Everyone’s first time is supposed to be memorable.
At least, that’s what Hollywood told me. Note that I didn’t say “special”- we can’t all have Rick James, satin sheets, and a gorgeous body when we get down to business. I came to the shameful realization one lonely evening that, no matter how hard I tried to push it to the back of my mind, the facts were glaringly obvious. I was a 21 year old virgin to one of America’s iconic symbols of happiness and prosperity.
How did it happen? I don’t know. It could have been my staunch parental upbringing. A fear of commitment. However it came to that point, I knew it had to change. So I hiked up my jeans, I put on a special playlist of the Indigo Girls, Rod Stewart, and the original Broadway cast recording of Spring Awakening, ponied up $3.95 for what was promised to be a life-changing experience, and dug right in with a paper towel for a napkin. After living 7,714 days on this earth, I was about to have my first Big Mac.
Let me preface this by telling you that this was a completely blind tasting. I never heard the jingle, never took a bite of one, and never smelled one from afar. The closest I came to eating one of these was watching Morgan Spurlock maneuver one into his mouth in SuperSize Me. I was curious. Perhaps even fry-curious. My first gripe with this was the bulky, extensive myriad of plastic and paper packaging. The Big Mac, for all intents and purposes, isn’t really that big. With the economy-sized bag and cardboard holding facility, I was a little disappointed to lift out a sandwich no bigger than a small portable hard drive with a somewhat emaciated-looking mere two ounces of beef. But as we all know, it’s not about the size of the fries, it’s about the motion of the ‘Mac. Or so they say.
Flavor-wise, the sandwich is perfectly balanced. And not only balanced, but layered with textures and savory sensations. The first bite was as beautiful as I’d imagined it, with an initially sweet, slightly sour crunch of pickles and onions mingling with the seductively creamy Special Sauce. I was surprised that the beef took such a backseat to the veggies but came together so well, letting the more superfluous elements in some sandwiches take first billing with each bite. The buns were cotton soft, but not chewy, and melted into the meat. I had to admit I was pretty impressed.
Structurally, we’re in a whole other ballpark. That was my main beef with this, (please pause to laugh) as by my third bite roughly two minutes in, the sandwich had completely disintegrated in my hands, spewing lettuce shreds and special sauce all over the place. What had once been a regal skyscraper of a sandwich was now a hot, wet mess in my hands. And then, things started to get a little weird. It was like all the integrity of the burger was in its perfect structure and balance. After that one stupendous bite, flaws started to perk up as the sandwich entered Bizarro territory. The flavor of the onions started to linger with a briny, salty aftertaste. The buns got mushy and soggy and tasted greasy and buttery when eaten alone. I lost the flavor of the beef completely.
If the euphoria of that perfect bite had been consistent throughout the sandwich, I’d have no qualms giving it my highest rating. It is, after all, engineered like the McGriddle to max out our pleasure and tantalize us long into the night. But in all things, I value consistency, cleverness, and maximum pleasure (which makes Keepitcoming Love my McGriddle) and in five minutes, this went from amazing to falling apart. It was like making out with a cute guy and realizing that underneath his perfectly coiffed hair and sweater vest, he had a tattooed quote from Twilight on his bicep. Not abhorrent, but not ideal and certainly not what I initially expected.
I soon realized that despite its perfect exterior and legendary reputation, it wasn’t perfect. Did I learn from my mistakes? Yes. Do I regret it? Not for a second. I may not ever order this again, but for one brief moment in time (what is now a stunted timespan due to this consumption) I had the Big Mac, and that is a moment that will forever remain special.