Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
I’d always understood that fast food is called fast food because it arrives very soon after you order it.
There could be, of course, another interpretation.
I’ve been moved to such deeper thoughts by a pulsating experiment that had McDonald’s French Fries as its subject.
No, this experiment wasn’t scientifically rigorous. It wasn’t even scientific.
But when I read through to its conclusions, I found myself nodding sagely at my own lack of fast-food sagacity.
You see, food site The Takeout thought it would send various of its wise employees to eat McDonald’s French Fries.
The purpose was to see how many minutes it took before those iconic fried potatoes would become, in the site’s words, inedible.
It’s one of the great strangenesses about food. The first few bites can be wonderful. Soon, though, the pleasure will either mutate or dissipate.
It isn’t often that a fast food joint will serve you perfect fries. They might have been sitting around for some time.
At which point they’re as lively as you when you’ve been sitting around for some time.
Still, these unscientific researchers specifically waited until a new batch of fries had been made — at three different McDonald’s — and then began to devour them.
What they found was that the first five minutes were bliss.
It was after nine minutes that they noticed the thrill was heading for the midnight train to Georgia.
They blamed the texture more than the temperature, although the two are surely linked.
The magical moment, though, at which McDonald’s French Fries were no longer — in the Takeout’s words — edible was 18 minutes.
Personally, I like to eat quite slowly. Savoring food — and wine — is a true pleasure.
However, fast food isn’t just made to be served quickly. It’s made to be eaten quickly.
It’s part of the marketing of ease and speed that began in American culture and pervaded it easily and quickly.
What a deliciously painful thought that the pleasures of fast food — and McDonald’s fries in particular — last such a short time, thereby moving hordes to eat far too fast.
One suggestion these testers made was to always order small fries and, if you’re still hungry later, order another small fries.
It’s understandable. However, what if the second set of fries is already lukewarm? That means it’ll have a much shorter life of pleasure.
It could be seconds, rather than minutes.
Perfection is so hard.
Then again, some former McDonald’s employees claim that larger cartons of fries are actually smaller because of a sneaky trick they were told to use.