My first thought was, I can see why people like McDonald’s. It was interesting to try it again after so long, because it helped me notice what I was not able to identify before. It has that zing of cooking oil reused just enough times to provide that greasy aroma of satisfaction – just short of an overpowering stench of rancid fat. It is strangely appealing to our palate, somehow striking a cord with our most basal needs.
My next thought was: but I do not miss it. Nor did it make me want more of it. I wondered whether I really didn’t want anymore or whether I have just trained my mind to suppress that craving.
I started avoiding McDonald’s around 6 years ago after I read Fast Food Nation and watched Food Inc in a short period of time and decided that Big Food is evil and that Big Food = fast food chains. However, I don’t think I would’ve so resolutely given it up had circumstance not led to a particular experience in a Burger King. I was in a strip mall in Leyton. There was a Burger King over and under the train tracks, facing a half-empty parking lot where lone men huddled against the cold trying to sell copied DVDs. Alone and lonely on a grey cold day in a dead fringe of London, I held a luke-warm bit of patty squashed between what were meant to be buns with some brown lettuce tucked in the middle. It looked like some obese bastard had sat on it and left it for whoever that was even more pathetic.That burger embodied the deplorable state that was my life at that moment and…that was it. I never went back to McDonald’s or Burger King ever again.
Untill last week of course, when one of the guys at work got promoted and bought everyone breakfast from McDonald’s. (Isn’t it clever how the company has positioned itself so that both the poor and destitute and white-collar professionals can afford to and want to eat there?) It was very generous of him and I shouldn’t decline. What was I going to do? Make up some lame excuse and go sit by myself in a corner? There’s no need to be some highbrow snob.
In hindsight, I realise that I’ve managed to suppress my cravings for that particularly attractive but putrid aroma, just as I’ve done with Coke. I mean, I can always get my fix somewhere else. It makes me wonder, what else can this….ability be applied to?