Apple Fries?

Burger King is rolling out a test-market product here in Denver this month: Apple Fries.

Basically, they’re slices of apple -- or perhaps slices of an apple-like product. For all we know (and based on the long and dependable history of ridiculousness in the fast-food industry), they could be processed and reconstituted rutabaga and jicama with a patented “Real Apple Flavor Coating” trademarked under the name “Appel” or something.

The timing of this move, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that California just became the first state to require that nutritional information be posted at point-of-purchase. This is just coincidence. Still -- no small market, California.

So here we go with a whole bunch of “healthy” options to offset the insane, calorie-and-fat bonanzas that are other Burger King menu items: the Triple Whopper with Cheese (1,230 calories and 82 grams fat) or, for breakfast, the Enormous Omelet Sandwich (730 calories and 45 grams fat). And really, if anyone actually stopped and thought, would they order something with “enormous” right there in the name? It’s an old joke that even fast-food ads have picked up on -- you know, someone’s going out for lunch at the office, and someone asks them to pick them up a spare tire and a double chin. But it’s not even funny anymore. Companies are actually designing food with names like this. And those items wouldn’t last long if people weren’t ordering them. A lot of people.

We know it’s bad for us. We know that fast food in general is bad for us. But we still go for it, in droves. And so the fast-food giants create things like Apple Fries. You know, sort of like real food, but still not quite.

If the Apple Fries are like the Apple Slices already available at McDonald's -- the slick, skinless, yellowed-bone slices of apple in sealed packages (the same packaging in which they used to put McDonaldland cookies, which is sort of insult to injury, really), then they probably taste pretty sweet. And by “sweet,” I mean “like candy that sort of tastes apple-y”. I swear the apples from McDonald's are dipped in high-fructose corn syrup -- will the BK equivalent be much better? And I have no idea why they need to be shaped like fries. I mean, apples have come a long way, baby, being shaped like, you know, apples.

Anyway, while I guess it’s good that fast-food companies are widening their offerings of vaguely healthy eating options --especially for kids -- I still don’t know why stuff like Apple Fries are necessary. I mean, how long does it take to “prepare” an actual apple for your kids? You know, a regular apple. Off a tree -- maybe not yours, but someone’s. Skin on, stem in, the snap of the peel giving way, the crunch of the flesh in your mouth, nibbling the core, spitting the seeds. The original (and still the best) fast food available. -- Teague Bohlen

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