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Sandwich Monday: Burger King's YUMBO

The YUMBO gets its name from Disney's "Yumbo," the heartwarming story of a ham sandwich who could fly.
NPR
The YUMBO gets its name from Disney's "Yumbo," the heartwarming story of a ham sandwich who could fly.

Nobody is more excited about Burger King's new Chicken Fries — fried chicken strips shaped and served like french fries — than Burger King. The workers at the Chicago store we visited were all dressed in large, sacklike yellow Chicken Fries T-shirts, and a chicken mascot cavorted on the electronic menu, next to a picture of the item.

"Two orders of Chicken Fries!" I said, infected, salmonella-like, with their joy.

"We don't have any Chicken Fries," said the server.

I pointed mutely at the dancing chicken above her head.

"They should show up tomorrow," she said. "We're waiting for the truck."

So instead, I ordered the YUMBO, a ham and cheese sandwich that was on the Burger King menu 40 years ago and recently brought back into service. There were no pictures of dancing pigs, no T-shirts with snouts, yet they were able to make the sandwich. I don't understand this world at all.

Eva: I don't like how it announced "I'm baaaaaaaaaaa-aack!" when Peter put it on the table.

Ian: I bet it was really enjoying its retirement, sitting by the ham beach, playing ham golf.

Tip for sexy Instagram pics: Try YUMBO Face!
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NPR
Tip for sexy Instagram pics: Try YUMBO Face!

Peter: A judge once said, "A good prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich." I believe this is the one he was thinking of.

Eva: YUMBO, Whopper ... I think it's time Burger King hired a younger grandpa to name its sandwiches.

Intern Jeanette was 16 years old when the YUMBO was born.
/ NPR
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NPR
Intern Jeanette was 16 years old when the YUMBO was born.

Peter: This is for people who want to enjoy damp, spongy sandwiches without the expense and trouble of finding an airport kiosk.

Miles: Are we sure we didn't misread the advertising, and that this specific sandwich isn't 40 years old?

Ian: The comb-over really makes the 40-year-old sandwich less appetizing. Just let it happen, sandwich.

Ian is haunted by the violence in "YUMBO: First Blood."
/ NPR
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NPR
Ian is haunted by the violence in "YUMBO: First Blood."

Miles: I think if your sandwich needs to announce that it's "yumbo," it's trying too hard.

Peter: Forty years ago, I wasn't allowed to eat ham sandwiches. Now, I finally can. This is like a really disappointing Jewish rumspringa.

Eva: If 40 is the new 30, then this sandwich is 10 years less gross.

[The verdict: It's a perfectly good ham sandwich. It maybe doesn't deserve the name YUMBO, but given that the word "yumbo" doesn't actually mean anything, maybe it does. Maybe it does.]

Sandwich Monday is a satirical feature from the humorists at Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A native of Berkeley Heights, N.J., Peter Sagal attended Harvard University and subsequently squandered that education while working as a literary manager for a regional theater, a movie publicist, a stage director, an actor, an extra in a Michael Jackson video, a travel writer, an essayist, a ghost writer for a former adult film impresario and a staff writer for a motorcycle magazine.
Peter Sagal
Peter Sagal is, has been, and perhaps someday will be again, a husband, father, playwright, screenwriter, author, journalist, columnist, marathoner, Jeopardy contestant, dramaturg, podcast host, documentary host, foreign correspondent, wedding officiant, and magician's assistant.

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