Feeling McGuilty

January 20, 2011

As most of you know, this blog tends to accentuate the positive aspects of food; lots of healthy recipes, tips for finding quality products, good places to eat, etc.  But occasionally we do need to report on something not so good, maybe something we’re not quite proud of.  Last night was such an occasion.  We ate at McDonald’s.

Again, we are not proud of this.  But practicality won out over everything else last night.  We were at an event with our 3-year-old blogger-in-training, and by the time it ended it was getting late, and we needed dinner quickly.  The little guy requested a cheeseburger, and the Golden Arches happened to be right around the corner.  So we submitted to our desire to both placate the child and to ensure we got him home at a reasonable bedtime.

Now I will say that in his almost 4 years of existence, this is only the second time we have taken him to McDonald’s, so I’d say that’s not half bad.  In fact, he doesn’t really know what it is, so he never asks to go there, which is another bonus (he usually wants Five Guys when he gets the cheeseburger urge).  And I don’t know if all the bad press Mickey D’s used to get still applies – I know at some point there was outcry over where their beef came from, that it was destroying the rainforest, something like that.  Maybe that’s still true, but since our visits there are so infrequent, I don’t feel bad about it.  What I do feel McGuilty about today is just the whole “fast food” aspect.  As a proponent of the “slow food movement” and the use of local ingredients, McDonald’s offends me on a gastric level (though apparently not enough to give them a miss last night).  I guess I figure that as long as I only patronize them once every two years, I can live with myself.  But I will also add that their Happy Meals have gone way downhill.  Last night our child got his burger and fries in a regular paper bag with a toy thrown inside.  What happened to the colorful cardboard container with all the lovable characters?  I remember hearing something about a clampdown on McDonald’s marketing to children – is this why the Hamburglar, Grimace, the Fry Guys and Mayor McCheese have all disappeared?  I don’t even recall seeing that scary clown Ronald’s face anywhere, now that I think about it.  Weird.  But I guess as long as they have cheap food, families will bring their kids.  Just like we did.  This is my inner conflict today.  What do you think?


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