The other day whilst trudging through a wind-whipped four-degree day in Chicago, I wander past McDonald’s on my way to the grocery store.Â Even in the vacuum of a negative degree wind chill, the stark aroma of McDonald’s penetrates my frozen nostrils, awakening cilia long assumed dead.
It is a curious scent, one that evokes childhood glee.Â Images of happy meals, french fries, THE GOLDEN ARCHES. That’s when I recognized something startling: It doesn’t smell like burgers, really.Â It doesn’t smell like any one thing in particular.Â It is a sense memory, a smell not shared by Wendy’s, Burger King or even White Castle (their stench is beyond anything ever).Â You could walk me through a neighborhood blindfolded and my nose would recognize that smell.
The smell of McDonald’s brings me back.Â I’m six or seven years old, and it’s that fabulous Friday of the month when my parents are going out to eat.Â We have a babysitter, a movie, and a promise of Happy Meals.Â It is the smell of temporary freedom, a reprieve from a household bereft of sugared drinks or fatty foods, a house that believed in the moderation of sodium.Â My mother meant well, but I have spent the better half of my 20′s making up for my lack of salt.Â Just ask the billions of corn chips, gallons of mango pickle, and mustardy, meaty ham sandwiches.Â They know the truth.
My query is obvious and thus: What does McDonald’s smell like?
Here are our choices:
McDonald’s Smells Like Memories – like my previous example, McDonald’s smell is a thing of ephemera, a glorious sense apex, a utopia that can never truly be grasped
McDonald’s Smells Like Grease – unfettered, usually burnt up grease.Â What turns us off when we smell it in the context of, say, a high school cafeteria, delights us in the context of fast food.Â Plus they use more salt.
McDonald’s Smells Like Burgers – is there anyone out there who believes this?Â Leave your comments, let’s really get down to the nitty gritty.Â I need to know you people exist.
McDonald’s Smells Like Awful – Blargh.Â Glurgle Flurg.Â All of these reactions occur when you, fair voter, encounter McDonald’s mighty waftings.Â The horror.Â The horror.
Let’s poll it up, folks!