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Double Big Mac: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

I recently read a Washington Post (WAPO) ‘think piece’ about the returning (for a limited time) Double Big Mac (DBM). The author suggested that the regular Big Mac just doesn’t ‘do it’ anymore. And the DBM is ‘too much of a good thing’…

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What he did

WAPO author noted, close to the top of his piece, that the regular Big Mac (*see photo, top of page) he bought recently – to compare side-by-side with the Double (see photo, above) – seemed definitely smaller in his hands than he remembered.

“When I plucked the Big Mac from its cardboard coffin, I was struck by something I hadn’t noticed before: The burger felt tiny in my hands, as if this were some runt cousin to the real Mac daddy,” Carman opined. “I was assured from McDonald’s corporate office that the Big Mac is not the latest victim of shrinkflation. Its size has not changed.”

Carman noted that, unlike the Big Mac of old, there’s virtually no juice in the current version of the constituent patty. He didn’t venture an explanation. Nor, apparently, did he ask McD’s about it.

But being Canadian, and living with a legal mandate in place for all restaurateurs to cook all ground meats to ‘well-done’, I had an inkling. You can’t help but lose most if not all the juice from a burger patty when you cook it to well-done. I suspect (and I’ve read in a number of online posts) that a majority of burger purveyors everywhere in North America and Europe now conform to that well-done rule. Just to avoid legal liability for food poisoning incidents.

His overall assessment? “I polished that Big Mac off in about four bites and wondered where the rest was.” I felt exactly the same way the last time I had one.

The Double BM experience

While he lamented the small size (bun and patty diameter) again, Carman did feel the Double was… satisfying. “When you sink your teeth into a Double Big Mac, you immediately grasp the difference. It chews likes a burger worthy of a name that connotes American largesse — and excess — in a way the original Big Mac rarely, if ever, does.”

As for the flavour and texture… “You feel the meatiness of the Double Big Mac. You taste it, too, which is not an insignificant feat. ”

Alas for McD’s, Carman admits he favours the Quarter Pounder over the Big Mac. Both for its larger patty and better flavour. Not the least reason for which is probably the fact that Quarter Pounders are now made with fresh, not frozen beef.

Does the indulgence justify the cost?

“The real calculation is one that’s all but impossible to figure out: Is the pleasure of a Double Big Mac worth the potential harm? It’s a question with no real answer. One Double Big Mac won’t harden your arteries, just as one won’t raise the planet’s temperature. But what about millions of Double Big Macs sold daily over the next few weeks? What impact will that have?”

Here I join with Carman in his case. And I must point out that the ‘cost’ is not just environmental. A double Big Mac comes in at 780 calories. Add a Large Fry and a Large fountain drink, and the total is just over 1,200 Calories. That’s more than half the daily recommended allowance set by most western governments’ health regulators. Plus… You get 48 g of fat in the DBM, and 100 g of sugar in the beverage!

“But asking the question is important,” Carman insists – and I agree. “So is refraining from the needless indulgence of a burger that trades in excess and more excess…”


~ Maggie J.

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