Did McDonald’s have to tell us what they put in their special sauce?
Couldn’t they have just said, “May contain nuts, chlorine and anything else that may set off your allergies” and keep us guessing? Unless someone posted the recipe on Wikileaks, did they have to tell us about the pickle relish? (All is revealed below.)
I still remember the pride I felt as a kid when I memorized that a Big Mac contained two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. I appreciate this is one of the many pieces of junk data cluttering up my mind so I can’t remember useful things like national capital’s types of trees and the names of the current Premiers, but when I was a kid this was vital intel.
I’ve been working as a journalist since I was old enough to type, so I’m a fan of the public’s right to know — but this felt less like news and more like David Copperfield telling us how he cuts a woman in half. There are some secrets man was never meant to know.
A few years ago when I was flirting with vegetarianism I visited the restaurant I used to live in when I was based in Williams Lake, BC — The Dog and Suds — and ordered a Coney Burger with a veggie patty and Coney Sauce. I suspected Coney sauce contained something most vegetarians would scorn — like, you know, meat — but it was all “secret ingredients,” so I didn’t know and the waitress wasn’t telling. She’d just ask, “Are you sure?” then place my order. Just the way I wanted it.
I’ve always been pretty sure Colonel Sanders died to protect the secret of his 11 different herbs and spices, perhaps while Jack Bauer was probing him with electrodes on his Kentucky fried . . . Okay, there’s no body part I can insert to finish this sentence that won’t make it ruder than I was aiming for, so use your own imagination here and say a prayer for the poor, late Colonel.
I haven’t had a Big Mac in years — and even when I was a regular eater at the Arches I was all about the McChicken or the Quarter Pounders — but I can’t help feeling vaguely nostalgic for a special sauce that didn’t break down into mayo, French dressing, sweet picked relish, minced white onions, sugar, salt and white vinegar. Although maybe there’s a new jingle in that?
– Mark Leiren-Young blogs and does all sorts of other things involving secret ingredients at leiren-young.com.