Tag Archives: ketchup

Making a Difference, One Food Truck At a Time. Next Up: McDonalds.

J writes on Monday at 1:26 p.m.:

I’m back from vacation today and my first stop was to my favorite food truck on 6th and Chestnut, the one that I wrote about last time when I complained that he had switched to the thin gyro meat.

When I ordered the gyro today, I noticed that he had switched it back to thick meat. I’m not sure if he reads this blog. I’m not sure if my post had any impact, but in a world where we sometimes wonder if one person can make a difference, I’m proud to imagine that perhaps I did.

So today I’m taking on McDonalds.

I took the family on vacation this week. My kids eat fairly healthy at home. They are not vegans, but they do eat a lot of fruit willingly. When you are on the road though, it’s surprisingly hard to order fruit in a restaurant. So by the end of the week I thought my kids were going to become a Chicken McNugget.


Did you add sauce? Yes, sir, we put the sauce in. Get back to my table. Nope. Have to go back and get it. Listen, I don’t actually think you put sauce in here, can I get a pack? I’ll have to charge you ten cents for it, sir. WTF? When did McDonald’s Chicken McNugget sauce become its own commodity? So in these cases my kids just dipped their nuggets in ketchup because on principle, I will not pay for a cup of sauce.

They're made almost exclusively of corn!

Then I ordered one of those Chicken Clubs, which are supposed to come with bacon, tomato and Swiss cheese. Got it back, it just had lettuce and mayonnaise. I brought it back with a head full of righteous indignation and even cut in line (I’m sorry, but I had had a long day at the zoo) to announce that they had shorted me my bacon, cheese and tomato. They apologized and gave me a new sandwich.

But the piez de resistance was when my ten nugget value meal only came back with nine nuggets. Yes I counted, and yes I brought the box back. The minimum wage flunky working behind the counter looked at me as if I had lost my mind, but he gave me a new ten pack of nuggets and then watched me count them. And yes, I got an extra pack of sauce too.

I know this seems like a small thing, and on the individual level it is. But McDonalds doesn’t just sell one box of ten piece chicken nuggets a day. They sell thousands or millions depending on the store location, and if they are shorting everyone a McNugget, then they are making out at our expense. Same thing with bacon and Swiss cheese.

I for one am not going to put up with it anymore, and the fact that I have to check my order every time before I bring it back to the table sort of defeats the purpose of fast food.

I’m just saying.
I point out:

Maybe Chicken McNugget sauce became its own commodity because they read your Ode to Honey Mustard.

Maybe you ARE making a difference…yikes. Better watch it buddy.

In Praise of Condiments

Via e-mail yesterday at 2:05 p.m.

Subject line: In praise of condiments
J writes:

I rise to praise condiments, not because of what they bring to sandwiches already in existence but for what they bring to the table on their own. Where would fries be without ketchup? Hot dogs without mustard? Hamburgers, without, well whatever it is you want to put on them, and chicken fingers…

… would simply cease to exist were it not for honey mustard, bar-b-q sauce, ranch dressing and whatever other deliciousness can be created in a semi-liquid state. I often wonder about the fate of chicken fingers once it becomes socially acceptable to eat honey mustard by the spoon.

Chicken fingers are a weird anomaly anyway. As any serious cook will tell you, chicken is almost impossible to get right. You have about a three second window between salmonella inducing raw and chewy. Since chicken fingers are cooked in mass quantities, they tend toward the chewy, which is fine because the breading covers over a multitude of sins and the real purpose of a chicken finger is to dip it in sauce anyway.

Ah the sauce…

Back when I was 15 and living on nothing except the good grace of my parents, I was out for a walk with a friend and we were extremely hungry.  Being 15 we had no money, so we went into McDonalds and asked for bar-b-q sauce. Well actually, we first asked for packets of salad dressing, but when informed that those cost “extra,” we asked for bar-b-q sauce. We each got a packet and ate the sauce as we continued our walk. It was satisfying enough to last us until lunch.

Apparently with a 21 percent unemployment rate among teenagers, more young men have tried this because now McDonalds charges 10 cents for each extra bar-b-q sauce packets. They’ll give you a set amount for each order (which in my experience is only enough if you don’t double-dip), but beyond that you got to spare a dime.

This is almost never enforced, especially if you go through the drive thru and ask the kid who gives you your food, rather than the one who takes your money, for an extra sauce packet.

My guess is that McDonalds started charging because too many teenage men were coming in and eating straight bar-b-q sauce because they had no money.

In my world, we call those folks true pioneers.