Friday, September 13, 2013

And That's All it Took


The other day on the plane a woman sat down next to me and began eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger. I don’t know how many years it has been since I had one of those; at least 25? But at the mere scent of it, I could picture the translucent rice-sized onion pieces scattered across the red-stained bun, feel the texture of the plasticky American cheese slice on the roof of my mouth. Saliva flooded my cheeks to meet the saltiness of the patty and I recalled perfectly the way it first resisted my teeth and then broke apart all of a sudden, yielding to the pressure. I remembered precisely how the bun felt soft and warm against my lips as I bit down, the slight sweetness of the ketchup and the bite of the yellow mustard. The feel of the yellow wrapper folded back and brushing against the tip of my nose was visceral, as if I were eating the cheeseburger myself and not the woman next to me. As if there were no greater reward in life than to tuck into a fast food icon like the hockey-puck-size McDonald’s cheeseburger. As if it wouldn’t send my stomach into spasms and my immune system into red alert, fully guaranteeing my near-permanent residence atop a toilet seat for most of the next 72 hours. I am certain I ate my share of these little beauties as a kid and I know full well how toxic they are to me as an adult. And yet, this remains one of the single most volatile and crystal-clear food memories I have. One that requires only a scant whiff of it as a stranger on an airplane unwraps it to send my mind and body reeling into a vortex of pleasant sensations. 

5 comments:

Chris Gilliland said...

The grey "beef" is all that I remember. I was afraid to eat those as a kid - it only took until drunken nights of the early 20s to break the barrier of grey meat.

Susan heronhughs said...

Yikes. Food porn! I can so relate and wish it had been 25 years ago for me, too. It's good to be reminded that food - and the marketing/promotion of food - is a powerful force in our lives. Even with awareness, i'm going back to salivate over your seductive writing one more delicious time.

fullsoulahead.com said...

Ick.

But I did love them as a kid too.

But again, ick.

Carrie Link said...

I haven't had one in 20 years, but for about a month in my early pregnancy with Woohoo, I HAD, as in HAD, to have one!

Deb Shucka said...

I've never been a fan of McDonald's hamburgers, but you made my mouth water with this description. The fries, on the other hand, are a whole other story, along with a chocolate shake.

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