Enjoy the long Weekend
My favourite part about foodie culture is that they will go to another country to eat street food and be like the locals (which I do too! Street food is awesome!), but will never realize that street food in North America is basically fast food.
Great piece. Silly, perhaps, but a perfect illustration of the proud, intentional, and deliberate closing of the mind that is the hallmark of elite journalism today.
Note this is the same population that proudly writes features about cicada recipes, so I don’t buy “it looks gross” as the real reason for skipping the Big Mac.
One thing where conservatives really have liberals number is snobbery: they get that a lot of what motivates the attitude of right-thinking liberals (not D voters but the people who write for prestige outlets and the people who run or donate to the Democratic party) is a desire to seem different from people of generally similar background who have bad taste and embarrassing opinions. This is *mostly snobbery*, it doesn’t actually make you a better person & it not the best motive in politics.
I love opera & I’m turned off by the idea of Disney World or jet skis or going on a cruise (although I have eaten a big mac and have been to a shooting range out of curiosity - it was fun). I don’t feel the need to rejigger my tastes to be less snooty, I am who I am, but they come from my background, it would be idiotic to confuse them with moral worth or good politics. Left wing politics has to involve poorer people voting for a party that protects their interests or it is all a game.
“Personally, I think a Quarter Pounder is way better and also all the McDonald’s burgers are pretty bad but the fries or great and there’s some excellent breakfast options“
The Big Mac sucks. Open the box—boom—lettuce everywhere.
The main entrees are pretty trash for the price. It’s all about the dollar menu—or I guess technically two cheese burgers is a main menu item and for $2.12 it’s great. My friend always does a McDouble and McChicken. Also a good combo but I think it’s a little pricier. These are also WAY better to eat in the car while driving—less mess. And honestly not a bad option if you’re trying to lose weight but want to treat yourself—as long as you’re willing to skip fries. Number 2 is 600 calories and you get to chow down two burgers—Big Mac and QP are mid 500s so it’s the same kinda thing. I dropped 40+ pounds over a few months still treating myself to a number 2 diet no fries a couple times a week.
Dunno how I feel about the new numbering for chicken sandwiches—4a, 4b etc. I think the Wendy’s option is better—have the sandwich and then chose spicy home style or grilled. This isn’t going to work if they go past 3 options—going to have too much mishearing b and d.
Wish they’d bring those spicy chicken tenders back but I guess my stepbro said they were a pain to make.
You know what? Fuck "regular programming".
Ok, I don't really mean that, I've actually been enjoying Slow Boring immensely. But articles like this, where the subject isn't specifically about economics or politics, and at first it seems a little bit unserious, but then actually raises some really good points, are something I've really missed. I'd love to see a little more of "fun Matt" - the guy who writes about Big Macs, or fast food salads, or basketball. Not because I only care about pop culture, but because it's really interesting to think about these seemingly unimportant things in a analytical way that can bring up ideas which translate to other subjects.
For example, one of my all-time favorite articles by Matt was this brief analysis about the perverse incentives that caused the NBA owners to vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento back in 2013:
That's not just some dumb sports story! It's a really interesting take on why the team owners collectively voted against the best interests of one of the individual owners in order to make themselves richer. I learned something about economics that day.
I'm not saying turn this into a Big Mac blog. But, if every few weeks, we got one article about fast food, or a TV show, or a sports team, I wouldn't complain.
I've never tried a Big Mac. Plenty of Quarter Pounders, though. The Big Mac appears to be a burger with smaller patties and... a piece of bread in the middle. Why? Who eats a Quarter Pounder and thinks, "That was all right, but what it really needs is 33% less beef and 50% more bread"?
Even more tellingly, the author apparently never had a Big Mac as a kid (they're really not *that* big). My guess is that the elitism is so ingrained through the generations at the New Yorker, no one there even recognizes how tone-deaf it all sounds.
I have never tried a literal Big Mac, but I am, uh, probably overly familiar with the rest of the McDonald's menu, which is different from what the author implied, which is more to the effect of "McDonald's? Why, I would never!" than not having tried the specific sandwich.
I think your point about being curious is well-taken, Matt. I'm a fairly bookish liberal, but if someone wanted to, say take me to NASCAR, or out to shoot guns for fun, or out bow hunting, I'd probably say yes, because I have not done those things and I'm genuinely curious about the experience. I'm not going out of my way to do those things, but it's also not my job to write about them.
Would it be ok with Matt if I continue to live as a person who's never tried a Big Mac? I'm plenty curious (I swear!). And I'm the least food-snobbish person on the planet. (You haven't really lived until you've eaten a quality Chinese ramen product slathered in Lao Gan Ma at 4am after plenty of cheap baijiu). BUT in the low-end US burger joint sector I've always preferred Burger King (don't disagree, mind you, that McDonald's fries are superior, but BK's burgers are definitely better). When forced to eat a non-breakfast at McDonald's I opt (this is bad) for just a regular cheeseburger (or two, if you really want to know the bitter truth).
A few other observations re: US burgers: 1) In-N-Out is the most overrated thing to come out of California since I don't know what. I mean, they're fine, but, a cult? Seriously? 2) Shake Shack is another overrated place, based on my single visit to the one adjacent to the Japanese Baseball Hall of fame. 3) I finally made it to a Five Guys last year during my extended USA stranding, and I thought their fare was delicious.
A couple of thoughts on this important topic:
- I’m honestly surprised so many here never tried a Big Mac. Next to the basic cheeseburger it’s my favorite McDonalds sandwich.
- my family scratches our McDonalds itch about once a month, and usually just for the sweet hot caramel sundae.
- The best Big Mac I ever had was in Moscow in 1991 (It was still the USSR then). It tasted exactly like a Big Mac in the US but the atmosphere made all the difference.
- The real culinary crime committed by McDonalds is the Fillet-O-Fish. I tried one once. Once.
McDonald's was always forbidden as a child because of kosher observance and now is forbidden as an adult because of veganism (plus some lingering kosher observance). So I've never had any of the meat at McDonald's and I stopped eating the fries when I learned they contain animal products. We exist! (But my refusal to eat beef burgers likely disqualifies me from writing an article about a restaurant whose conceit is a new spin on beef burgers.)
I'm also surprised at the number of commenters here who have never even eaten at a McD's let alone tried a Big Mac. I guess growing up in Wisconsin, life was different. Not only did we regularly eat at McD's, I worked at one in my teen years. So did my husband, sister, brother-in-law, etc (BTW, all college educated also). If it wasn't McD's, then it was BK. On the weekends, the McD I worked at was on what I'll call "college bar street" so we were open late enough that when the bars closed, we got all the drunk college kids who came in with serious munchies. They were hideously obnoxious but working the closing shift meant you often got to eat the leftover food. I always wanted to do the fry station clean-up because, yes, the fries were delicious!
As for the differences in the different burgers- the patties, cheese and onions on the Big Mac were the same as the ones on the regular and double cheese burgers. The difference was the bun, sauce and lettuce.
I agree with all the commenters who basically stated: 1) the quarter pounder is better and 2) the fish sandwich is terrible! Wendy's has a good fish sandwich but only during Lent (seriously??), and Arby's recently came out with a pretty good fish sandwich.
Of course as time has moved on, so have my food choices (mostly). Still, I do think there is a real danger in food snobbery, not unlike other forms of snobbery. The middle of the country still eats a lot of fast food, listens to country music, watches trash TV, goes to NASCAR and drinks cheap beer. There's absolutely no reason for liberals/progressives to get judgy; especially abhorrent is the passive-aggressive version of this judginess. When you do, don't be surprised if people don't want to listen to anything substantive you might have to say. Condescension from the left is a big, big problem.
Profoundly incurious person here. At the age of six, I declared "these chicken McNuggets taste like rubber!" and after that I never ate at McDonalds ever again.
These days, I rarely eat fast food (I try to eat prepare as many healthy meals at home) but when I do, I don't eat at McDonalds. Nothing about it appeals to me. Chipotle, In-n-Out, and Jack-in-the-Box are all clearly superior options.
I'm nearly 50 and have never eaten a Big Mac. I have, however, eaten lots of McDonald's cheeseburgers and quarter pounders with cheese. I also worked in a McDonalds as a teenager, so, despite never having eaten one, I have made many of them, probably more than most people have eaten.
I was never a huge fan of lettuce on burgers and I do like mustard and ketchup.
So, for me, "mustard and ketchup" >>>>>>>>> "mystery sauce which I later learned was something like thoudasnd island dressing, which I don't particularly like." Easy decision not to every try one. (Though I will concede that if I was ever going to write an article about the Big Mac I would definitely try one first.
Counterpoint: the ingredients in a Big Mac aren’t novel and you’ll probably have a pretty good idea without trying one whether you’ll like it or not. I don’t really like raw onion and pickles on my burger… I just prefer other toppings. Am I required to go buy a Big Mac, take a bite, and say “nope, still not a raw onion guy!” to prove I don’t lack curiosity?