Tuesday, October 17, 2006

They had me at the special sauce

Our original destination was actually the Roslyn Delicatessen, a local establishment that fully understands -- and capitalizes on -- American food cravings. This was a special trip, made at Evan's request, to pick up a few boxes of Kraft mac & cheese (for the low, low price of nearly 5 bucks a box). As we walked, I was thinking about the whole idea of comfort food and the prices we'll pay and the lengths we'll go to in order to savor the flavors that taste like home.

We located our target, resisted the urge to also purchase a $10 box of graham crackers, and left the shop, a box of the neon yellow starchy milk byproduct and noodles firmly grasped in Evan's hot little hands. Coming out the door, I found myself turning right to head up the hill instead of left to head home. I wasn't quite sure where I was going, but I clearly wasn't ready to return to our house just yet.

A minute later, as I pushed open the doors to McDonald's and stood staring at the pictures of burgers and fries on the overhead menu, I knew where I'd been headed all along. I couldn't remember the last time I'd had a Big Mac -- or even the urge for one -- but I knew I was about to order one. I may have managed to resist fast food for most of my adult life, but it's still the ultimate in comfort food to me. Evan had his taste of home. Now I wanted mine.

I got the whole shebang; the Big Mac, the fries, even a Diet Coke with that familiar tinge of waxed paper cup flavor, sipped out of an oversized straw. And I ate every last bite, minus two fries which I "graciously" shared with Evan while snarfing the rest down before he could ask for more. The whole thing was over before I really even knew what had hit me. And now? I feel full, fat and a tad nauseous. I feel more than a little sheepish about my lack of self control.

And I feel very, very American.

7 Comments:

Blogger Tenille said...

Hee. Wait... are you sure you weren't describing my typical Tuesday night??? :)

12:50 PM  
Blogger Denzylle said...

The good residents of Hampstead fought long and hard *not* to have a McD in the neighbourhood and, altho' they lost the battle, they did get them to display a low key shopfront.

See the third para. of the article below:

http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/press/mcds/thenewstatesman290500.html

2:05 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

You've just experienced what I have recently learned is an extremely common ex-pat phenomenon - escaping to McDonalds.

Looks like Jordan and I did something similar about one month in to being abroad as well.

http://freudigehausfrau.blogspot.com/2006/02/nicht-sehr-deutsch-not-very-german.html#links

What is worse, I went back at least twice more in the next six months. After a great rush of guilt over McDonalds meal in a Berlin suburb one day (they had a drive-through!) this spring, I discovered this article about travelers and the refuge provided by good old Ronald.

http://travel.news.yahoo.com/b/rolf_potts/rolf_potts5166

The author argues that it is the absence of definable culture offered by McDonalds which sooths our over stimulated selves when we are far from home. Food for thought. ;)

4:48 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Heehee. I've never liked Big Macs but I could so so see myself doing this!

My SIL and BIL lived in Bermuda, which doesn't permit franchises, for 5 years. The first thing they did whenever they came back to Canada for a visit? Starbucks and Tim Horton's.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Kari said...

Ah, I'll bet some seven star pizza would do well right about now too, or better yet how about a batch of those snickerdoodles..... Glad to hear you gave in to the craving for the ultimate all American comfort food, although if mac n' cheese is $5 a box I can't imagine what a meal at McDonalds must have run you!

1:01 AM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Denzylle, I did notice how understated (relatively speaking) the McD's signage was. I'm somehow not surprised to hear about the battle... only that Hampstead lost!

Dan, you made my day! Your links made me laugh... I had the exact "absence of definable culture" experience the second link describes in Ikea, so seeing Jordan mention Ikea & Mickey D's in the same post was particularly amusing. So much for unique worldly experiences, eh?

Kari, the very idea of buying the world's largest slice of pizza for only a buck makes me nostalgic and starving all at the same time!

1:52 PM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

The McDonalds on Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey also has a very low key and understated facade. So it's not just the English that object to losing their culture and the ambience of their towns.

8:12 PM  

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