We interrupt our regularly scheduled program for this Health Alert…
We were late. We had far to go still and no time left to waste. A fast lunch was in order so I pulled into a combo Taco Bell and KFC place just off the freeway.
Does fried chicken and Mexican food strike you as an odd marriage? I guess they’re both southerners, as far as American cuisine goes… but still…
Anyway, Mom chose a burrito, Deb went for a fried chicken breast with fries and a biscuit, and Rio elected for a chicken sandwich. I choose a pair of crunchy tacos which are getting cold while I: Look up their carb count in the Calorie King App on my iPod—twelve carbs each for a total of twenty four, minus the collective six grams of fiber for a net impact of eighteen carbs; get the infernal Nano out of my cargo pants pocket, unzip the case to get access to all the various parts and pieces to take a BGL check; pop open the massive test strip vial, fish out a strip and put it in the meter, lance my finger, squeeze out a drop of blood, touch the tip of the strip to the blood drop to get a reading; go back to the iPod and enter the fingerstick into RapidCalc by sliding the blood drop logo to the right until the proper reading is entered, then slide the hamburger logo to eighteen carbs to get the bolus and log the shot for insulin tacking to avoid stacking; put all that crap back away; get out my Luxura pen, dial up the dose, uncap the pen, unsheathe the needle, roll up my sleeve, slip the needle into my arm, click-click-click-click the injector button down to deliver the dose, and hold the needle in my arm for ten seconds.
One-one thousand… Two-one thousand… Three-one thousand…
Camouflage be-decked hunters eye me suspiciously. They don’t like long-haired tattooed hippie people with earrings shooting up at the table at their Taco Bell/KFC restaurant. I pull out the pen, re-sheath the needle, re-cap the pen, and slip it back into my pants pocket.
I’m finally ready to eat, and my family is nearly done. I pick up my taco for the first bite when Deb asks me, “Honey, would you go get me some more honey?”
Why not? It’s not like I’ve started eating my lunch or anything. I set the taco down and make my way across the tiled floor to the condiment table. In addition to the hunters, a group of downs-syndrome patients are out on a field trip with their officious matronly caretaker, and their looking-for-a-better-job bus driver. Most of the patients have staked out personal territories, at separate tables, and are poking at their food and glaring at each other. There are also two of those ultra-conservative religious cult families that dress their women from head-to-toe in drab clothing, hair bound tightly to their heads, sans makeup; while their men dress like peacocks and flirt with the hapless cash register clerk.
I grab several packets of honey and return to my rather ordinary-looking (to me) family. As I toss the packets on the table, the label catches my eye. I have just fetched three packets of “Honey Sauce.”
So what on earth is Honey Sauce, and how does it differ from honey? I mean it looks like garden-variety honey, the stuff made by bees. The back of the packet is clear. I squeeze the plastic bag. It moves like honey. I adjust my tri-focals to read the fine print:
Off on the lower right, the package boasts that it’s “7% real honey.”
You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. So what’s the other 93% of Honey Sauce made of?
Are you sure you really want to know?
By volume, Honey Sauce is: high fructose corn syrup, normal corn syrup, sugar, then honey. It also has fructose and trace amounts of caramel color, molasses, water, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors and malic acid.
It’s packaged exclusively for use by KFC and its franchisees, thank God. I’m thinking the less Honey Sauce in the universe the better. But I also can’t help but wonder why Honey Sauce is even necessary in the first place. I know there are problems with colony collapse disorder, but I had not read about any honey shortages. I don’t recall people wailing about the cost of honey at the hive pump. So why did the Colonel choose to go with fake honey?
I was too lazy to email their corporate media contact and ask, and if I had bothered, I doubt I’d get the real answer. And what is the real answer? There can be only one reason to use the end product of Iowa farmers over the end product of worker bees: money.
And even though honey is hardly a luxury item, corn syrups are no doubt cheaper. If KFC could save one penny per packet by switching from honey to Honey Sauce, it’s a nice little dividend at the end of the year, given the size of the chain. I couldn’t find out how many meals KFC serves globally every year, but for perspective consider that they have 17,000 outlets in 105 countries, making KFC second only to Mickey Ds in scale. As a side note, KFC is owned by Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum! Brands, who also hold Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in their portfolio, hence the marriage of the two unlikely fast food chains under one roof. Combining all three chains, Yum! Has 38,000 restaurants in 120 countries, more than any other restaurant company, and employs more than a million people. But, apparently, very few honey bees.
Still, even with some extra money to be had, it’s hard to imagine anyone dreaming up the entire concept of fake honey in the first place. I mean, who on earth, sitting around a board room table was first to suggest, “Hey, do you think we could save any money by developing artificial honey, rather than buy the real thing?”
It makes you wonder what other counterfeit foods are lurking in our food chain. On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.
Oh, and by the way, Honey Sauce has about 10% more calories than honey, and arguably has less food “value” than real honey. In my book, another product that should not exist. Is it good for anything? Well, I guess if you didn’t want it on your biscuit, you could always carry a few for insurance against low blood sugar.
It’s messier than Skittles if the packet breaks in your pocket or purse, but at 8 carbs per packet I guess under the right circumstances, Honey Sauce could become Rescue Sauce. But does that thought take the sting out of the product?