Scott Graves
Curry Coastal Pilot

Taco Bell has come up with a new way to kill me: nacho fries!

Taco Bell and french fries? I know. Two words you never thought you’d see in the same sentence, but it’s true. I was standing in line at Taco Bell when the guy in front of me said, “French fries? What the heck?” The woman behind me said the same thing.

All three of us ordered nacho fries. All three of us have a death wish.

Even braver is Taco Bell, for invading the turf of burger-based chains and veering from its usual formula of mixing meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and tortillas into something vaguely resembling Mexican food. So I decided to assail my arteries with these nacho fries, which prompted a call from my doctor.

“Are you nuts?!” he said.

“It’s only a dollar,” I argued.

“I’ll schedule your heart bypass surgery for next Tuesday,” he said.

According to the fast-food conspiracy theory website “Web Of Fries,” Taco Bell’s nacho fries are coated in “Mexican seasoning” and “nacho cheese sauce.” I put parentheses around those words because I doubt the seasoning resembles anything from Mexico and the radioactive orange goo is anything but cheese. Oh! But you can upgrade the fries to “Supreme” or “Bell Grande,” in case you want to kill yourself really fast.

This isn’t the first time “The Bell” has crossed the culinary line. Last fall, the company tested its “Chocoladilla,” a melted Kit Kat bar inside a soft tortilla. However, it dropped the idea when Nestlé threaten to sue for making Kit Kat bars sound unhealthy.

Taco Bells’ other not-so-clever culinary experiments include:

•Big Beefer: In one of its first attempts to combat the popularity of fast-food hamburgers, this “sloppy joe”-type creation consisted of a burger-style bun filled with taco meat, diced onions, lettuce and “Border Sauce.” The Big Beefer soon fell out of favor as customers learned the name was a better match for the end result of eating it.

•Seafood salad: This short-lived 1980s menu item was Taco Bell’s attempt at competing with McDonald’s popular Filet-O-Fish. The salad came with shrimp, whitefish and snow crab. I know! Who wouldn’t want to eat seafood from Taco Bell?

•Naked egg taco: As part of its breakfast menu, Taco Bell decided to … Okay. Seriously. Who is coming up with these names? Does anybody think the words “naked egg” are appealing at any time of day?

Back to the nacho fries.

Web Of Fries agents were alerted to nacho fries when an anonymous Taco Bell employee inserted a thumb drive containing incriminating evidence into a taco and dropped it at the agency’s office. The agents jumped into action, eating the taco and then infiltrating Taco Bell’s secret kitchen laboratory. Their cover was blown, however, when an agent showed up late wearing a Ronald McDonald costume. “I thought tonight was McDonald’s,” the clown reportedly said.

None of this stopped Taco Bell from releasing nacho fries, which one food critic called a “chemical hellbeast.” In testing the “nacho cheese sauce,” Web Of Fries scientists found the ingredients consist of modified food starch, maltodextrin and polyradioactivegooinium (commonly known as radioactive orange goo). The final report: “It’s not cheese, but it’s great for cleaning battery terminals!”

Will nacho fries be a big hit for Taco Bell? Only time will tell.

Already, the chain is working on new menu items. What’s next? A Nacho Burgerrito?

Maybe I’ll try that, with a side of nacho fries, after recovering from next week’s heart surgery.

Scott Graves was editor of the Curry Coastal Pilot from September 2000 to November 2017. He can be reached by calling 541-469-3123 or .