Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Delicious McCandy

If you and I are going to be friends, there is something you should know about me. I am, hands down, the biggest sucker for new things. This really applies to a number of areas of interest, but I am specifically intrigued by new food.

Many are the moments I am standing in line at the grocery store when I notice a new confection that almost causes me to have a hernia right there in the express lane. Have you noticed over the last year or so that the candybar industry has taken a very real interest in launching variations on their already existing delectables? Words fail me in expressing the joy that has entered my life from the delights of White Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Mint Kit Kats, Cherry Chocolate Kisses and Chocolate Peppermint Patties.

And I am a helpless pawn in the candybar game, because I will fall for whatever they put in front of me that looks new. If I were standing in line at the store and I saw a new Hershey bar called “Chocorubbernougat: milk chocolate, creamy nougat, and burnt rubber tires” my eyes would bug out, I would snatch it up with great fervor, and I would think to myself “Wow! Nougat AND burnt rubber?! HOW has nobody thought of this BEFORE?! Sure, I wouldn’t eat a car tire on its own, but with chocolate and nougat, it must be delicious!” And then I would buy two of them.

Even more shocking is my sudden interest in the McRib, back for a limited time only. McDonald’s McRib sandwich, while not technically new, is a “food” that I have had in my peripheral vision since I was a child, but have never tried. When I was young and impressionable I was convinced it had to be the ultimate food stuff. I mean…ribs! Ribs and French fries! C’mon!

But I grew up in southern California, where In-N-Out and Tommy’s reigned supreme as the reason hamburgers were even invented, so there was never a reason to frequent McDonalds. And now, with my own family, we also patronize our local In-N-Out.

In fact, if there were a national award for The American Family Most Unfamiliar with McDonalds, the Craig family would win in a landslide. In truth, our only experience with McDonalds was on a road trip some years back, when it was the only place available to grab some “food.” Each of my children got sick from this one, single McDonald’s experience. Two years later, and they still remember it well. Just last week my son Connor wasn’t feeling great. When I asked him how he was doing he said, “I feel like I went to McDonalds and accidentally ate a hamburger.” “Like you ate a Big Mac?” I asked. “A WHAT Mac?” he answered.

Katie’s feelings towards McDonalds became crystal clear to me the other night when, after a commercial, I mentioned I was thinking of going there for lunch the next day and trying a McRib. “What?! You might as well go to a strip club!” she said.

I assumed she was being facetious, so went anyway. (To McDonalds, not the strip club. Though I did notice the McLap Dances on the Dollar Menu. Oh, Las Vegas. Why?) I was almost giddy with the anticipation of eating my very special rib sandwich, a meal 25 years in the making. I went to lunch by myself that day, as it felt like something I should do alone. Like going to the bathroom or listening to Wham! I went through the drive-thru and placed my order.

“Medium Fries and a McRib, please.”

“Would you like to try an Eggnog shake today?”

A WHAT-nog? Could this be a new shake, available for a limited time only? Oh, sister, I pray you aren’t toying with me. It’s like she knew about my weakness. “WOULD I!” I answered. A McRib sandwich and an Eggnog shake! This was going to be the best lunch ever!

I found the nearest empty parking lot and pulled over, directly. I removed the McRib goodness from the cardboard container and marveled at how messy it looked. I sunk my teeth into the McStuff and…and…I was pretty much underwhelmed. I mean…it was exactly how you would imagine it to taste. Maybe there was too much pressure for it to really measure up. Maybe I was expecting too much from McDonalds. Or maybe…just MAYBE... if you combined it with burnt rubber tire! Mmm…the McRubberRib. It has to be good!