If I had won the Mega Millions lottery last week, there are many noble, artistic, meaningful things I’d like to do. But one project that always stands out in my mind is that I would love to put together a Taschen/DK-style book on… McDonald’s Around the World. I am not joking.
I was reminded of this because I told myself I’d post about Amsterdam next. Going through my album from my time abroad in The Hague/Den Haag, I came across this picture of the magnificent McKroket– a delicious piece of deep fried potato-beef-mixture (well, a croquet) in a burger bun.
I find McDonald’s very fascinating. Everybody loves to hate on it, especially yuppie-type groups that you’d imagine I’d fall into. A huge corporation shilling unhealthy foods to a populace that often can’t take care of themselves. The opposite of the intimate, organic, unique shops we like to champion. And yet I believe it serves its purpose. McDonald’s really does bring an almost inexplicable, simple happiness to many people, young and old. They’ve done it in way that I believe no other fast food chain has been able to. And it’s not immediately obvious why they’ve been able to do it. Their mascots are all each creepier than the next (clown, duck mutant with braids, hamburglar, big purple blob…). Their food is by no means gourmet. It’s probably the crack they add to their recipes.
In any case, it’s impressive. And McDonald’s is so pervasive around the world, its food so eerily consistent wherever you are (if they want it to be), it really is a symbol of globalization in a way. One of the most interesting aspects of McDonald’s as a global phenomenon is the unique offerings the chain has in each country. Like the McKroket, I find myself missing the cheese pies of Mexico, the taro pies of China, the borscht I swear I had in Hong Kong, the Chicken McCurry I had in London.
But it’s not the taste of the food that makes me want to compile it into a book, but rather what I imagine must be a long, thorough process in McDonald’s R&D department as they develop these products. If there could be a book breaking down each country/region’s unique offering, why it was made, what is shows about the people/culture there, how McDonald’s made a customary food “theirs”, I think it would actually be a unique angle of insight into different places around the world!
A quick search on Google and Amazon indicate no such book has been made. Can’t you see it selling at Urban Outfitters? Maybe I’ll send Ronald a letter of interest :) In the meantime, check out more unique offerings here.
[McKroket (it… has it’s own facebook page…; the Netherlands)