August 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Big Mac

Which turns 40 today.


Frankly, as a general rule I've gotten kind of tired of McDonald's food since I go there so much (I have three young sons). And the devilishly manipulative "group set strategy" for the happy meal toys makes this dad most unhappy.

But I have a soft spot in my stomach for the ol' Big Mac.

When I was a kid, my parents would take us to McDonald's about every other friday night and my standard was the hamburger, fries and soda. When I was about eleven, my mom asked if I wanted to try something different. I chose the Big Mac (not that they had all that many choices at that time) and I was hooked. I swear it's the special sauce. It just brings back childhood memories whenever I indulge myself with that saucy sandwich nowadays. And now it turns out we were both "born" the same year. Eerie.

Anyone else a closeted Big Mac fan? What better time to come out than on its 40th birthday?

Yips! from Robbo: When I was a kid in San Antonio in about 1973, one of the local radio stations (55-KTSA, if you're interested - this was in the heyday of AM radio music) had a Big Mac promo. You were supposed to wear a big red button with the Big Mac ingredients on it. If one of the station people spotted and stopped you, you were supposed to recite the whole list in 10 seconds, or something like that. If you did, you won some prize or other.

Not that I ever ate Big Macs because I didn't like the sauce, but I and just about every elementary kid I knew spent a long time practicing, "Twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesonionsonasesameseedbun!"

Yips! back from Gary:
I found a "buy one, get one free" coupon for the Big Mac. I went at lunch and ate them both. I couldn't help myself. Now, of course, I regret it. I used to have a friend who always said "Eating McDonald's is like masturbating. It's enjoyable at the time but you end up feeling guilty afterwards." True story.

Incidentally, I was inspired to do a little research on the "special sauce". Turns out it's not Thousand Island Dressing. Check out the ingredients:

Soybean oil, pickles, distilled vinegar, water, egg yolks, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, onion powder, ketchup, mayonnaise, corn syrup, spice and spice extractives, salt, xanthan gum, mustard flour, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate as preservatives, mustard bran, garlic powder, hydrolyzed (corn gluten, wheat, and soy) proteins, caramel color, extractives of paprika, turmeric, calcium disodium EDTA to protect flavor.
I'm not feeling very well right now.

Posted by Gary at August 24, 2007 11:26 AM | TrackBack

I told Beau just last week that I don't think that I've ever eaten a Big Mac. However, I do believe that the special sauce is 1000 Island Dressing. Anyone else think that?

Posted by: jen at August 24, 2007 10:53 AM

Yep, I remember when they came out and they were goooooood. Way better than now. Back then, "foil" wrapped and they had these little paper rings around them to keep them together, etc. One of the things is that they were "tall". I have one of the "Big Mac" Attack canvas bags tucked away, still! And won my t-shirt in recitation of the "Twoallbeef patties..." at the McDonald's counter in Satellite Beach, FL in the early '70's. I remember my mom buying both of us one as a treat while we were out. We didn't go out much as my dad was an elementary teacher on a small salary, so the event was extra special.

What hasn't been mentioned is that the reason many had a "Big Mac Attack" was that the sauce did have an ingredient in it that was found to be addictive - thus the sauce was changed and the taste. Never knew what that ingredient was.

With all the junk on produce, we get ours without the lettuce. May get some today in celebration!!! Where's them keys.....

Posted by: JB in Florida at August 24, 2007 11:01 AM


I've always thought it was tartar sauce with a touch of catsup/ketchup. But 1000 Island is close, too.

Posted by: JB in Florida at August 24, 2007 11:03 AM

Must have been the opium in the secret sauce. I've actually never had one -- more of a quarter pounder (sans cheese, please) man myself.

Course I haven't been to a McD's in years -- the grease they use does a number on my stomach these days.

Posted by: rbj at August 24, 2007 12:27 PM

1000 island has ketchup in it, or at least a tomato component.

tarter sauce is often the same thing but no ketchup or tomato component

the special sauce on a big mac is industrial grade tarter sauce on "meat" instead of fish.

Posted by: quasimodo at August 24, 2007 02:11 PM

Looking at that list of ingredients, I stick by my thinking that it's 1000 Island-ish. It's got catsup, pickles, and mayo, which are in my 100 Island dressing.

Posted by: jen at August 24, 2007 03:53 PM

We "celebrated" by having Big Macs tonigt, all of us commenting they definitely weren't what they used to be. When I went through drive through I conversed with the kid at the window. Told him about the foil wrappers and "cuffs". He said he hadn't ever seen it...I told him that was because they used them and quit BEFORE he was even born!! It was a hoot.

Thousand Island is sweeter to me than this sauce was, but close enough.

What the hell is a spice extractive anyway?!!! "Spice" can include MSG, if I remember correctly.

Anyway, we enjoyed the birthday party - especially the trip down memory lane. THANKS!

Posted by: JB in Floirda at August 24, 2007 07:40 PM

For me, too, eating McDonald's is like masturbating. My fingers get all sticky and there's generally a clown around.

Posted by: dorkafork at August 25, 2007 07:48 PM