The World Yearns for Kentucky Fried Chicken
A cultural dissection of the Colonel’s reach
Kentucky Fried Chicken has long been an American culinary institution spreading goodwill throughout the world [reference needed]. Colonel Harland Sanders, who is not really a colonel, but is a visionary, has brought American-style fried chicken to countless countries around the world–creating a veritable UN of yum no less vital than Ray Kroc’s Golden Arches. Where the Colonel’s secret recipe hasn’t worked, KFC has adapted. In Israel, for example, KFC recently went kosher, after swapping its milk-based chicken coating for a soy-based replacement.
Yesterday, Fares Akram blew the roof off the global yearning for Kentucky Fried Chicken when he wrote about a Gaza smuggling operation in which Khalil Efrangi, a pseudonymed savvy businessman, and others sneak chicken over (or rather under) the border from Egypt to Gaza. Next they deliver four-hour-old chicken to happy patrons at nearly $30 a bucket.
Formerly called Kentucky Fried Chicken, a KFC franchise opened in El Arish, just over Gaza’s southern border, in 2011, and in the West Bank city of Ramallah last year. That, along with ubiquitous television advertisements for KFC and other fast-food favorites, has given Gazans a hankering for Colonel Sanders’s secret recipe.
So after Mr. Efrangi brought some KFC back from El Arish for friends last month, he was flooded with requests. A new business was born.
“I accepted this challenge to prove that Gazans can be resilient despite the restrictions,” Mr. Efrangi said.
In the past few weeks, Mr. Efrangi has coordinated four deliveries totaling about 100 meals, making about $6 per meal in profit. He promotes the service on Yamama’s Facebook page, and whenever there is a critical mass of orders — usually 30 — he starts a complicated process of telephone calls, wire transfers and coordination with the Hamas government to get the chicken from there to here.
I’ve included some relevant media that I thought might be useful in deconstructing the phenomenon.
First, I have to start with KFC’s brilliant new ad campaign, highlighted by the tagline “I Think I Ate the Bones:”
An entire episode of South Park revolved around the apocalyptic closing of Kentucky Fried Chicken after it was deemed illegal because of its addictiveness and debilitating health consequences [reference needed]. In its stead, a medical marijuana dispensary opens up.
In the episode, Cartman starts an illicit Kentucky Fried Chicken import operation. I can’t link to most of the episode, but here’s one salient clip.
Last is a clip from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” in which Larry David struggles with his new obsession with a Palestinian chicken joint. It has nothing specifically to do with KFC, but underscores the tangled web of loyalty when it comes to chicken. (Consider that a KFC in Tripoli, Lebanon, was torched in the aftermath of the Danish cartoon scandal.)
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