Writing about McDonald’s is a dangerous thing for a food writer. There are two possible outcomes: you turn up your nose and write a snobby screed, offending those who eat there and like it. Or you write something in its defense, and you piss off 99% of the people who read food blogs, who love “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and who think the entryway to Hell isn’t marked, as Dante suggested, with the phrase “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” but, instead, by golden arches.
Perhaps, if I tread lightly, I can avoid these two outcomes by simply telling the story of our Sunday drive home from Cape Cod and our detour, when we were hungry, to McDonald’s for lunch.
You may recall a post, back from September 15th, 2008 called “How To Cook For A Group.”
In that post, I whined about how I wasn’t good at cooking for a group: “The truth is that to impress a large group of people, you’ve got to cook large. Some folks are better at cooking large than others; I’ve come to discover that I am far superior at cooking small. I’d much prefer to cook for four than to cook for fourteen: I’d rather roast a chicken than a whole pig, I’d rather man a single skillet than a giant grill.”
Beware: when driving back from Cape Cod to New York, be wary of any Canadians or Yalies in your car. In our case, we had Dara (a Canadian) and Amir (a Yalie) both of whom were responsible for thousands of calories consumed against my innocent, food-shirking will. Why must food obsessives force me, a health-nut, to eat doughnuts and pizza when all I want are bags of trail mix and no-fat fruit smoothies? Are you buying any of this? No?
Ok, you’re right, the Canadian and the Yalie were certainly enablers, but I was the catalyst for all the fat we consumed on the drive back. The Canadian started it. Dara spied a sign for Tim Horton’s, which you see in the picture above. I’d recalled a Canadian reader e-mailing me once about Tim Horton’s, saying it’s the Canadian version of Dunkin’ Donuts only much, much better. Dara agreed. “We should go there,” either she said or I said; or maybe we both said it. We’d pulled off the highway anyway because we needed gas and there was Tim Horton’s, where, after the gas, we stopped for a bathroom and a doughnut.
Journeys of self-discovery are often internal; we go to the desert, we go to the beach, we go to the forest, and, in our solitude, we unlock secrets from the past, untapped desires, revelations about who we are and why we are the way we are. Other times, journeys of self-discovery are external: case in point, my trip to Cape Cod with Craig and his film school friends a few weeks ago. It was there in Cape Cod that I discovered something about myself, something that I didn’t really know: when it comes to cooking for a group, that ain’t my thing!