McDonald's image problem

Now here's a dinner I wish I could've attended. According to Associated Press, it was an elegant evening of fine dining in New York City's trés chic Tribeca neighborhood. Celebrity chefs prepared a sumptuous spread of international cuisines for this truly unique ballet for the taste buds. The feast was called "a transforming dining experience."

Now here’s a dinner I wish I could’ve attended. According to Associated Press, it was an elegant evening of fine dining in New York City’s trés chic Tribeca neighborhood. Celebrity chefs prepared a sumptuous spread of international cuisines for this truly unique ballet for the taste buds. The feast was called “a transforming dining experience.”

Actually, it was not so much transforming as it was mind bending. The dinner was hosted by McDonald’s! The fast-food mega-chain of cheap eats was making yet another stab at enhancing its image, this time by trying to convince reporters that its food is actually healthy, fresh, high-quality, and even worthy of gourmet dining. Thus, the scribes were treated to such dressed up dishes as kung pao chicken made with the chain’s Chicken McNuggets; gnocchi made with McDonald’s french fries; and a pumpkin-spiced dessert fashioned from its biscuit mix.

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The closest I’ve come to such culinary pretension was years ago when I reluctantly agreed to judge a Spam cooking contest, choking down bites of Spam Fricassee, Coquille St. Spam, and Spam Spumoni. It was the food equivalent of dressing a pig in an evening gown. Some things are simply what they are – and it’s best that we not pretend to fancy them up.

Nonetheless, McDonald’s richly-paid honchos keep trying to elevate their corporate image from fast-food purveyors of sugar and fat to – as the Tribeca gourmet event tried to claim – an epicurean establishment offering “good food served fast.” Their attempts, though, are all smoke and mirrors, rhetoric and stunts. The CEO proclaims nonsense like this: “We’ve got to make sure the food is relevant.”

Get real! Whether trying to gloss over its exploitation of low-wage workers or its health-challenging Big Macs, the McDonald’s image won’t change until the corporation does.

“Can McDonald’s shed its junk-food image?” Austin American Statesman, August 19, 2014.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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