Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Room To Move As A Fry Cook

McDonald's, or "That Scottish Place" as we used to call it when the kids were little and had learned what "McDonald's" meant, thinks that it is better judge of the meaning of words than the Oxford English Dictionary. Tell you what, when you can cook a better hamburger than I can, then you can start thinking about branching out into lexicography, 'kay?

At stake: the word "McJob". The OED defines it as "An unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector." One will not be surprised that this is the meaning used by Douglas Coupland when he either coined or popularized the word. Mickey Dee's (and there is, let's face it, nothing sadder than people who give themselves a nickname, except possibly a multinational corporation that does) would have you believe this definition is "out of date and inaccurate," much like the idea that they sell "food" which is "tasty".

Here's the thing about words: they mean things to people, and those meanings are largely the result of consensus. Words mean what most people say they mean. Dictionaries just record those meanings to help enforce the meaning upon those who would like the word to mean something else. Because there are far more of us than there are members of the board of McDonald's, the meaning of that word is not going to change until they make a job at McDonald's something other than an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, and wait around until the old definition stops making sense to people. If I might make a suggestion, "marconi" fell out of use as a synonym for "radio" sometime after the Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company went out of business.

For the record, McDonald's, here's what you're up against:

Deadspot's Big and Tasties
Load up the grill with charcoal and put some foil on at least part of the grill. If you're cooking on gas, you might as well be in the kitchen. Play with fire. While the coals are getting ready, go prepare the burgers.

-Tear 2 1/2 lb. ground chuck into large chunks in a big mixing bowl.
-Pour a generous zig zag of good barbeque sauce across the top of the ground chuck.
-Add a couple of shots of Worcestershire sauce.
-Finely dice a couple of thin slices of bermuda onion (about 1/4 cup, more or less) and sprinkle over the meat and sauce.
-Gently mix by hand until ingredients are combined. Don't overmix: you're making burgers, not meatloaf. Form into 8 patties. Pop into the fridge.

Slice the rest of that bermuda onion into generous slices.

Wash up, grab a beer, put on some ska, and go keep an eye on the coals. When the coals have died down, spread them out and grill the burgers. Keep the lid closed as much as possible. They'll cook faster, stay jucier, and absorb more smoky flavor. Wait to add salt and fresh ground pepper until the burgers are nearly done. Meanwhile, grill the bermuda onion slices on the foil until they are tender and caramelized.

Serve with kaiser rolls and an assortment of condiments. I like dijon mustard, a little ketchup, grilled onion, and banana pepper rings. Your milage may vary.

Until you can top that, McDonald's, sit down, shut up, and do your McJob.


Flannery Alden said...

Mmm...barbeque burgers and beer. I'll keep your recipe in mind, deadspot.

kim said...

I love the idea of "keepin' and eye on the coals"---that is the most fun part.

I had to get the flame going on the bbq and I was used to a gas grill. Husband looked at me like I wouldn't be able to do it. Husband left; I called dad---flames kept going out---called the three strapping young lads from next door to come over, they all came out and said, "I don't know how to do this, I use a gas grill". Wimps.
I figured it out, and though husband had a critique of the way I stacked the coals, the thing was lit and smokin' when he got home.

Johnny Yen said...

Having had both McD's and your burgers, you win hands down. Looking forward to firing up the Weber when you visit.

BeckEye said...

They're just trying to capitalize on the popularity of the prefix "Mc," as in Dr. McDreamy. Until McDonald's starts serving Patrick Dempsey on a bun, they're always going to be a crappy little last resort food joint.

deadspot said...

Everything's better with beer, Flan.

You're right, Kim. The part when all of the prep is done and you don't have to start cooking yet is the best part. You have all of the anticipation, but time to enjoy hanging out.

I need to get a new charcoal chimney, my old one finally rusted out. Those things are great and practically fool proof. The coals get ready faster and you can get them lit without lighter fluid.

Sounds good, Johnny. Next time you come down, I'll break out the grill wok and do some grilled asparagus with bermuda onion and maybe some red bell pepper. When I was at my last symposium, all the catered events had these fabulous grilled veggies and I started doing them when I got home... at least the ones the kids would eat.

I agree, Beckeye. If you're on the interstate and your choices are a skeevy, dubious truck stop or a McDonald's, you may want to go with McDonald's. Other than that, I can't really see why you would want to go there... especially since they changed their fries and stopped salting them. Please. Like they're suddenly a healthy choice because they have less salt. They're just bland, not healthy.