Thursday, August 15, 2013

Would you like hash browns with that McBlandwich?

The McDonald’s Egg White Delight breakfast sandwich is a recent brand extension in the U.S. of the popular Egg McMuffin. All McMuffin ingredients have been altered—an egg without a yolk, a whole grain instead of plain English muffin, processed white Cheddar cheese instead of processed American—except for the round of Canadian bacon, which remains in the sandwich unchanged.

By introducing this “healthier” McMuffin, McDonald’s has also inadvertently suggested that we in the U.S. are a bland people craving bland food. Perhaps their thinking is that the U.S. melting pot has melted together so much that our cultural rainbow has morphed into a mottled grey, resulting in an ineffectual breakfast sandwich, aka the McBlandwich.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

For the Love of Greek Butter Cookies

As a young girl, my favorite place to go out to eat was a Greek place at the foot of the Watchung Mountains. We lived in suburban Scotch Plains, NJ, and my father liked this family-run, homestyle joint that had checkered tablecloths like Italian restaurants, yet the colors were blue & white and there was no red sauce on the menu.

Part of the fun was that dinner felt like a meal of exotic appetizers. The restaurant’s specialty was phyllo dough cigars filled with either spinach (spanakopita), Greek cheese (tiropita) or seasoned ground meat (kreatopita?). My father would ask how many of each kind we'd like, which always resulted in a variety to share. I loved this food and rotated bites of each phyllo cigar. They were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, with flavors always fascinating in their newness to me, and always delicious.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Potato Chip Gyp

The United States of America is often referred to as “the land of opportunity.” This country may indeed be a rich land of opportunity for many reasons, but certainly not when it comes to potato chips. For some reason, the U.S. is the blandest producer of potato chip flavors in the world. England, Canada, India… their chips swell with flavorful pride. Here? All we’ve really got to call our own is BBQ, Sour Cream & Onion, perhaps some Cheddar, and endless riffs on the same. Why is it that our diverse melting pot palate is presumed to be one-dimensional when it comes to potato chips?