Things You Admit at Work: I've Never Had a Big Mac

BlogHer Original Post
A McDonald's Big Mac and a small side of fries, containing a combined 1,200 mg of sodium, almost half of the daily recommendation, is seen at a McDonald's restaurant in New York on January 11, 2010. The city's health department is calling on food manufacturers to lower the amount of salt levels used in their food stating the health risks associated with the high intake. UPI/Monika Graff Photo via Newscom

Or a Whopper. Or any burger bigger than a single patty at any fast food restaurant I can think of. There's a story behind it.

After reading (BlogHer community manager) Denise's post about waiting in line for the iPhone, I asked her if the Whopper she'd waited for hours to get overseas had been worth it. And then I admitted I've never had one.

I said it sort of in passing in our editorial meeting, and there was an awkward pause. I started thinking about it. "You should blog that," said (managing editor) Julie, who also admitted she's never seen a firefly, which blows my Midwestern mind and now helps me understand why my cousin from California was so obsessed with fireflies when we were kids.

I didn't think it was all that weird, but now I'm flummoxed. Is it weird? The more I write this, the weirder I think I might be.

So here's the thing: When I was a kid growing up in small-town Iowa, we didn't have them fancy McDonald's right close. In high school, my friends and I used to use our open study hall (you could leave campus for an hour if you had a certain GPA) and drive as fast as we could to the neighboring, larger town (23 miles away) and drive through Taco Bell, then race back scarfing Nachos Bell Grande all the way home. We could make it with about two minutes to spare if we hit all the lights.

We got a Hardee's when I was near graduation, I think, and I still remember the first time I was able to drive through someplace in my own town and get French fries.

It was a magic moment.

But short-lived.

I developed anorexia in my senior year of high school. There were no Big Macs, no Whoppers, no French fries. There were apples. And rice cakes.

I started slowly recovering in college, but in order to control (in my mind) my intake of fat, I went vegan. I stayed vegan for about seven years or so, then eased into vegetarianism (was still there when I started blogging) and only really began eating meat again around the time my daughter was born. I don't remember when it was, exactly. So there was a span of about fifteen years in which burgers were not part of my life. At all.

Now they totally are, but there is some odd, post-recovery part of my brain that is convinced fast food is somehow more fattening than oh, say, cheesecake, or a gooey burger from a sit-down place. I know, right? Makes no sense. I know it's not necessarily worse -- that really all restaurant meals are a crapshoot, fat- and calorie-wise. I love French fries. I eat French fries a lot. And I'll often order the kid's meal from a fast food restaurant and eat it -- just not a big-girl burger. Can't do it. May die without doing it.

Weird, right?

Is there any mainstream American food you've never eaten? What's the story?

Rita Arens authors Surrender Dorothy and is the editor of Sleep is for the Weak. She is BlogHer's assignment and syndication editor.


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