The Coastal Post - January, 1998

Food Review: Christmas And The Big Mac

By Don Deane

Christmas 1997 and the Big Mac. Whatever happened to Christmas and the Big Mac?

Christmas is the premiere baubles, bangles and beads commercial holiday of the world. Billions and billions of dollars are spent on purchases, advertising, marketing, eating, drinking, and dining out in a boundless stress ritual. A "celebration of Jesus Christ's birth" that is driven as hard as corporate America can drive. A partnership between the Savior and Big Business with Christ being squeezed out of the merger by Santa Clause, Disney, TV and making a buck. The commercial corpus remains. Growing, throbbing and swelling into every crack and crevice of society.

The faces of the shoppers at Northgate Mall on Monday, December 22. People under thirty-five looking alright. No visible signs of acute stress. But the older ones. The ones over 35. There was enormous strain showing on their worn, washed-out faces as they bustled from decorated shop to shop, loaded with bulging packages to fill dreams, wishes, expectations and obligations.

And right in the middle of it all with the ridiculous pastel Christmas streamers hanging high above the food mall, McDonald's Golden Arches beckoned. There were other choices. Fast foods from around the world. But 12-year old Lovely and 13-year old Iamuel chose McDonald's. Big Macs were ordered with fires and sodas.

They came in little brown cardboard boxes. Bound tightly inside yellow paper wrappers were the little Big Macs. Little boxes, little Big Macs. And in the middle of the little bun, under the crushed vegetable matter which was lettuce, tomato and pickle in past lives, the little burger. This was the Big Mac.

This WAS NOT the Big Mac of yesteryear. This WAS NOT the Big Mac of 1968 when it was first introduced to America by the then-burgeoning, ground-breaking fast-food chain. This was a pathetic little piece of flat, lifeless, compressed, dry, sausage-paddy-sized meat at the end of its food chain. It was luke warm. This was a lie.

When did this happen? Was there any moment in time before December 22 when the full impact of this insidious shaving, downsizing, reducing and shrinking of the Big Mac broke through to conscious recognition of this tiny burger and huge joke which has probably become the largest selling single food entree in the world?

Why do people buy it, eat them and come back for more? Have you checked out your Big Mac today? If you call something big often enough, is it still big after it shrinks to small? How was your Christmas? Happy New Year, McDonald's. Bring back the BIG Mac.


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