Tag Archives: fast food

The God Among Sandwiches


The following informant is a 20-year-old American male student. The informant and I were in a discussion about “secret menu” items that can be found at various American fast food chains. The informant will be denoted as K and I will be C.

K: So when I was in middle school and sex talk was really proliferating I heard about a fabled sandwich, the god among sandwiches, called the McGangBang. The story goes that if you ask for a McGangBang you will either be thrown out of the store or they will give you a McChicken inside of a McDouble. So a McDouble is bun, patty, cheese, patty, cheese, bun and then you can peel right in between the patty-cheese so the patty, cheese peel and then patty cheese, bun. And right in the center you can plop a McChicken right in the middle.

C: With the bun?

K: With the bun! And you can eat it all in one go and that’s a McGangBang. I’ve never ordered it as a McGangBang but my friend said he had. He said that it had worked at the Hog Mountain Road McDonalds. But I don’t believe him.

C: And how many times have you had a McGangBang.

K: I think I have had it at least fifteen times in my life, maybe more.

Analysis: While I find the name of the sandwich very problematic, I can personally attest that it is very tasty albeit disgusting. Additionally I find the culture of “hidden menu” items at fast food places to be very interesting. It is almost as if the restaurant is some cult and by knowing the secret menu items you can become a member of said cult. A commercialized version a secret menu can be seen with In N’ Out which is famous for their secret menu.

The Girl and Her Creepy Chicken Sandwich

The informant describes themselves, “I’m a queer cis-gendered female, I’m part Mexican-American, part Persian-Israeli. I’m a student at USC. I’m Jewish. I’m about to hopefully be an EMT, if all works out.” Also – “I’m a really big cat lady.”




Do you know any legends?

I know an urban legend that used to gross me out. ACTUALLY? I have this aunt. She used to work for a – she was a medical assistant for a hand surgeon. He did reconstruction surgery. And as you can imagine, reconstructive hand surgery is usually because something really bad happened to your hand, like a bad accident. So she would always have – she had this like polaroid picture of some guy’s pinky, just out and about, and she would use to it be like “Don’t do bad things, ‘cause your pinky will fall off and you’ll be like this too.” Actually? She used to tell – I’m pretty sure this is a popular urban legend that probably still rolls around today – that’s actually not really related to her as a medical assistant, just her telling us gross things. And, um – she told us about how this guy went to Jack-in-the-Box, and ordered the spicy chicken sandwich – also, even when I did eat meat, before I was vegetarian, after I heard this story I never wanted to eat another spicy chicken sandwich ever again. Because she was like “Yeah, I had this friend. Who went to Jack-in-the-Box. And he was like “Yo. I want a spicy chicken sandwich. And he asked the guy for a spicy chicken sandwich without mayo. So he gets the spicy chicken sandwich, and he looks in it, and he’s like “Ok, why does my spicy chicken sandwich have mayo? I asked for it without mayo.” And the guy is like “No, we didn’t put any mayo in there.” Apparently after they looked at it, he realized that the chicken had some weird tumor thing, and it was just really nasty. And I know that that’s not really even a thing, but it still grosses me out. So that’s kind of a grody urban legend that’s forever turned me off of spicy chicken sandwiches.

How old were you when this was told to you?

Uhhm, I was probably about 10 or 11.

Did it influence your decision to be vegetarian?

I would sometimes think about it – actually, I – one of the main reason I stopped eating meat is it just creeped me out to begin with. And then one of the solidifying reasons, after I was already creeped out, was that – I’m ashamed to say – I watched this PETA video. I don’t like PETA now, but at the time I was like “This is terrible,” – I mean animals are still treated terribly, but PETA’s just a terrible organization. And I was like “Yo, I can’t eat animals because people are not treating them in the – in an ethical way. And – but, before that happened, I was already grossed out and I didn’t like the idea of cooking meat. Because I would watch my mom prepare chicken, and I remember watching her cut pieces of chicken on the cutting board in the kitchen, and I was just like “HOW DOES THAT NOT GROSS YOU OUT?” and she was like “No, its ok!’ and I would just think about that STUPID CHICKEN SANDWICH and I would be like “That is nasty, how are you eating that?” So yeah, actually – it actually did. Ohh. I never thought about that. Eww. Euughh. So I guess that stupid urban legend has impacted my life.

Do you know where your aunt heard it from?

I don’t know where she heard it from, um, but I do know that a few years later I brought it up – no, a friend of mine brought it up in a class in middle school. And I was like “Oh, I’ve heard the same story too!” And then the teacher was like “That’s totally fake ‘cause I’ve heard it too, and it’s fake,” and blah blah blah. One part of me was like “Dang, I was lied to.” And I felt kinda disappointed. And then the other part was like “All right, wait. That’s not real. So. That’s good. Because that would be super scary.” Heheheheheh.

How often have you talked about this to people?

Actually never after that one time in middle school. I’ve literally never talked about it after that.



This was the best retelling of a story I’ve collected yet. It’s hard to notate inflection in the transcription.
Typical fast-food horror story, reflects collective fear about methods of food production and distribution.

Burgers for Soccer Goals

Informant Bio: Informant is my friend from high school who also goes to the University of Southern California.  We currently live together and he is a third year electrical engineering major.  His dad is from Concord,  Massachusetts and represents a large blend of different cultures.  His mom is from upstate New York and is mostly of Hungarian, Italian and American ancestry.


Context: I was interviewing the informant about childhood traditions and rituals that he remembered well.


Item: “For our family and sports, if you played soccer or something, for us it was soccer and hockey, but we almost never ate fast food because our parents were healthy and against it.  But as kids, we still wanted fast food since it tasted good.  The way we would get fast food is that for every goal we scored we’d get a burger.  It worked surprisingly well (laughs)”.


Analysis: The informant shows some of the views very apparent in Massachusetts that fast food represents some of the most unhealthy food you could eat.  Although the health food craze is not as fully developed as in California, many families prefer home-cooked foods using natural, organic and locally procured goods.  There are still many farms located in our area (there are three alone within a one mile radius of my home in Massachusetts).  The rewarding with food also follows along with the informant’s recounting of his family’s graduation party tradition that heavily surrounded food and positive reinforcement as well.

The Funniest Arby’s Commercial Ever

In the following, my informant recounts an Arby’s commercial, which he considers to be the most noteworthy advertisement he has ever experienced.

Informant: The Guy had his Arby’s bag and then he set it down, it fell over and his hand comes out, and then they shook hands. I thought it was the funniest thing ever, it made me want Arby’s.

Me: Why’d you think it was funny?

Informant: I don’t know! I genuinely think it is one of the funniest commercials I have ever seen because I always reference it. 

Me: How do you reference it?

Informant: When I tell people like, that, “Oh I’m the one person that  laughs at commercials.” …Now I’m hungry… I want Arby’s.

This commercial is interesting as a piece of folklore, because for my informant it has come to represent humor in advertisement. He now references this commercial when making the claim that he finds advertisements funny, and remembers it as a hilarious example of advertising, which he uses as an example to prove commercials can be humorous.

Shooting up with the Colonel

“Alright so I heard this rumor that if you take a KFC Famous Bowl and you put the bowl in a blender and blend it to the point where everything is liquified and then you inject the liquid substance into your blood, then you will get really really really high.”

The informant related learning this from the internet and that’s not all that surprising. Fast food chains are frequently the subject of rumors both in regards to the shady practices of the corporations as well as the (lack of) nutritional content present in the actual food. This piece of folklore finds itself firmly in the latter camp. I’m not sure what would happen if anyone were actually to introduce a puréed bowl of KFC into their bloodstream. Death? Perhaps. But would they get high? That I find myself doubting.