Friday, October 17, 2008

Burger Wars: Where's the Bacon?

You know, I remember it all starting with the Hardee's Monster Burger. I believe the BK Stacker came next, followed by the Wendy's Baconator.  A new era in the Burger Wars began.  Each restaurant raced to put a huge bacon cheeseburger on their menu, striving to offer more bacon, thicker patties of beef, better sauces.  Each tried to give their public something more patently health-ruinous.  Even Jack in the Box has its Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger, and I wouldn't ever call them a major player in the Wars.  My question to you, Reading Public, is this:

Where is the excessive, heart-clogging, hedonistic McDonald's bacon cheeseburger?

Where, indeed?  While McDonald's formerly had a regular, wimpy bacon cheeseburger on their menu, a perusal of today's offerings yields no bacon whatsoever.  The closest one can come is most likely a smattering of vegan "bacon bits" on one of the several salads McDonald's offers.

Frankly, this change is quite frustrating.  McDonald's is striving to be a health-conscious purveyor of fast food.  Is there really a place for such a monstrosity?  And how "health-conscious" can McDonald's be?  It's not as though the double cheeseburger is served with any less grease than before.  However, the venerable Chicken McNuggets have had all dark meat (and, hence, all TASTE) removed to become a solely white-meat extrusion.  Instead of mayonnaise-based sauce, the Crispy Salsa Roja Snack Wrap is slathered with a thin, red tomato sauce that hints at having been stored next to a pepper in a past life.  I doubt those changes make any serious impact on their truly health-horrific offerings.  They certainly don't improve the taste of the food.  So what's the point?  Where is the payback, the whole "comfort" aspect of one of America's most recognized comfort foods?

I could continue, but thinking about today's McDonald's menu makes me sad.  Would it kill your mild "health cred" to offer ONE burger with bacon on it?  Christ, Wendy's offers one for the impressively-low price of 99 cents.  (Or is the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger one of the items whose price was bumped recently?  It may cost as much as THIRTY CENTS MORE now!)  Is there actually a cost to trying to offer "healthy" fast food?  Why is McDonald's falling so far behind in an arena where even the Triple-A teams compete?

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