Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Micky D's

Beef doesn't taste right to me anymore. It has a bitter, sort of earthy taste. I crave it though--not as it tastes today but as it used to taste. I know that in a few months, it will taste normal again. But today I got a strong urge to try a McDonalds cheeseburger. So I did. I mean, I figured, they're cheap, so if I don't like it, I can get something else. And I can always eat the fries. McDonalds makes very good fries.

McDonalds makes good fries because it turns out that making good fries is chemistry and the issues in question are the water content of the potato and the heat of the oil. If the water content of the potato is just right, the outside of the fry with crisp and the inside will get fluffy and white. Too much water, and the insides steam and you get a fried boiled potato. The whole affair gets greasy and nasty, especially once they aren't hot. Unfortunately, potatoes are organic and their water content is determined by where and how they grow and what the weather and temperature is. So McDonalds has developed a very sophisticated system by which farmers grow specific types of potatoes which are then laid out in warehouses and monitored until they have dehydrated a bit to the correct percentage of water. I'm not saying that there aren't better fries than McDonalds fries, and McDonalds fries do suffer a bit from employee error--they can be undercooked, overcooked, or left to stand too long, despite those deep fryers with the loud beeping alarms. After all, who hasn't been in a fast food place where the deep fryer is loudly announcing that something is done, and nobody seems to fish the basket out of the oil for long, long beeping minutes. But McDonalds french fries are a pretty good fry benchmark. My taste for potatoes remains pretty much unchanged.

I could risk a buck on a cheeseburger then, knowing that I could always console myself with the fries. I stood for a moment, contemplating ordering a Big Mac. When I lived in New York City and never ate fast food, Big Macs were a secret vice of mine. I came back to Ohio craving them. They're awful--the food equivalent of drugs, nothing but fat and salt and a bit of sugar. Nutritional sin, with a bit of shredded lettuce, like a stripper in a G string. But I wasn't all that hungry and besides, I was really aware that I might take a bite of the thing and want to spit it out. Best, I thought, to start modest.

I bought my cheeseburger, wrapped in its yellow Micky D wrapper and took it over to the table and unwrapped it. I busied myself salting fries and getting the catsup right to dip the fries. Ate a couple of fries. The cheeseburger sat there in its soft, slightly steamed bun, the meat pretty much hidden by the slice of processed cheese food, all the colors as primary as a Fisher Price toy. I tasted it.

It tasted fine.

Which just proves what I have always suspected. I'm not a hamburger person. I never make them at home. I rarely order them out. But I like McDonalds burgers. Why? Because there is so little meat, they don't taste like beef. I will now burn in hell because of the dreadful lack of standards in the meat processing industry and the three dollars and change I have contributed to the agri-industrial complex (read Fast Food Nation for more on this issue.) I swear, for the next week, all my meat will be humanely raised. But I have to admit, I liked my McDonalds cheeseburger. And the fries were good, too.


Blogger Greg van Eekhout said...

Me, I love a good burger. The ones at my local, Four Peaks Brewpub, are just awesome. Half-pound patty, buttery bun, cheesy cheese, washed down with a pint of their 8th Street bitter? Oh my stinking god, so good.

But. I still absolutely crave those little dollar cheeseburgers from McDonald's. It's because they're loaded with crack.

February 01, 2005 12:39 PM  
Blogger Derryl Murphy said...

We finally watched Supersize Me on the weekend, and one of the bonus features on the disk was an experiment where diner burger, fries, and McD's fries and various burger-type items were put into separate jars and the path of dissolution was observed. After 10 weeks everything was hugely disgusting, except for Rotten Ronnie's fries, which still looked like the day they'd been purchased. I suppose your notes on how they make their fries helps explain that, but no, for me, never again.


February 01, 2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Don't McDonalds dip their fries in a sugar solution, also? Which insures a crisper, more golden color outside, and thorough cooking inside? (And supplies more sugar for our sugar-addicted nation?).

I love the occasional McD meal, but I think I made peace with the idea years ago that their burgers are a species apart from the actual hamburgers you get elsewhere. Makes the whole experience much more palatable. As it were.

February 01, 2005 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They're awful--the food equivalent of drugs, nothing but fat and salt and a bit of sugar. Nutritional sin, with a bit of shredded lettuce, like a stripper in a G string."

You're funny as hell, Maureen.


February 02, 2005 6:42 AM  
Blogger JeffV said...

Yeah, that description Barth pointed out is wonderful. Great and inspirational and funny blog.


February 02, 2005 4:00 PM  
Blogger bdunkle said...

Maureen, Looking forward to your new book, any our prayers are with you.

February 02, 2005 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found both your blog and your lj through PNH and have enjoyed reading it. I'm currently recuperating from a knee replacement and I kind of enjoy reading someone who is as self absorbed as I am. Well, at least it helps to make me feel a little less guilty.

I'm still on pretty powerful pain pills and not only do they depress appetite, they make beef distinctly unappetizing. It doesn't taste funny; it just seems too icky to possible eat. And I LOVE beef. Sigh.

One of the things driving me crazy is that no one wants to talk to me about anything except how my knee is. I answer that question multiple times/day. Drives me nuts. Let's talk about this new book I read or the Shrubberies latest lies or something, anything but my knee.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Mary Kay

February 03, 2005 4:21 AM  
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October 06, 2005 12:53 AM  
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March 24, 2009 12:19 AM  

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