The original guilty pleasure

Elizabeth Donald
3 min readJul 24

My most profoundly guilty pleasure is not bad movies, bad books or even a fine chocolate dessert. It is the original chicken sandwich combo at Burger King.

Now, Burger King is clearly losing the franchise wars that Demolition Man predicted Taco Bell will win sometime between now and the major earthquake that will level half the country. So we have that to look forward to.

But the advantage of Burger King’s mediocre success is that there is very rarely a long line at the drive-through. So I can pull up and order my original chicken sandwich, substitute onion rings for the terrible fries, and top it off with a Diet Coke, because I shouldn’t drink real Coke. That would be unhealthy.

The original chicken sandwich may or may not have ever had anything to do with an actual chicken. It is an oblong patty of compressed protein deep-fried within an inch of its life, and served on a quasi-sub bun with some decidedly pathetic lettuce and a good squirt of warm mayonnaise, just in case there wasn’t enough fat on this thing. If you’re really crazy, you can add a slice of “cheese,” which also may or may not have had anything to do with milk or cows at any point.

The onion rings are better than the fries only in that they are suspiciously tasty. They are not actually rings of onion as one would think of them, because real onion rings break open and a long loop of sauteed-fried onion comes flopping out of the casing all over your face. This is what we do for fun.

This never happens with Burger King’s onion rings, because I think the “onion” is actually some sort of compressed onion paste shaped in the form of a ring, more or less, and covered with a salty breading that is, of course, deep-fried. So basically you’re eating a ring of fried breadcrumbs, and I can’t get enough for them.

When you bite into the sandwich, you are really not eating the sandwich at all, but a delivery system for a squirt of salty liquid grease heated at 900 degrees Fahrenheit and headed straight for your aorta. And it’s fucking delicious.

I don’t understand how I could have a foodie’s taste in most things and yet be completely enamored with the original chicken sandwich from Burger King. If my editors at the culinary magazine found out, they’d probably be forced to…

Elizabeth Donald

Journalist for more than 25 years, freelance writer, editor, photographer, and fiction author. Subscribe at or visit