Worst food products of the year

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The KFC Double Down: And they get worse. Much worse.
It's hard to imagine that food hasn't been invented or combined in every possible combination by now, but humans are still managing to create unique new variations on things to eat or new ways to employ food. But for every delicious new idea that comes down the pike, you can probably find some piece of crap product like these Top 10.

(By the way, some of you may be wondering why Whipahol, the alcoholic whipped cream, isn't on this list. Well, it may be weird, but apparently it's not half bad.)

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The usually reliable Famous Dave's introduced a bold and entirely revolting new food to the State Fair this year: deep-fried pig ears. Dave scored points for novelty, but not much else: The pig appendages made Rachel Hutton's list of worst new foods at the State Fair. They might smell like seasoned French fries, she reported, "but beneath their crunchy, batter-fried shells you'll find the creepy texture of chewy cartilage and unidentifiable hard bits that stick in your teeth long after you've finished."

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One of the qualities sushi lovers prize most in their maki is freshness, so it makes perfect sense to cram the rice and fish into a tube with a stick, freeze it, ship it, and sell it as "Sushi Poppers," a novelty product that lets diners eat their tuna rolls like an old-fashioned push-up popsicle. Just push the stick up and bite off a hunk, complete with soy sauce. The poppers are sold in six-packs for $29.99 (or about 5 bucks a roll). They come in several flavors like Spicy Shrimp, California, and Chicken Teriyaki.

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Nothing sets the mood for a romantic meal like a candle, especially one spewing the odor of cheap grilled hamburgers. White Castle created this new beef-and-onion scent to smell just like (well, sort of like) its famed Slyder miniburgers. It gives you the munchies just thinking about it, yes? The idea did have at least one redeeming quality: Proceeds of the candle sales went to an autism organization.

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We didn't think it was possible to create a lowbrow version of pigs-in-a-blanket, but Dunkin' Donuts has succeeded. Somehow this idea snaked its way through the corporate chain of command: Wrap a bit of sausage link in a maple-flavored pancake and sell it as a breakfast-on-the-go. Luckily for Minnesotans, the state's lack of Dunkin' Donuts spared us from the temptation.

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When KFC unleashed its new Double Down (that unholy concoction of hamburger, cheese and bacon sandwiched between two pieces of deep-fried chicken breast) earlier this year, it seemed to goad other food chains into launching their own versions of extreme food that had no redeeming feature other than shock value and cheap publicity. Companies across the nations seemed to compete to see who could pack the most calories and fat into a single meal. To wit:

  • IHOP created Pancake Stackers, which sandwiched cheesecake filling between two hotcakes, topped with fruit and whipped cream (a side of eggs, bacon, and hash browns was extra).

  • Krispy Kreme invented a variation of the Double Down called the Donut Burger, which is, well, pretty much what it sounds like.

  • Denny's came up with the Fried Cheese Melt, which inserted several mozzarella sticks into the standard grilled cheese sandwich

  • Not to be outdone, the Friendly's chain inflicted the world with the BurgerMelt, a burger wedged between two grilled-cheese sandwiches (Friendly's also started topping its pancakes and French toast with ice cream).

Next page: Cheese from human breast milk and other bad ideas

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