The holidays are upon us, which means I’ll be spending the next two months feeling nostalgic. I loved Christmas when I was a kid. Sure, the presents were great and the time off from school was a godsend, but what really made Christmas great was my Grandma.
I have so many fond memories of spending Christmas at Gram’s house. She’d bake tray after tray of homemade sugar cookies. We’d listen to Christmas carols while we decorated the tree. And there was always a roaring fire in the fireplace to keep us warm. (Which was totally unnecessary because I grew up in Southern California. We never needed a fire to keep us warm, but Gram loved the ambiance and so did I.)
This was the 1970s, mind you, and Gram was a busy lady. She didn’t have time to carefully stoke firewood to get a roaring blaze going. She needed a fire fast. So she did what any self-respecting 1970s housewife would do: she used Duraflame firelogs. I would spend hours sitting in front of that waxy, log-shaped block watching the chemically processed flames flicker. It was heaven.
The original Duraflame firelog was created by the California Cedar Products Company in Stockton, California. In 1968, CCPC was the largest producer of wood slats used to make pencils, cranking out enough wood to make 4 million pencils per day. All those pencils meant a lot of unused sawdust. And CCPC saw an opportunity. They mixed that sawdust with some petroleum wax, and voila, they created the “extruded firelog.” And nothing says “warm and cozy” like the words “extruded firelog.”
My grandmother was a Duraflame devotee. We burned so many of those manufactured wood-wax logs during the holidays, we single-handedly kept the California Cedar Products Company in business. I even sent away for a Duraflame t-shirt. Because what eight-year-old wouldn’t want to be seen wearing this gem?
My love for extruded firelogs never left me. Which is why I was thrilled when I saw Kentucky Fried Chicken was making a limited edition “KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog” for Christmas last year.
That’s right, folks. Now you can enjoy the unmistakable aroma of Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe wafting through your house for hours and hours and hours and hours (mostly because the smell will permeate every piece of fabric in your house long after the KFC firelog has burned out).
You may be asking yourself: why, dear God, why? To which I answer: because Christmas and KFC go hand-in-bucket.
Have you ever seen Santa Claus and Colonel Sanders in the same place? I haven’t. You may say candy canes are the quintessential Christmas treat. But I’d argue that an extra crispy drumstick beats a boring old candy cane any day.
And I’m not alone in my beliefs. The KFC Firelog cost a mere $18.99, and they sold out almost immediately. A few unused logs can still be found on eBay for $150. I keep checking the KFC site to see if they’re going to release a new scented firelog this year. Maybe a log that smells like coleslaw or mashed potatoes and gravy? Don’t leave me hanging, KFC!
In fact, other fast food companies should take a page from KFC’s scented wood-wax playbook. Where’s our “Nacho Cheese Chalupa Firelog,” Taco Bell? Where’s my “Shamrock Shake Firelog,” Mickey D’s? And where’s my “Double-Double Firelog-Firelog,” In-N-Out?
I only wish my Gram had lived to see this new incarnation of her beloved extruded firelogs. Because I know her house would have smelled like those 11 herbs and spices on Christmas morning, and we would have laughed about it for days.