Madeleine Chapman and Simon Wilson at KFC. Photo by Joel Thomas

The best of The Spinoff this week: is KFC good or bad? A definitive ruling

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Simon Wilson and Madeleine Chapman: The rookie and the food critic head to KFC

“I know a lot of people hate KFC. It’s the epitome of grease and Big Fast Food and very few people who eat it for the first time as adults develop any liking for it. But it’s cheap, and cheap means a lot when that’s all you can afford. Coming from a big family, KFC was and still is one of few affordable options for feeding all of us at short notice (or any notice, for that matter). It’s the saviour of big families. And you can read that as big families or you can read it as brown families, it doesn’t really make a difference.”

Simon Wilson at KFC. Photo by Joel Thomas

Jess Berentson-Shaw: Please, no more bloody tinned tomatoes!

“We all want the best for our children. At Christmas we are all under pressure to deliver on those parental intentions, and for those on low incomes the financial fire you have been fighting becomes a furnace.

One of the ways that New Zealanders try to help other parents fulfil those intentions is by donating goods: presents for kids, food to food banks and refuges. It’s the humanity that we share which drives us to want to help others at this time. Unfortunately, our good intentions do not always match people’s needs.”

An expired food item donated to Anne (photo supplied)

Rebekah Graham: No, charities don’t want your inedible food items

“In a society characterised by an abundance of readily available food, being expected to eat rotten, dated, and barely edible items is a humiliating reminder of one’s lowly status. Societal attitudes to impoverished groups is that they ought to be grateful for the scraps and leftovers that more well-off people decline to eat. Ginny’s children described eating other children’s leftover lunches at school, finding edible apples in rubbish bins, and having to eat inedible food because it was all that was available. While all income groups have experiences of eating less-than-ideal foodstuffs, having to eat dated, rotten, or unpleasant food is part of everyday survival for many living with hardship. Accepting and eating substandard food has become an unremarkable aspect of everyday life in such households.

In these circumstances, who can blame charities for wanting to provide a pleasant-tasting treat for the people they help?”

Toby Manhire: This was the fucking news: Patrick Gower exits as Newshub political ed

The dynamic and polarising Newshub political editor has announced he’s leaving the role. Here are the Interesting and Incisive musings of Toby Manhire, along with an emotional video tribute from José Barbosa.

Tara Ward: Outlander recap: A watery farewell before the drought sets in

“As Claire sank towards the ocean floor, our gallant hero leapt into the churning waters with as much reckless abandon as the time he skinny-dipped in the freezing millpond in season one. Jamie wanted to save Claire’s life as badly as he wanted non-lumpy bannocks.

If that’s not the most romantic thing you’ll ever hear, then throw me overboard and cast me adrift in a sea of regret until I beach myself on an island covered in tiny goats and talking coconuts.

Sam Brooks: Is this the most heavyweight television cast in the history of ever?

“There are two things that happen when you watch one of these period dramas with loads and loads of characters. One: you wonder where you know that person from. Two: you wonder who the hell they’re playing in relation to everybody else.

The Hollow Crown is a pretty great and epic Shakespearean (literally, since it is Shakespeare) adaptation, and you’ll need to concentrate. To help you avoid getting distracted on IMDB when you should be following the story, I’m here to answer those ‘who the hell is that guy?’ questions. Aren’t I nice?”

Sweet new threads.

Leonie Hayden: Tasman rugby: it’s Mako, not Makos

This week Tasman Rugby Union are announcing a small name change with potentially huge consequences. Leonie Hayden explains why.

David Farrier: Breaking: New Zealand mobile news alerts are intensely weird

“I’ve been in America a lot this year and it’s felt like I’ve slowly been descending into madness. I’ve found myself in a dark place where each day I’m reminded that the world is a terrible place full of terrible things.

But the reason isn’t the latest outburst from Donald Trump or the never-ending parade of despicable, disgusting men in Hollywood.

It’s the news alerts generated back home in Aotearoa, New Zealand.”

Group Think: 2017 in politics: The champs and the flops

16 top politics watchers name their winners and losers from a tumultuous political year.

Sarah Lang: Scorching Bay: Why this heatwave is making Wellingtonians a little loopy

“Something strange is going on in Wellington. The heatwave. The heatwave that never ends. Such a phenomenon is highly unusual for late November and December here – heck, last year there was virtually no summer – but what’s stranger is how it’s affecting us. We’re used to wearing three layers, carrying a beanie and puffer jacket everywhere, and clinging to lamp-posts to stay upright during the strongest southerlies (once – no joke – I saw a woman blown off her feet and knocked out when she hit the pavement). Now a singlet and shorts suffice.

We Wellingtonians pride ourselves on our hardiness in cold weather, but when it comes to hot weather, some of us just can’t deal. “

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