Thursday, March 1, 2007


From: No Charles, you can't ban the food of the gods (Bryony Gordon, The Telegraph, March 1st, 2007)

Mmmmmm, McDonald's. The food of the gods. I am drawing on previously unknown reserves of strength and willpower just to stop myself legging it to the nearest franchise. Just imagine: a McChicken sandwich, covered in that special mayonnaise they do - perfect for treating the hangover. Or nine chicken nuggets, with that lovely sweet-and-sour sauce. Or a portion of their large, greasy chips. Mon Dieu! What I'd do for such a meal right now.

People who don't get a buzz from eating McDonald's food are dead inside (even Marco Pierre White has come out in favour of the Big Mac). They're the kind of folk who don't drink because they're scared of losing control, or the sort of man who (and I'm getting specific here), when his new fiancée announces that she loves him, can only respond: "Whatever love means." In short, dull people who need to get out a bit more.

I was wondering why I should care for the opinion of an unelected twit with no experience of real life, but then I realised you could think the same of me, and also that Charles has highlighted a real problem, if not quite the one he had in mind.

McDonald's should not be banned. It shouldn't even be encouraged to sell healthy food. Who goes to the golden arches to eat salad? You go there to eat fat when you're feeling a bit indulgent, but I don't know anybody who eats there more than once a month, and if they did, would it be the fault of McDonald's?

I am not denying there is a problem. It would be difficult to do that when we have children who look like sumo wrestlers and believe cows lay eggs. And I will concede that McDonald's is not without blemishes. It has in the past been accused of cutting down rainforests to raise cattle, it farms land in the third world at the expense of the growth of local food; it is responsible for many things, but not for our children getting fatter and fatter. That's our problem.

Is there any better metaphor for modern anti-Americanism than the protean disdain of the beautiful people for McDonald’s? The putative sins of this corporation are never-ending. It is garish in appearance and deportment, reduces mealtime to a rude, noisy functionality, destroys “traditional” cultures (meaning local restaurants with worse food), is a threat to the environment, exploits its young workers and offers a fare that nauseates every culinary snob and nutritional ideologue in the world.

And still they come.


M Ali said...

It's a bit silly.

Going to McD's is fine as long as you avoid refined sugar products and non-wholegrain carbs in your regular diet.

Brit said...

One needn't be anti-American to loathe McDonalds.

The possession of a set of taste-buds is sufficient.

David said...

I'm with Brit. Even my kids hate McDonalds.

Peter Burnet said...

Me too, I hate MacDonald's and reguarly refuse to go. But I'd kill for a Big Mac.

Duck said...

You guys are food snobs.

Peter Burnet said...

M Ali:

Recently, my wife became disenchanted with her modern cakes and stumbled across an old recipe for a large yellow cake with a cream cheese dressing. You can feel your arteries harden just watching her make it. It contains a pound each of butter and cream cheese and a whole litre of sugar. You will be very relieved to know the sugar is organic and unrefined, so I know I'm safe.

It is so good that, even though I'm usually not a big cake fan, I suffer uncontrollable gorging impulses I haven't had since pizza days at college. As I see no reason to try and control them, we've had to agree she can only make the thing every six weeks or so. I would never forgive anybody who tried to tell me what bad things are in it.

That's the secret of McDonald's, at least their sandwiches. Their fries (chips to you) are scary.

Lord Grattan said...

We have several recipies from "the old country" (actually countries...Finland, England and Germany). I can't believe what's in many of them! My arteries harden just thinking about it. When we lived in rural NW Ohio we were friends with this one family who ate eggs every day, drank (and used in baking) whole milk right from the cow and real homemade butter! Have any of you been in the southern US and had a meal of grits, eggs and biscuits w/sausage gravey? Mickey D's is not the problem the diet of people world-wide is, and you can't legislate that (well, you can, but you know what I mean).

All hail King(wannabee) Charles III!

Brit said...

Ha! It's very satisfying for an Englishman to be accused of food snobbery.

I'm honestly not though - I'll eat all sorts of rubbish. I find all mega fast food chains a bit depressing, but I'll scoff Burger King and KFC as greedily as the next man.

But somehow, McDonalds do something to everything that makes it horrible. I have an anti-Pavlov reaction to McDonalds - merely seeing that M sign makes me gag.

erp said...

Even the French love McDonald's, and they're the arbiters of fine dining.

I still have a Good Housekeeping cookbook that I received as a shower gift 50 years ago. Every list of ingredients contains either a pound of butter or a cup or two of heavy cream, sometimes both. Sauté in bacon grease.


Duck said...

The Spine has a hilarious sendup of McD and the POW.

I like McDonalds food, but not more than once a week. Beats cooking for myself.

Oroborous said...

I very much like McD's chips, but that's about it.

They're fine as a last resort, when they're the only thing available.

But as much as I prefer Burger King, Wendy's, or any of their myriad other competitors, it's obvious by the size of the McD chain that I am in the minority, and it's also true that McD's top management is far superior to that of Burger King's.

Oroborous said...

McDonald’s [...] offers a fare that nauseates every culinary snob and nutritional ideologue in the world.

Well, less one - myself.

Morgan Spurlock is an idiot. It's been entirely possible for at least a decade to eat a healthy and even above-average diet at McDonald's, assuming that one has the ability and willingness to pay $ 20 a day for food.

The Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait alone is chock-full of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and conjugated linoleic acid.

Peter Burnet said...

What, no niacin?

C'mon, Oro, surely you aren't going to defend McDonald's on the basis of its nutitional strenghs? Isn't that a bit like defending orgies on the basis that they teach the sexes how to relate to each other?

Mike Beversluis said...

Their salads are okay. Also, they own Chipotle, which is pretty good.

Oroborous said...

The major national fast-food chains in North America are:

McDonald's, Subway, Wendy's, Burger King, Hardee's/Carl's Jr., Arby's, Jack in the Box, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

(Chipotle is getting there, and I highly recommend them, but they still have only around 500 locations).

Of the majors, only Subway, and the Wendy's and Pizza Huts with salad bars offer more highly-nutritional fare than does McD's.

So yeah, I am defending McD's on the basis of their superior nutritional strengths, even if that's not what they're well-known for, and even though, as I stated earlier, I'm not a big fan of theirs, based on taste.

It's more like defending interesting parties where they have orgies in the back rooms - if you don't want to have sex, then stay in the front rooms and enjoy the music and conversation.

Mike Beversluis said...

McDonald's isn't an orgy - The Cheesecake Factory is an orgy. McDonald's is leaving the lights on once in awhile.

Hey Skipper said...

Even the French love McDonald's, and they're the arbiters of fine dining.

When I was in Paris in early December, I found the hotel's restaurant prices so nauseating that I ended up at a McDonalds two blocks down the street. (Except for their breakfast offerings, I haven't eaten at the place in years.)

The place was packed to the gunwales.

I was the only American there.