Story time with Mickey D

This morning as I was reading the news I was greeted by this chuckle-inducing headline:

#McDStories, McDonald’s Twitter Hashtag Promotion, Goes Horribly Wrong

As with most people I love a good PR FAIL story, and this one’s a doozy. Last Wednesday McDonald’s sent out two tweets on their Twitter feed — only two — to spark a new marketing campaign. One of them went like this:

@McDonalds Meet some of the hard-working people dedicated to providing McDs with quality food every day #McDStories

Unfortunately, many many people leapt onto this hashtag, and their tweets tended to look like this:

@Cate_Storm #McDStories I just read that McDonalds chicken nuggets have a foaming agent in them, similar to products used for building materials

It made me think of my own recent McD story.

I must confess that I do like their fries, frozen and processed as they are. One good example of how freshly-cut French fries aren’t necessarily all they’re cracked up to be is my beloved In-N-Out Burger. Now, I love me a Double Double (Animal Style, no pickles, ketchup instead of spread), but let’s face it … their fries stink. Everybody who knows how to fry a potato knows that you have to cook the potatoes TWICE, first a blanch in low temperature oil to cook the potato all the way through, then a few minutes in higher temperature oil to get them golden and crispy on the outside. The fries can be frozen in between these two steps, so the frozen fries that go into the fryer at McDonald’s area already partially cooked. In-N-Out cuts the potato, dumps them right into the fryer only once and then out, usually resulting in limp, unsatisfying fries. But I digress.

Other than the occasional breakfast McMuffin at the airport maybe twice a year, I don’t eat McDonald’s food. I don’t eat the fries, since I’m almost never in there, and I certainly don’t eat the burgers. I used to, though — way back in my youth, I was quite the fan of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Jules: 'You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in France?' Brett: 'No.' Jules: 'Tell 'im, Vincent.' Vincent: 'A Royale with Cheese.' Jules: 'A Royale with Cheese. You know why they call it that?' Brett: '... because of the metric system?' Jules: 'Check out the big brain on Brett!  You're a smart motherfucker.'

Big Macs never did anything for me, and their plain hamburgers and cheeseburgers seemed rather insubstantial. My regular order, though, was a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, large fries, large iced tea, for years. (And of course, they never ever look like the above image in real life.)

These days I try not to eat burgers all that often — although I love them, they don’t love me. Once a week at the most, and maybe even once every two weeks. This means that if I’m going to have a burger, I’m going to make it count. That means that I’m going to get my burger in a quality, independently-owned burger joint or in a restaurant that does a good burger. (Note that I don’t count In-N-Out as a typical fast food burger, as their quality is a lot higher than the national chains; the meat is always fresh, never frozen with no ammoniated pink slime mixed in, and if you order the fries well-done or “lightly well” they’re better than the garden variety fries. I will give them points for freshness.) No Burger King, no Wendy’s and certainly no McDonald’s. Pie ‘n Burger. The Counter. The Oinkster. Umami Burger. Or in one of our favorite restaurants, like Bar | Kitchen. You get the idea.

Sometimes, though, a sailor must seek any port in a storm. Last time I traveled to Houston to visit family I had to fly back through Dallas-Fort Worth airport on a night when the weather was bad. I had barely more than enough time to make my connection, and just as I was about to hop on their intra-airport monorail a huge clap of thunder and bolt of lightning struck, and the train went down. I then had to slog a very long way through that ridiculously large airport to get to my gate, only to find that all flights were suspended due to weather. It was late, I was starving, I had no idea when the weather would let me get home, and every single food vendor in that terminal was closed … except McDonald’s.

Yeah, I know, they have apple and walnut salads now, but I didn’t want a godsdamned salad, I wanted something substantial, so I went back to my old college standby of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

I’ve lost count of the number of years since I’d had one, and for the record it tasted exactly the same as I remembered.

Only now it tasted awful.

I’ve spent the last umpty-ump years being spoiled by quality meat, it seems. I could barely choke that feckin’ thing down.

I tried to condense my wordy story into 140 characters so that I could offer my own entry to the #McDStories hashtag festival. I find Twitter’s now-arbitrary 140-character limit to be annoying and frustrating, but I got the point across. I’ve also resolved never to eat another McDonald’s hamburger, unless it’s the only thing standing between me and the fellow airline passenger who might find me gnawing on his arm. You have my promise, McDonald’s — I won’t resort to cannibalism as long as you’re there.

Now, to plan my next burger. I’m thinking maybe Golden State or The Burger Kitchen at some point, but those are a bit far to drive. This Friday. Before “Fringe.” Pie ‘n Burger. Yeah.


5 Responses to “Story time with Mickey D”

  1. The Kitchen Witch said:

    Jan 23, 12 at 2:47 pm

    I had a similar reaction to Spaghetti-O’s. I used to love them as a kid, but was sadly disappointed when I tasted them years later. My 13 yr. old never has to worry about me swiping these from the pantry.

  2. Chuck said:

    Jan 23, 12 at 4:10 pm

    I used to practically live off Beef-O-Getti, which was Spaghetti-Os with meatballs. Before Mom started braising her roast beef she’d dry-roast it to well-done in a countertop roaster, and I hated well-done meat. She got so tired of me complaining about it when I was 10 or 12 that she said, “Fine, you don’t like what I make, go fix something yourself.” I loved preparing my own dinner — opening the can, lovingly dumping it into the pot, heating and stirring and serving and yum! Same went for Chef Boyardee canned Spaghetti and Meatballs.

    In a fit of nostalgia I bought a can as an adult, and was immediately taken aback by its appearance — um, spaghetti sauce should not be orange. I got one spoonful into it, then the whole thing went down the garbage disposal. Blecchh.

    Now I make spaghetti sauce from scratch, and mom’s pot roast is dee-lish.

  3. Robb said:

    Jan 23, 12 at 4:56 pm

    You forgot to mention Dog Haus! 😉

  4. The King of New Orleans said:

    Feb 20, 12 at 1:51 am

    1. Go to Cincinnati
    2. Find Terry’s Turf Club
    3. Get a table (you might have to sit with strangers — oh well, this place is popular)
    4. Order the best hamburger you have ever had (although you could get fois gras as it is on the menu)
    5. Debate on moving to Cincinnati permanently

  5. Chuck said:

    Feb 20, 12 at 10:52 am

    I’ll add that to the list (along with a big plate of Cincinnati chili, 4-way) if I ever find myself there. The chances of my ever moving there, though, are … well, zero. 🙂