Comedian Patton Oswalt’s most famous bit involves the KFC Famous Bowl (shown above), which he memorably called a “failure pile in a sadness bowl.”
So satirical newspaper The Onion challenged Oswalt to eat a “Famous Bowl.”. Oswalt took the Onion up on the challenge:
Kentucky Fried Chicken had filled a bowl with gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, breaded chicken, and finally, cheese. Shut-ins, people afflicted with Prader-Willi Syndrome, and manic-depressives also do this. If you’re trying to make a fortune in the food and beverage industry, those are the three demographics to shoot for—the Famous Bowl is one of the bestselling items on the KFC menu.
KFC calls it their version of the shepherd’s pie. Shepherds in Kentucky must be full of rage and slathered in confusion. They must hang their fat, skin, and muscles from bones carved with runes of surrender. […]
The Famous Bowl has a black plastic bottom and a clear plastic top that fogs appealingly from the jungle heat of the beige glop inside. Here’s where, in a quirky indie-film moment, I’d eat a sporkfull and realize… “Hey, this is pretty good!” I had considered that reaction as I drove the Famous Bowl home. It sat on the passenger seat next to me like a sullen runaway I’d picked up on the interstate. I wanted us to bond somehow. I wanted to eat my words. I like when things work out unexpectedly.
The Famous Bowl hit my mouth like warm soda, slouched down my throat, and splayed itself across my stomach like a sun-stroked wino. It was that precise combination of things, and so many other sensations that did not go together. At all.
The gravy, which I remembered as being tangy and delicious in my youth, tasted like the idea of blandness, but burned and then salted to cover the horrid taste. The mashed potatoes defiantly stood their ground against the gravy, as if they’d read The Artist’s Way and said, “I’m going to be boring and forgetful in my own potato-y way!” The corn tasted like it had been dunked in fake-corn-flavored ointment, and the popcorn chicken, breaded to the point of parody, was like chewing a cotton sleeve that someone had used to wipe chicken grease off their chin.
The cheese had congealed. Even in the heat and steam of the covered Famous Bowl, it had congealed. I stabbed it with the tines of my spork and it all came up in one piece. I nibbled an edge, had a vision of a crying Dutch farmer, and put it down.
The Bowl At The Howling Rim Of Famous-Ity [The Onion]