McDonald’s is not a restuarant frequently named as a favorite for cultured eaters.
Perhaps that is why I get exasperated looks or sarcastic remarks whenever I say that McDonald’s is my favorite restaurant. But to me, there is a certain flavor of Americanism and value in each fry, one that is certainly seen in many fast food chains, but one that cannot be topped at McDonald’s.
The restaurant was founded by Richard and Maurice McDonald in 1933 with the goal of making quality American meals available in seconds, making it one of the first “fast food” restaurants in America. Though it’s San Bernardino location was possible, it was not until Ray Kroc joined McDonald’s in the 50’s that McDonald’s began to grow into the global franchising corporation we know it to be today.
Today, McDonald’s continues to represent America to the fullest extent. It is the classic American “first job” for bored teenagers and immigrants alike. Each McDonald’s has a special place in each American community because it provides such comfortable and agreeable “first jobs” in a country where such jobs are rapidly becoming less and less available.
It goes without saying that the food at McDonald’s is not healthy. It never made the claim of being healthy (though recently it has been attempting to rebrand). Morgan Spurlock’s stinkpiece documentary “Supersize Me” has Spurlock’s, a clean vegan, eat only McDonald’s for 90 days, only taking the “Supersize” option when he is asked to by attendants. Needless to say, he vomits, gains weight, and cries. I watched the documentary at age 10, and immediately swore off McDonald’s for years. It was only until recently that I realized how fickle and superfluous Spurlock’s documentary was.
Of course Mcdonald’s is unhealthy. Of course a clean vegan’s stomach will not appreciate nothing but McDonald’s for ninety days. If anything, Spurlock’s documentary is an advisory tale to eat McDonald’s in moderation – but I think that most people know that already.
What is beautiful about American capitalism is that after the outrage caused by “Supersize Me”, McDonald’s almost immediately abandoned it’s Supersize size, and moved to rebrand itself, selling salads and making it’s nutrition facts for foods widely available.
That is the amazing inherent Americanism around McDonald’s, it is a money making machine, but one that depends on the satisfaction of its consumers. If that isn’t americanism, I don’t know what it is.