Can “Billions and Billions” Be Wrong?By Todd • May 28th, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog
I need to get something off my chest. A confession of sorts. It’s not an easy thing for a cheeseburger fanatic to admit. I don’t know how you’ll take it. I’m not sure what you’ll think of me after I tell you. Okay, here it is:
I’ve never had a Big Mac.
It’s the quintessential burger from the quintessential burger place, and I went 38 years, 1 month, and 15 days without one.
That all changed today. I decided that if I’m going to assign grades to everybody else’s big bad cheeseburgers, shouldn’t I be able to compare them to the one that arguably started the whole craze? I mean, the Big Mac has been around longer than I have. (It turned 40 last year.) But whenever I’ve frequented the Golden Arches, I’ve always been a Filet-O-Fish guy. I haven’t had a regular Mickey D’s cheeseburger since I was 7… and I’ve seen enough of them in my daughters’ Happy Meals to know that I wouldn’t cross the street for one if Jessica Alba was handing them out. But never a Big Mac? Not once?!? It’s time. I’ve seen the Morgan Spurlock movie. I’ve even sung the little song. C’mon, you know you’re humming it already.
“Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese…”
So I ordered it at the drive-thru. “A Big Mac, please.” I have to admit, I felt strange saying it. Like after so many years of standing my ground and sticking to my guns, I was finally caving in to peer pressure just because “everybody else is doing it.” (They sell 550 million Big Macs a year, so just about everybody really is.)
I took my purchase home. This kind of watershed moment wasn’t going to be spent in public, seated on a cheap bench and hunched over a plastic tray with a giant clown staring at me. I got out an actual plate and everything. I visually sized up my Mac. Didn’t seem all that overwhelming, especially given the sheer size of so many other ‘burgs out there. And it wasn’t. At just 7.5 ounces, the Big Mac isn’t even the beefiest burger on the McDonald’s menu. (The Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese weighs in at 9.8.)
It looked pretty good, despite that weird middle bun. Maybe I’d been missing out all these years. Was this cheeseburger snob about to receive his comeuppance from the most cliched cheeseburger of all time?
Not exactly. The Big Mac was spectacularly average. This virgin’s first impression was that it was particularly saucy. That “special sauce” was the dominant taste in every bite. And not in a good way. An awful lot of crunch, even with just lettuce and onions. (Not a pickle fan. Left mine off.) And it wasn’t very cheesy. That lone slice at the very bottom just didn’t add much punch. The bottom bun fell apart in a hurry. And I just couldn’t figure out what that middle bun was for. It got kind of smushed around as I bit into it, so that the last few bites were more middle bun than anything else.
Polishing off the last bite, I was overcome with a palpable sense of, “That’s it? THAT’S what all the fuss is about??? THAT’S the hallowed Big Mac??!!??” It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t all that great, either. I know there a lot of Mac-heads out there. Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s just that it’s so much a part of Americana. But myself, I didn’t taste anything to get too excited about. I could have gone another 38 years without a Big Mac and felt like I had lived a pretty full life. But at least now I know.