The Universal Standard for Chick-Fil-A Sauce Protocol
If you’re not from the South, maybe you don’t know about the bastion of God’s love, beamed directly into our mouth holes, a little place called Chick-Fil-A. Chick-Fil-A is evidence that God loves us and wants us to enjoy fried chicken with convenience.
Now I know there are some folks who don’t eat Chick-Fil-A for moral reasons. I get you. I see you. Here’s a quick list of things we would have to give up if we didn’t agree with a moral stance of a business owner:
Okay, I’m glad we got that straightened out. Back to fried chicken.
Yes the chicken is perfect. Yes the employees are nicer to me than I am to my own grandmother. Yes you could lick the playplace equipment and probably become Spider-Man. But the real hedonistic pleasure of Chick-Fil-A is in the sauces.
Chick-Fil-A sauces come in little dipping bowls because Chick-Fil-A knows we can’t be expected to squeeze sauce out of packets like animals.
I call these sauce troughs.
This elegant, food-bag experience is heightened by the fact that the sauces are, in the words of Jean-Ralphio, DELOISHUSH. Each sauce is like a study of the attributes of God’s character and what we can know about Him, because they are from Him, let he who has ears let him hear.
I know some people who do not use sauces on their Chick-Fil-A food. Why you would deny yourself a gift that God wants to give you? There are some foolish creatures who simply slap mayonnaise on their sandwich as if they have been raised by forest-dwellers. These people are like Nell, the character played by Jodie Foster. Nell was feral and quite frankly you are also feral if the only thing you are putting on a CFA sandwich is white mayo from a plastic packet. Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Sauce and its usage are important (to me). Sauces, like grace, should not be mistreated or abused. Just because you CAN do things with sauces, doesn’t mean that you should. I now present an embarrassingly lengthy diatribe on sauce protocol.
Table-mixing sauces is for the children of darkness.
I need to be very clear on this. This is not a fancy Mexican restaurant that has $8 tacos and tableside guacamole that is hand-crafted in front of you. We are at Chick-Fil-A. Maintaining physical boundaries between sauces is healthy and right. If God wanted you to mix up your sauces, why would He give you these carefully portioned sauce troughs? You get out of here with that heresy. If you need to sin in your own home, am I my brother’s keeper? Just please refrain from doing this in public.
Sauces are STRICTLY for ages 5 and up.
Small children cannot be trusted with sauce responsibility. Quite frankly, there are adults I wouldn’t trust with a sauce packet. I see people with BABIES FRESHLY DE-WOMBED just throwing sauce troughs down in front of them like they can handle that truth. Infants who have barely gained control of their own neck muscles being asked to dip a nugget into a sauce. Lord deliver us. Train up a child, my friends. Become an active parent for God’s sake. If you don’t have the emotional maturity and gross motor skills of a kindergartener, then as our good friend Leslie Odom, Jr. sang, you are gonna have to wait for it. Maybe this should start being a rite of passage, a Gentile coming of age ritual. Should we call it a Sauce Mitzvah? What I’m saying is sauce responsibility is at least equal to getting up and reciting passages from the Torah in the original Hebrew. I need you to know it’s that important.
There is such a thing as Proper Sauce Ratio.
When you ask a Chick-fil-a employee for a certain sauce, several things will happen at once. They will preemptively tell you that this sauce errand is their pleasure before you have formed verbal gratitude on your mind, much less your lips. With Olympic-level athleticism, they will reach as far as their arms can humanly extend without breaking eye contact with you for the sauce because eye contact is crucial to you feeling as though it the pinnacle of their life of servitude has been reached with your sauce request. And they will lovingly and tenderly, as if it is their own newborn child, place exactly two sauces in your bag.
I know why they do this. I know it’s because they are being good stewards of their money. Because every time an unopened sauce is thrown away in a Chick-Fil-A trash can, a solitary tear silently falls down the cheek of a Cathy family member. I GET IT. I’m not mad about it. But for a classic number one meal at Chick-fil-a, you need at least three sauce troughs. Here’s how that ratio breaks down.
1.5 sauce troughs are relegated to waffle fry service.
1 sauce trough is needed for the sandwich if you are a Sandwich Spreader.
.5 sauce trough is necessary for the lagniappe.
There is no universe where 1 sauce trough is enough for a regular order of waffle fries. The sheer area of fry is too great. I’m a sandwich spreader, which means I apply my sauce to my sandwich prior to consumption. There are some who are dippers, but I don’t like how I can’t control the quantity of the sauce in each bite. It must be uniform for maximum sandwich enjoyment. I don't make the rules, I just enforce them.
Now the lagniappe is because we serve a God who lavishly gives us gifts. Every once in a while, do you not get an extra nugget? Have you not been the beneficiary of the much-lauded bonus fry? Do not let God find you unprepared to receive a blessing, my brothers and sisters. Maybe you won’t use your .5 portion of lagniappe sauce every time. But it means that you believed it COULD happen, you readied your heart for the possibility of the miracle. You stayed tender.
The good news is at Chick-Fil-A, all you have to do is ask for that extra sauce trough, and the saints behind the counter will provide.
SIDENOTE: There is one more aspect of Proper Sauce Protocol that defies the ratio I just mentioned above. This is the Armageddon Sauce. People, we’ve all read The Left Behind Series. We know what’s coming (actually I have no idea what’s coming) and we know at some point, a New World Order will rise up and those who hate the Lord will have microchips implanted in their foreheads and the rest of us will be fugitives for Jesus! On the run! Will there be countless Chick-Fil-A employees wandering the countryside, looking for safe harbor? Yes? Will they have Chick-Fil-A sauces? No.
I once heard Dave Ramsey speak and other than being rather affronted by his suggestion that I stop raiding the Dollar Spot at Target and instead save for my children’s college education, I was struck by something he said about gold. It was something to the effect of investing in gold is worthless. If disaster strikes, gold is useless. You need iodine tablets, you need socks, you need waterproof matches. No one is going to want to trade those things for gold because no one can use gold in a crisis.
You know what people are gonna need in a crisis? Some dang sauce.
My plan is to become a Sauce Trough Kingpin, a mercenary of sauce. You know what we’re going to miss in the apocalypse? Unless we get raptured right off the bat, there will be no creature comforts for the children of the Lord.
Now, I believe in sauce-location fidelity and if there is no Chick-Fil-A chicken, I don’t particularly want it on the squirrels I’ll surely be eating while Nicholae Carpathia is running his demonic empire. But the rest of the population will surely be ready to trade medical supplies and bullets for sauce troughs. I will be rich in aspirin and tampons.
SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE: I need you to know that I once did a freelance project for one of Chick-fil-a’s subsidiaries, and part of the project entailed a day at Chick-fil-a headquarters. Not only do these people have a grand piano complete with a pianist in their dining room, but they also have a fully functional Chick-Fil-A as well as a fancy Luby’s Cafeteria. As one might imagine, this celestial outpost fixed upon our dark and evil world is replete with Chick-Fil-A sauces. An embarrassment of sauce troughs. It’s been a long time, but if memory serves me correctly, it was a wall of dipping sauces, arranged by what I assume to be the da Vinci of CFA Condiment Artists.
SIDENOTE TO THE SIDENOTE OF THE SIDENOTE: I have a theory that every CFA employs a achingly adorable senior citizen whose sole job responsibility is Condiment Artist. The CFA in Oxford, Alabama has the GOAT of this job category in their employ. Texas Pete packets lined up with the precision of a military who is very afraid of their leader. Utensil bags arranged nicer than my wedding bouquets. They are precious beyond words. All of them belong on a keychain that I can carry around on a daily basis.
Wow, I've really gone down a hole here.
In conclusion, sauce protocol is a strict, but benevolent master: you have to respect the sauce, but it gives you so much more in return.
Tear those trough tops carefully, kids. They aren't as sturdy as they used to be.