Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My First McNuggets as an Adult

McNuggets and fries with BBQ sauce... awwww, yeah!

My lifelong relationship with food is probably only more evidence when it comes to my existence as a completely backward person. Everyone knows that kids are picky eaters as a rule and I wasn't really any exception. However, I was pretty much the polar opposite of most kids when it came to the actual items I enjoyed. In other words I hated the types of food that most kids thought were manna from heaven. Bologna and American cheese sandwiches with yellow mustard? Oh, hell no. Macaroni and cheese? Don't make me barf. Chef Boyardee canned pastas? You had to be kidding me. Other favorite options like pizza, hot dogs, and grilled cheeses got maybe a "meh" reaction from me at best.

I liked my food pretty plain and basic the way a lot of kids do, but I preferred things that I guess people consider to be more adult tastes. I absolutely loved carb-tastic foods like baked potatoes, pasta, and bread. I liked a variety of cheeses like Cheddar, real mozzarella, Gouda, Provolone, and Monterey Jack. I was really into seafood of pretty much all kinds, especially trout, salmon, shrimp, and those little fried clams you can sometimes get your hands on. I was also really nuts about a lot of vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. My absolute favorite thing to eat under the sun was a big bowl of black-eyed peas and at times, I liked nothing better than a nice, crunchy carrot to gnaw on for a snack. Hell, that's still one of my favorite snacks!

When I got older, I started branching out when it comes to the foods I ate, just like most people... except I wound up kind of moving in reverse. Trying new things meant actually going backward and revisiting some of those staples that characterized most people's childhoods, but not necessarily mine. I was actually surprised at the way I was able to really enjoy some of it. I didn't fully appreciate how tasty a bowl of mac and cheese or a slice of pepperoni pizza could really be until I was almost 30. Until Seth fed it to me, I'd never so much as tasted a piece of Velveeta cheese. Now I actually love those things... and they have a certain magic about them that feels unique because I fell in love with them for the first time as an adult. It's not a nostalgic thing, but many of those foods do strike a very basic, comfortable cord with me nevertheless.

Fast food is a special type of animal that was almost as mystifying for me as the mac and cheese or Velveeta was for the majority of my life. We were rarely given fast food in my household growing up and it certainly wasn't considered an appropriate choice on par with a fresh, homemade meal. On the rare occasion I was given the option of eating it, I didn't want to. I was used to juicy, home-grilled burgers like the ones my dad made... or lean, roasted chicken breast like we'd get for dinner every so often. McDonald's cheeseburgers and Chicken McNuggets seemed like nasty, bastardized versions of the real foods I was used to, so unlike most kids including my younger brother, I hated them.

I've come to understand their appeal as an adult though. While I still don't consider fast food to be something acceptable for eating on a regular basis, I do kind of get what people like so much about it. Sometimes it just feels good to stuff your face with something crispy, greasy, salty, and not that great for you... especially when you're super hungry. For that reason, I've come to embrace the occasional lunch at Burger King, Taco Bell, or Carl's Jr. as a welcome and relatively inexpensive departure from the norm.

I actually ate at McDonald's for the first time over the weekend. Seth and I have been looking to lose a couple of pounds and get in better shape over all, so we've been making it a point to get off our computers on the weekend and take the occasional walk to the beach or at least around the neighborhood. However, we still allow ourselves a treat once in a while, because what the hell is life for if it isn't punctuated with delicious things to eat. On Saturday, we decided to stop in at McDonald's. I honestly don't remember the last time I ate more than a stray hash brown or apple pie from McDonald's before that, so it was kind of an adventure for me.

I actually decided to get some McNuggets and fries for the first time since I was a child... and I loved it, actually! I don't remember liking McNuggets that much as a kid, but I have no idea why. These things are so crispy and tasty. They definitely satisfy that occasional urge you get to enjoy a cheap, guilty pleasure that you don't have to cook for yourself. Are McNuggets my idea of premium, high quality chicken? Well, of course not... but that doesn't make them any less delicious, really. I can honestly say that I do get the appeal of McDonald's now and that enjoyed every bite of the process. I'm looking forward to my next adventure there for sure.
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