I recently received an email from Jen O’Donnell who works in public relations on a McDonald’s program called the Moms’ Quality Correspondents. According to the website, this is a group of "real moms" from all over the country who "have unprecidented access to the Mcdonalds' system" and who "ask the kinds of questions that you yourself want answered." They appear to be mainly focused on areas such as nutrition and wellness, with a healthy dose (pardon the pun) of articles about the Ronald McDonald House and charities.
O'Donnell tells me that "these Moms have met with nutritionists, suppliers and menu developers, learning about the food they feed their families from the inside out." She goes on to say that, as an example, the Quality Correspondents "toured a potato farm, processing facility and Research and Development Center to see first-hand McDonald's and its supplier’s joint commitment to food quality, safety, nutrition and sustainable farming practices."
McDonald's is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Chicken McNugget with a bevy of promotional material, a dedicated media relations website and a "fan" site called NuggNuts.com.
Check out the site and if you are a Nuggnut, take the Nuggnut pledge. Personally, I have enjoyed McNuggets but they never seem to fill me up. Oh, but dip them in hot mustard sauce! Woo. Mouth music!
I'll admit it - I am a french fry purist. I like my fries the way God intended them: fried golden brown and crispy on the outside but white and potato-y on the inside. Thin, thick, no matter. I am not partial to the cut. What I am not a fan of, however, are seasoned fries masquerading as basic french fries.
Take, for instance, the most recent offender: The Carl's Jr. Natural-Cut Fries. Carl's decided to discard their superior basic fry in favor of pursuing a trend. The result, a seasoned fry that competes with, rather than complements, their line-up of mouth-watering burgers. This at a time when Carl's already had a seasoned veteran on their menu: the crisscut.
But Carl's Jr. is not the first. The trend is several years running. Burger King was the first big chain to succumb to the seasoned Siren's song. Jack In The Box also tossed a perfectly servicable fry in favor of seasoned fluff. I won't be hard on Arby's, Sonic or Checkers. I think their fries have always been seasoned. But you others - shame on you! Where is your spirit of tradition? Your patriotisim? Dare I say, your taste?
Who will be next? My list of basic fries that don't pretend to be more than fries is getting shorter all the time. Of the large nationwide chains there's still McDonald's, of course. And underrated Wienerschnitzel. And Wendy's. And Del Taco (crinkled but basic.) And some chains do offer alternatives that satisfy the fried potato urge without going into strange flavor territory (thank you Sonic tots.)
Yes, this is an opinion piece. Sure there's probably lots of market research that will tell me I am in the minority. I just hate it when a perfectly popular product is thrown away after years of dutiful service. It's like discontinuing the secret sauce at Jack In the Box in favor of mayo. What, they did that years ago? Damn.
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