The McDonald’s research and development kitchen must be a trip. When you’ve got an unlimited budget and a worldwide audience, there’s no telling what you can whip up. But sometimes it feels like McDonald's just decided to put a tiny chef’s hat and Hulk hands on a dumpster raccoon and let him go to work. In the spirit of other, uh, creations like the McPizza, we present to you …
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good hot dog and respect its utilitarian appeal, but they have a place. Namely, at a backyard barbeque where you’re small-talking with random nerds you have nothing in common with, giving you a salty escape to occupy your face hole. Hot dogs are not, typically, something you buy when you’re dining out. Especially not a McDonald’s version. The very nature of hot dogs themselves, and all other McDonald’s other items, is that they have already given up. They’re grunt meat, there to get the job done. So there is something extra lazy about opting for the hot dog at McDonald’s. You can picture it when you open that little cardboard box it’s sitting in. The light hits the dog, it squints at the harsh rays, a cigarette popping out from the bun. “The hell, dude?” You close the cardboard lid, as some foods have suffered enough.
What’s the best part about a Hot Pocket? That’s easy. It’s the part where they’re perfectly designed to be devoured in the comfort of your own home where absolutely nobody can see that you just ate five. That shame is yours, and yours alone.
Well, McDonald’s didn’t get that memo when they tried to glom on to the Hot Pocket craze in the 1990s with their McStuffins. Served in-store, the McStuffins were breaded meat pockets built for the McDonald’s customer who aggressively didn't care anymore, the kind of customer who find the Egg McMuffin too aristocratic.
For the McStuffins connoisseur, there was no time to waste in selecting dietary choices that actively subtracted their time on this planet. Though McStuffins were likely discontinued because they're a stupid idea, it could also be that the agonized howl that follows every first bite into a molten Hot Pocket is meant to be unleashed alone in one’s home, and they weren’t ready for a cacophony that made your average McPlayPlace sound like the Bataan Death March.
This one didn’t make the cut because of some unconventional toppings -- it’s just the usual, but thrown on a pita. Released in Norway in 2002, the McAfrika dropped right alongside a horrific famine in southern Africa. Immediately slammed for its insensitive naming, McDonald’s kept the product up, name intact, for its entire run. Their offer? They’d put up some materials in stores where people could donate to help. There is no doubt that there was some serious internal scrambling going on after this product made negative international headlines. The dude who came up with this pita burger clearly had a moment of reckoning with his ideation board -- sadly, the McTsunami, the McButtCancer, and the Mc100CarHighwayPileup would have to go.
What are the signs of a good Christian? First, look at their bumper sticker. Second, they must find something on the McDonald’s menu for Lent that won’t piss off Jesus. That’s why McDonald’s icon Ray Kroc invented the Hula Burger. Designed for practicing Catholics, the Hula burger was a piece of grilled pineapple with a slice of cheese on top, wedged between buns. American cheese and pineapple, baby, the classic combo. Knowing that this was an absolute turd of a sandwich, another franchisee made a gamble with Ray. If his Lent-inspired creation sold more (the Filet-O-Fish), it would hit menus across the nation instead. A winner-takes-all scenario. We all know how this one played out.
I won’t say much here. Instead, I’ll let your mind wander. Just go ahead, picture a McSpaghetti. Do your best to imagine what a wet, sloppy, noodly McDonald’s spaghetti would look like. Got it? Scarred forever? Yeah, same. Now, get ready to see what it looks like for real. If you pictured something a foley artist might stomp on to simulate the sound of an alien parasite bursting through a spleen, you’d have nailed it.
In 2000, McDonald’s ran out the McSalad Shakers, which were just a bunch of lettuce and cheese and crap thrown into a plastic cup. In what has to be one of their laziest inventions ever, the whole idea of the McSalad Shaker was to appeal to those that didn’t have all that time for the lengthy, formal process of eating a standard McDonald’s meal. You know, bringing your McChicken home, lighting some candles, getting out the guest plates. The McSalad Shaker was for the health-conscious McDonald’s patron, the kind who likes to mask their heart disease a little bit. Give that impending ticker explosion a little foreplay, a hidden mystery to it before it detonates after you’re chugging your fourth cup salad of the day.
When McDonald’s goes dicking around with seafood (discounting the Filet-O-Fish here, which I personally believe is made some sort of genetically modified lungfish), we need legitimate government interference. There is some rogue McDonald’s employee in the kitchen that is always tinkering with this volatile mixture. The other chefs stay clear of him. They’re too scared to say anything, but they also don’t actually believe he will see one of his creations through. Until one day, he steps out, holding a McRoe between a pair of long, industrial tongs. A grin on his face, the grin of a reckless, egotistical, delusional man dead set on seeing his vision come to life. The McCrabcake, nearly too revolting to even type, was thankfully shut down before it did any major damage. Now we just have to hope that a secret government task force is ready to hit that McKitchen with a drone strike to kill Grimace before he dares to dream again.
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