Food for Thought

Back when life was crazier – on the road a lot and not taking time to take care of myself – I used to eat a lot of fast food, especially on the way to gigs. A good quick meal was a cheese burger and a small fries and a cup of really awful coffee. I don’t remember exactly at what point “small” fries disappeared from the burger chain menus but I just never could remember to order anything different and was always surprised to be reminded “we only have medium and large fries.” Why they couldn’t just give me medium fries when I asked for small I don’t know – I mean, it’s the smallest that they have. But no, I’d have to be reprimanded for asking for this non-existent item. I never figured out what was so uncool about small fries but in the burger world they were taboo. Well, after years of eating right I got a hankering for some grease the other day and being out and about decided to drop in on Mickey D – the old golden arches up in Hillsborough. Something odd caught my eye on the drive-through menu. Small Fries. 99 cents. Wow. I fell for it. But it was a trap. “Honey, are you sure you really want the small fries? The medium ones are just a penny more.” I was caught. What American could resist up-sizing for just a penny more. OK. I’ll take the medium ones. I had to stop in the middle of the parking lot just to make sure I really got my cheeseburger. It was buried under the largest pile of fries I had ever seen. My reward for making the right choice. I think I see what is happening here. Enough people complained about not having the option of getting only a small portion of grease and salt. The burger people listened. These are dangerous times for the fast food world. But that prejudice – whatever it is – against small fries is still strong and the marketing people have set out to prove that no one really wants small fries. They know you can’t resist up-sizing to the medium for just a penny more. For now it’s back to tempeh for me.