Sunday, April 24, 2005

Going to McDonalds for a salad is like going to a whorehouse for a hug

My planned piece this week on the joys of the profiterole was dashed when Atlas, the French bistro in my hood, switched to their spring-themed, profiterole-less menu. So, instead, let's take a moment to study perhaps the pinnacle of our modern industrial-food society: the McDonalds french fry.

When served piping fresh and properly salted, no hand cut pom fritte, no beskinned steak fry, no potato in the world is the equal of the McD fry. While the list of ingredients would probably make your head spin, the fries emerge as simplicity itself: a crunch, salt, heat and starch combo that melds into one solid, joyous flavor. But eat them fast: in mere minutes they go from little snips ‘o pleasure to portable paste sticks. It’s okay to burn the tongue a little.

The burgers at McDonalds are disturbing. Their chicken nuggets, palatable. But the fries, oh the fries! They are the Platonic ideal, the icon of fried potato. Dip them in a chocolate shake if you dare; I prefer one of McDonalds high-test orange drinks myself. Get a large fries, and laugh at the giant Americaness of it all: the fucker takes two hands to hold, and it's full of golden glory sticks. U! S! A! U! S! A!

In general, I agree that fast food is a problem, delivering too many calories to too many of us. I've read Fast Food Nation and seen Super Size Me. My argument against fast food is that convenience isn't worth the damage bad food does to you, but real pleasure is. Maybe McDonalds is killing the rainforests, enlarding our children and forcing bland sameness onto our landscapes. But they gave us their french fries. Can't we call it even?


Blogger Douglas Cress said...


9:12 PM  

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