July 28, 2005

Fowl Follow-Up

After my successful patriotic endeavor into the world of fast-food chicken, my taste buds were left wondering what other delectable birds were served through America’s drive-through gourmets. Having sampled the most respected and more upper-crust offerings of the industry, I decided to try a less expensive offering. This decision led me straight to McDonald’s dollar McChicken.

I have several friends that rave about the McChicken. They have a great love for its combination of price, taste, and power to fill the stomach. Before this past week, I had never ventured to taste this champion of cheap chicken, and I felt that following up on fast-food poultry offered the perfect opportunity.

The culinary contraption known as the McChicken is basically a breaded chicken patty, some lettuce, and some mayonnaise slapped on a bun. While this description sounds as appetizing as the sandwich looks, it actually has quite a bit of enjoyable taste. My taste buds told me that the sandwich had a similar flavor to cafeteria chicken patties.

While I realize that not all individuals like the chicken patty as much as I do, (My liking was explicitly expressed in a column of Rick’s CafĂ© Critique in the Periscope) there is still no argument that it is a classically inoffensive presentation of chicken. I have yet to meet anyone that hates chicken patties. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of people that feel strong enough negative emotion in relation to the sandwich to say that they dislike it. I am certain that this universal inoffensiveness (if it should not be described as nationwide appeal) of chicken patties translates to the McChicken.

The McChicken is not, however, a chicken patty clone. It has a distinct taste of its own. I would hardly say that it tastes more like chicken than a classic chicken patty, but it does have a unique taste of its own. The most effective description would be to say that it has a unique McDonald’s flavor. Those that have eaten under the golden arches will surely understand what this means. It is a combination of salt, grease, chemicals that can actually be appealing if one doesn’t stop to think about why he or she craves it.

Aside from the satisfying chicken patty itself, the McChicken is essentially some mayo, lettuce shreds, and a bun. McDonald’s lettuce is by no means the best in food, but it falls short of being downright “bad”. If anything, the lettuce on the McChicken adds a little crunch, though it hardly touches the flavor department. Again, the bun and mayonnaise do not offend and blend well with the chicken. My sole complaint would be that there is no tomato offered with the sandwich. I am not a fan of tomatoes on my sandwiches at all, but it is a fairly standard offering throughout fast food. A part of me left Ronald’s house feeling that some American tradition had been slaughtered with the McChicken. I suppose sacrifices must be made for the sake of “ballin’ on a budget”.

My final point on the dollar McChicken sandwich is that it does not actually cost a dollar. (At least in my home state of Pennsylvania) The sandwich sits on the dollar menu and a dollar is deposited in McDonald’s coffers with the purchase of the sandwich, but taxes push the sandwich past the convenience of handing the cashier a Washington and being done with payment. I have to pay $1.06, and though this is hardly an enormous point of contention, it does strike me as somewhat annoying that I must pay more than a dollar to buy from the dollar menu. This complaint is, of course, universal to all dollar and 99 cents menus.

When all is said and done, the McChicken sandwich is a budget-minded bird with big taste. Its flavor and quality hardly compare to that of Wendy’s chicken offerings, yet its price puts the expensive fowls of Dave’s burger joint to shame. I give the McChicken a solid three sporks out of five for an enjoyable taste and low price. Aside from its toll on one’s wallet, however, nothing is truly outstanding on this offering, making it a true three spork middle-of-the-pack sandwich. Though birds of a feather must fly together, I would never suggest that the Spicy Chicken Sandwich fly with Rondald McDonald’s budget offering.

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