Culinary no-no #537

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinions, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

One childhood memory was the many times my parents and I would hop into Dad’s Buick and head to one of the few McDonald’s in Milwaukee.

1964 Milwaukee-area McDonald's ad. Going there (the 27th St. and Morgan Ave. location) was such a huge treat back then.

I’m old enough to remember there was no indoor seating. So you’d empty the bags and eat and drink in the car. The menu was sparse. It took years before the massive chain added a cheeseburger option. For the first time I enjoyed pickles on a hamburger.

When new items were trotted out it was exciting to still be able to order a Big Mac, fries and a soda for under a dollar. The quarter pounder made the regular burger look super skimpy.

In recent years the folks that run The Golden Arches have been unable to create a consistently popular menu. Constant changes have been made because so many items have failed to catch on.

At a single McDonald’s location in Finland a McVegan will be on the menu until November 21. The burger is a soy-based patty with a vegan McFeast sauce, ketchup, mustard, fresh tomato, lettuce, onion and pickle slices.

This is not a first for McDonald’s that has actually sold the meatless sandwiches in other countries in the past. Vegan burgers are quite trendy and growing in popularity. Media reports suggest they’re coming to American McDonald’s restaurants that continue to struggle.

Earlier this year consumers surveyed said McDonald’s has the lowest quality food out of all the big fast food food restaurants. The chain was ranked in the number 12 spot (out of 12) in a review conducted by RBC Capital Markets, a global investments bank. In-N-Out Burger was ranked number one, followed by Chick-fil-A, Culver’s, White Castle, Arby’s, Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s, Hardee’s, Sonic, Jack in the Box, Burger King, and finally McDonald’s.

Personally, I’m not surprised. My visits today to McDonald’s are for breakfast, a fish or chicken sandwich, or a Happy Meal. Won’t buy any burgers because they’re just not very good, unless you’re a kid.

Could the McVegan take off? The PETA crowd thinks so, calling the traditional burger “cruel.” reports:

Veganism is growing tremendously in popularity, as people make the dietary shift for health, ethical, and environmental reasons, and fast food restaurants can’t help but pay attention to this. Food & Wine reports that the number of U.S. vegans has risen from 1 percent in 2014 to 6 percent of the population in 2017; and 22 percent of Americans say they are substituting greater amounts on non-meat protein into meals at least once a week.

Count me out. Won’t go anywhere near a McVegan.

My advice to McDonald’s: Ditch this plan.

Concentrate instead on making a much better burger WITH meat.


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