Let Me Get the McNugget Lo Mein

I get a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s the other day. As I’m eating, I notice something strange. On the wrapper is a purple sticker that simply says “Asian.”

That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

It was so strange. Why would this be here? It’s not exactly Unsolved Mysteries material, but it’s a puzzle I wanted to figure out. Unfortunately, we have no other information at our disposal as to why this sticker may have been placed there. I spent the better part of a day racking my brain as to why this may have happened. Here are some potential explanations:

THEY’RE IMPLYING THAT DOUBLE CHEESEBURGERS ARE ASIAN FOOD: Maybe the guys who worked there mistakenly believe cheeseburgers are inherently Asian cuisine. Maybe they think that thousands of years ago, villagers in the ancient province of Yuzhou concocted a recipe that called for two slices of processed cheese, two razor thin slabs of “meat,” a sugary bun, two soggy pickles, and Tic Tac-sized chopped onions slathered with messy mustard and ketchup. One can hardly blame them; after all that is such an interesting array of classic Chinese ingredients. I’m sure the Chinese threw this one together soon after they came up with the idea for beef and broccoli.

THEY’RE CALLING ME AN ASIAN: Maybe someone back in the kitchen, clearly with vision problems, saw me order the thing and thought I was Asian. At the same time, someone else could have ordered the same thing as me. So in order to differentiate between the two double cheeseburgers, the guy preparing it marked it with a sticker he carries around to signify when something is intended for an Asian recipient. As to why they would have to differentiate between the burgers? Maybe the guy spit in mine due to his hatred of Asians.

THEY MISUNDERSTOOD THE MEANING OF ASIAN: Not many of the workers at this particular McDonald’s seemed to have firm grasp on the English language. Or a green card, for that matter. So maybe they saw this sticker and immediately thought Asian was an English word for an adjective that actually does describe McDonald’s double cheeseburgers. In other words, maybe they thought Asian was the English word for greasy hot garbage on a bun.

THEY MISTOOK IT FOR ONE OF THE MANY OTHER ASIAN ITEMS OFFERED BY MCDONALD’S: You know, like that one Asian food they offer, what is it called again? Oh that’s right…..nothing.

I’m sorry, fried nothing.

Bet your pardon, I meant to say, fried McNothing.

AN ASIAN GUY MADE IT: Another possibility is that the guy who made it was proud of his finished product as well as the fact that he is Asian that he marks his food with a purple sticker declaring pride for his heritage.

Imagine you’re a young chef at McDonald’s. Indian, or Malaysian, perhaps. You’re still getting acclimated to your surroundings in a strange land. You don’t speak the language very well, but you’re cocky. You move through the kitchen with certainty of purpose and panache. You’re self-confidence cannot be rattled. You get to the McDonald’s, and while they all agree you’re good – you make one of the most delicious fish filet’s the manager’s ever tasted – you’re not quite ready to lead the kitchen. So they make you sous chef, and you’re relegated to back-up duty.

While the head chef – an esteemed veteran well past his prime – gets all the glory, you get all the grunt work. While he has praise lavished upon him while making front line items like the Big Mac, fries, and McNuggets, you have to toil in relative obscurity with the second stringers of the menu. It crushes your soul to have someone less talented than you given so much credit. Worst part of it is, you’re forced to keep quiet in order to continue working there. The only ray of sunshine in your day, the only time when you’re allowed to flaunt, is when you wrap a double cheeseburger. Then, and only then, can you mark it with your signature symbol – a purple ASIAN sticker. You can let everyone know that while you may get a mediocre Chicken Select from that old fogey they call a head chef, don’t worry about your double chee…..because an Asian guy made it.

Those are the only possible explanations I could come up with. I planned to investigate further, but I figured out how to play Pac Man on my cell phone.

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