Monday, March 15, 2010

Royal Cheese

So, of course as an American in France, I am overwhelmed at the quality of food.  It's France after all, the mother country.  Wine everywhere, and more pastry than you could shake a baguette at.  I really hadn't missed much in terms of American food, excluding caffeine, but that's a different case in itself.  Every now and again, I might have something that was kind of like an American product, but not exactly the same, or was supposed to be just like something else, but nope, not really.

One place that I had enjoyed all of my life, and still do despite the tone of this article, is Mc Donald's.  I don't know about anyone else reading this, but it was that one place where you always knew what you were going to get.  Everyone had their favorites, and rarely deviated from that path.  In college, it was my lunch every day, and lord help me when they got debit readers in every location.  I was done, and my gut showed it.

I had been to Mc Donald's my first time in France when my partner met me at the airport.  We had to catch a train, but we were both hungry.  So we took a stop on the metro, and we were searching for someplace to eat.  He had found a Mc Donald's, Saint-Graal, as I sometimes call it.  So after he thought for a minute about what the actual name was for things in French (imagine the confusion on the face of the woman running the register when he asked for a "double cheeseburger" with a French accent) we had a nice meal.  Although the fries were smaller, and the drinks were way smaller.  We had to hurry, so I didn't really notice much.

The other weekend, we went to Mc Donald's with our niece.  We're relatively the same age, so it was all good.  They were ordering together and I was ordering separate.  Before we went in, I had to ask a few times to make sure what to ask for, and how.  For example, when you order a combo, it's called a "menu."  Since it's French so the "u" comes out like your mouth is saying an "e" but your lips are saying a very hard "u."

So I am looking over the prices of stuff.  It's quite ridiculous.  6 euros for a combo meal.  I say I guess, and just go with it.  I ended up getting what looked like a quarter pounder with cheese combo, a 6 piece mc nugget, and a chocolate muffin.  14 euros.  I am not joking.  After the initial laughter wore off, I ran my card, which had to be signed because it was a foreign card.  French people are very ill equipped for this.  It literally causes all kinds of confusion.  So I sign and wait.  And wait.   And wait some more.

They were short on fries, and they really didn't seem to be in a hurry about it.  I am used to the American ones where they handle lots of people fast.  they just kind of stood around and waited for the fries to get done.  Not much of a rush place.  I dunno, Mc Donald's in the US just seem faster.  Maybe it's just me.  So we head home and have a great dinner where I know exactly what to expect. 

The next day I talk with my sister in law about how expensive it was.  She said that yes, it's very expensive to be prohibitive.  That way people will not just get fast food.  There is, literally no joke here, a 20% tax on all food at Mc Donald's.  I was shocked.  I saw an article where they were trying to do it in the US, and I just thought it was hilarious.  I was not as outraged by it as I would have been if I were still living in Ohio.  Pretty crazy.  But yeah, part of me doesn't think it's such a bad idea anymore.

So I checked my bank account after, and I spent over 18 dollars at a Mc Donald's.  I remember when I used to get dinner for my partner and I, we were talking 12 dollars, and we had two full bags.  But such is France.  More to get used to, I guess.

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