As part of the clown kingdom’s endless pursuit for the Next Big Thing in the fast-food breakfast market, McDonald’s is testing Blueberry McGriddles sandwiches at more than 100 locations in the greater D.C. area. This is our moment to shine, Washington! We get to determine America’s future body mass index.
As a guy who eats for a living, I try not to obsess about calories, lest I turn into a basket case (filled with fries!). But three bites into my Sausage, Egg and Cheese Blueberry McGriddles, I could already feel the bowling ball forming in my belly. In its press materials hyping the product, McDonald’s noted, with the gentility of a Victorian gentleman, that Blueberry McGriddles fulfill “our customers’ desires for a little indulgence at breakfast.”
I suspect that quote, when translated from marketing-speak and played backward on a DJ’s turntable, actually says, “You can either eat one Blueberry McGriddles sandwich for breakfast or a garbage bag full of glazed doughnuts.” As my colleague, Unearthed columnist Tamar Haspel, recently taught us, we need to be mindful of calorie-dense processed foods before they turn America into a overstuffed throw pillow. I couldn’t find any nutritional information on the new McGriddles, but I suspect their density is not measured in calories per gram but caloric tons per gram. (The regular sausage, egg and cheese McGriddles comes in at 550 calories with 15 grams of sugar.)
Those calories, as a Wired magazine piece pointed out a decade ago, may be as crave-worthy as the sugar, the bacon and the pancakes pre-injected with syrup. Calories are steroids for the brain, and we may be hard-wired to know this.
Calorie-density aside, Mickey D’s is also playing on our summer nostalgia. The word “blueberry” has this ability to transport us back in time, to childhood, to lazy Sunday mornings when Mom mixed fresh market berries into her pancake batter, as the kids sat anxiously at the table, the aromas of sweet, jammy fruit and sugar filling up the kitchen.
Don’t go there. Just don’t.
Imagine instead the blueberries at McDonald’s were likely mixed into the batter with the assistance of a giant machine, watched over by some dude wearing a lab coat, a hair net and safety goggles. Then recall this line from McDonald’s Canada when a customer asked how the buns for the McGriddles are made: “The characteristic McGriddle flavour is created by adding flavoured chips to the batter.”
Then remember the sugar crash that will hit you 15 minutes after you consume a Blueberry McGriddles sandwich, available in three preparations (sausage, egg and cheese; bacon, egg and cheese; and sausage). An intense maple-syrup/blueberry sweetness dominates every bite. Its flavors will follow you around, like a stray dog, hours after you’ve eaten the sandwich.
But the sandwiches themselves will be around only until about Aug. 11, I’m told. Whether the Blueberry McGriddles stick around after that, it’s up to you. I think you know where I stand.
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