

You’ll launch Long John Silvers and yeah, that one will be kind of weird


The king started to cough and the servants rushed in

He caught his breath and looked at his remaining children

With what strength he had left, he took a deep breath

The last blessings he’d give before meeting his death


“And last but not least, we have the purveyors of pizza

Pepperoni, sausage, supreme, even just cheese, ya?

Son, take the lessons you’ve learned from this ol’ geezer

Make your pizzas Hot-n-Ready, my sweet Little Caesar!”


“Frank, there’ll be a day when you fall into a rut

But remember, my son, no one out pizzas the hut

Tom and James, you guys know how it goes,

You’ll bring to Michigan the fast Domino’s.”


“And Godfrey, sweet Godfrey, not yet potty trained

You’ll make sure the bathrooms stay nice and maintained

Shine the porcelain throne and deliver those pink urinal cakes

But remember, in public restrooms, everyone makes mistakes.”


“You’ll all face stiff competition but must never surrender

Sons and daughters, you are, the Fast Food Avengers!

And on the very last page of our little family recipe book

Elizabeth put instructions for the greatest sandwich ever cooked.”


“Servants, please come and bring me the book

Gather, my sweet children, let’s all have a look

This is the one sandwich to rule them all

What’s taking so long? Find me Sam in the hall!”


The servants scoured the kingdom, looking high and low

They ask each other, “Where’s the book? How should I know?”

And while they searched, the king drew his final breath

The children hugged each other in tears, mourning his death


Miles from the kingdom there was a man on a horse

He carried the book and was set on his course

With the recipe in hand, master plan underway

Sam was off to Georgia. The future home of Chick-Fil-A


Thank you for stopping by the Medium Rare blog. The “Chicken Wars” story will continue in two weeks with Part 2 going up on Wednesday, August 18th.

To subscribe to the Medium Rare blog, please email me here and I’ll get you setup. Have a great rest of your week!

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