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Number of McDonald's visits in the last 5 years

From the replies I've read on the 'MyChow' pages, obviously I alone am keeping McDonald's in business.

Doing a small sampling since the new site software, out of maybe 100 'MyChow' pages I've looked at THREE admitted to visiting McDonald's more than 5 times. The majority say once or zero.

I don't buy it ... not McDonald's ... the answers.

I listed McDonald's as one of my top five restaurants because, quite frankly, I eat there more than anywhere else, averaging at least one visit a month. It's gotta be a favorite then, right?

While none of the food is amazing ... well maybe the fillet o fish, fry and orange drink combo ... it is decent and consistant. I like the ice cream cone though it is the one item that is WILDLY different from restaurant to restaurant.

McDonald's for me was consistant and fast. I will say that in the last year due to Chowhound's influence, I eat there less often. I get less lazy because I wonder what interesting restaurant is nearby. I'd rather have the adventure.

However, it is one of the places I stop off-hours. I know that at 2 in the morning or before 6 am it might be the only reliable food available.

So what gives? Is this like being to ashamed to admit you read trashy novels or watch trashy tv?

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  1. I left that question blank (see update). I responded to only the questions that were fun for me. So, count me among the ashamed non-admitters in your tally.

    However, because I posted in a "healthy chains" thread on this Board recently wherein I recommended McDonald's fruit & walnut salad, I think I'm a little off the hook.

    The salad is wedged red & green apples, a dollop of low fat yogurt, and a packet of candied walnuts. And I know this because, yes, I've eaten at McDonald's in the past 5 years. More than once. I've also indulged in their egg McMuffin-- sans cheese- when late for work and in need of something heavier on the protein. McDonald's is on my way to work.

    Yes, I'm reluctant to admit this because I'd prefer to claim a palate so refined and a chow-heart so pure that dining on anything other that locally-grown, organic honeycrisp apples, hormone free yogurt (or Fage, better yet), and imported Spanish candied walnuts would send me spiraling into some horrible princess-and-the-pea meltdown.

    Then, I remember my handle and lighten up. :)

    As far as eating from the rest of the menu at McDonald's, I probably do choose it over other chains, because, like you, I find it more consistent. Also, I've used McDonald's bathrooms all over the world, and always at least order a beverage to be polite. I've ordered a happy meal once or twice because I wanted the toy. And a Shamrock Shake for nostalgia reasons (although, I can never finish them and usually remember I don't really like them).

    In spite of all of that, I don't consider it a favorite. Aside from the circumstances described above, it's a choice I make when I'm in the middle of nowhere and need something to eat to keep my blood sugar in check. Usually, I opt for the plain hamburger. With a side of fries if I want a guilty pleasure, though, frankly, the guilt almost always overwhelms the pleasure, so I seldom bother anymore. I've tried their salads and have never been thrilled. I ordered an Asian chicken salad recently (which came with a free yoga DVD), which is an improvement over their other salads, but, still, I usually order a burger because that's what they do best, so to speak.


    1. I answered 25 or so. A hamburger All-American meal is comfort food for me.

      1. I left it blank too. I rarely eat at fast food places any longer mainly out of concern for my cholesterol counts (hello Lipitor, good bye fast food!).

        However, I do admit that when I'm about to get a migraine I specifically crave McDonalds for whatever reason - the high salt content, the high fat content, the take-me-back-to-my-childhood comfort zone of it, whatever.

        There is nothing like a Big Mac and fries at that time to make me feel just a wee bit better. Doesn't get rid of the headache - but does lift my mood somewhat.

        And I do enjoy the vanilla/caramel/nut sundaes for a buck :-)

        I can live without any other burger chains. None of them do it for me at all.

        And as far as other fast food chains, if they had written "how many Popeye's have you visited" then I'd have to be honest and have answered "far too many for my own good". If it weren't for that darn cholesterol, I'd probably treat myself to it a lot more than the once monthly treat I allow myself.

        1. I answered that question- and have not been in five years. Just don't like it!! I do like Burger Kings- love their whopper Jr with cheese. But- due to health issues, I very rarely visit BK. I think it has been more than a year since my last visit.
          I love food, love to eat out, and am trying to keep my sugar/ cholesterol levels in line. I have also lost a good bit of weight, and want to keep it off. I usually save my calories for a nice night out at a restaurant with a bottle of wine and LOTS of bread!!
          Wish I could go to BK all of the time.

          1. I used to eat there more often than I do now. I don't know if it's just getting older or if I just ate there too much once upon a time, but I really can't stomach it anymore. I used to adore the Filet O' Fish, but now I get nauseous just thinking about it! And the fries the last couple of times I've had them have been really nasty... they just aren't the same to me! (Consistent is not the word for the McDonald's around here!) My 5 was probably a very conservative number... I can't remember back 5 years, so I was mostly going with the last couple of years, I think! I still like the occasional breakfast though, as I mentioned in my profile. Actually, come to think of it, I have trouble with most fast food lately for whatever reason. The only thing I've been able to handle lately is Taco Bell, and I just got out of a stage where I couldn't deal with Taco Bell, so maybe McDonald's will come back full circle!

            1. I have literally only eaten there once in the past five years.

              My understanding of the term "chowhound" is someone who goes out of their way to find great things to eat - not someone who eats anything and everything available.

              The food at McDonalds sucks.

              Not only does it suck taste-wise, but it makes me feel physically sick after eating it.

              Of all the places I can get burgers in San Diego (including the amazing Hodad's, Linkery, EZ Take Out, In-n-Out, and Tioli's) why on earth would I eat the crap at McDs?

              7 Replies
              1. re: Josh

                And In-n-Out is any better? We were sorely disappointed when we tried it - tiny burgers totally hidden on too large buns with no flavor to speak of. JMHO of course.

                1. re: sivyaleah

                  I think In-n-Out is better than McD's, yes. I don't love In-n-Out, and I don't go there very often at all, but if I was in a position where I was really hungry and just wanted something quick, I'd choose them over McDs in a heartbeat.

                  I'm certainly not saying In-n-Out is the greatest hamburger on earth - far from it. That honor goes to Hodad's in Ocean Beach. Phil's BBQ, another San Diego place, also makes a great one with house-ground chuck, so you can get it medium rare.

                  1. re: Josh

                    Hodad's, yes ! It's been a long time since I'd been, so it's great to hear they're still in business.

                    1. re: Josh

                      Gilroy has the best of both worlds: the In-n-Out is across from the McDonald's. You can get your double double (I agree the burger is small but the double solves that ratio problem) at In-n-Out then rush across the street to get your fries.

                    2. re: sivyaleah

                      In-n-Out uses not frozen meat, real potatoes for their fries and have better health insurance. In the book "Fast Food Nation" In-n-Out is nearly the only fast food chain which got reasonable/good comments about their food and how they treat their employees.
                      And I really think that McD is the lowest level of food you can get and so I haven't eaten their for the last 10 years.

                    3. re: Josh

                      You know, we all eat food for many reasons other than the way it tastes. In my town, there are several places where I can buy a truly excellent hamburger -- freshly ground angus beef, high-quality bun, cooked to-order. etc. However, sometimes this is not what I want. I want a flash on a childhood memory, or a stop on a cross-country roadtrip. And some of the time, those experiences were at fast food joints. A sublime experience, just on a different level than taste. It's still an authentic Chow moment -- perfect for the time and place.

                      1. re: Josh

                        yeah, no kidding, used to live in north county S.D. myself. I'd prefer Roberto's on I-5 (Solana Beach or Cardiff-by-the-sea??) I personally have not eaten at McCrap's since I worked there in 9th grade work experience program in 1973.AND I LIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                      2. You are absolutely right, even Carls Jr. beats McDonalds by a mile.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: malibumike

                          I prefer Carls Jr. and get a $6 burger every month or so. I swear I taste a bit of sausage in those patties.

                          I miss Carls Jr's roast beef sandwiches with that indefinable white cheese and the ortega chili!

                        2. You didn't read my profile (insignificant as I am). I have no problems admiting that I dine @ non-Chowish locations--especially on long drives where options are minimal.

                          However,I have my preferences amongst the mega-chains. McDonald's for b'fast; Carl's for lunch. I *really* don't go to the others since I know what I'll be getting @ McD's & Carl's will be fairly consistent and I don't care to be "daring" during long drives (where emergency pit stops might be hard to find).

                          Also, folks in other locations don't always have the long drives/commutes that we in California do. From Southern California, we think (almost) nothing of a 3-4 hour road trip to Vegas; or the couple hours to/from San Diego, to/from LA and to/from Santa Barbara and points northward.... That's just my perception though.

                          1. I try to avoid most fast food joints, I do like In 'n Out though. Did have a bean and cheese burrito at a Taco Bell a few weeks ago, but that was just in support of someone else in our group who wanted to go. Haven't been to a McDonald's in probably 5 years or more.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mikester

                              I think Taco Bell might have been a better question than MickeyD's.
                              I mean, how can you screw up a bean burrito?

                            2. I have no problem admitting that I have been to McD's probably 100 times in the last five years. I have a bit of a Egg McMuffin problem. I love them. The key is you have to bring it home and put it in the toaster oven to actually toast the english muffin. Yum!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mattesq

                                What you said... bring home the Egg McMuffin and toast the muffin... that's real chowhound behavior. You're doing the extra effort to find deliciousness.

                              2. I do a lot of all-day driving where McDonalds is what is available when I stop for gas. I generally order double hamburgers, no cheese - since it's is a little different they have to make it up when I order it so it hasn't been sitting for awhile, it tastes OK most of the time and sometimes, when it has been a long time since breakfast or the drive has gone bad it tastes wonderful. The protein keeps me going, there is a good ratio of meat to bun, and it is pretty consistent, fast, and cheap. It's not dining, but then I don't always dine. Sometimes I just need to eat.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sheiladeedee

                                  Good tip about ordering double hamburgers.

                                2. The only time I ever go there is for a shake and that's not very often. Or maybe if my wife needs to use the restroom.

                                  It's the worst burger chain around. Consistant, yes. Consistanly bad.

                                  Give me Burger King, Carl's Jr, Tommy's, Jack-in-the-box, Farmer Boy's, Fatburger, or even In-N-Out anytime.

                                  I never got the appeal of McDonald's. I didn't even like them whe I was 7 years old!

                                  1. I put "too many to count" because I'm a fairly recent grad school graduate and sometimes a 99-cent double cheeseburger hits the spot when you're in a rush.

                                    1. If you like it, you like it. When my kids were young (the oldest is now 28), we ate at McD a lot. Once upon a time the fries were as good as frites I had in Paris. But that was that nasty beef tallow they're not allowed to use anymore.

                                      1. RWO, I make it a "point of Chowhound honor" to avoid franchise food entirely if possible. I believe places like Olive Garden, Claimjumper, etc. poisen the public's mind and ruin the chances for the success of small independent restaurants. Why? Because 90% of the American public wants to go to a "known quantity" rather than risk some little diner, Greek or Thai place. (Which is why you can travel cross country and eat breakfast each day at Dennys, lunch at McDonalds and dinner at the Olive Garden and have identical food each location.) McDonald's fills a need for young families and students. They don't need my business. But, as a Chowhound, that hole-in-the-wall diner that makes burgers from scratch, toasts the bun properly and serves it with a big slice of raw onion and pride does. Thus, my visits truly have been zero.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Leper

                                          Well, sometimes it's not a matter of chowish honor. I drive that 600 mile stretch twice every three weeks for family reasons. I could, I suppose, research some good eats off the beaten path, or pack my own. But I just can't always, and I am too old to beat myself up for chowish transgressions. I try whenever possible to make sure that nothing enters my mouth that is not both nutritious and delicious, but sometimes I have to look at what I eat is just fuel, and make it as innocuous as possible.

                                          1. re: Leper

                                            Great points Leper.

                                            I cringe when people suggest going to chain places, with the small exception of local chains.

                                            I loved when Claim Jumper was first around - all anyone could talk about was how much food you got. Whether or not it was any good was completely irrelevant, it seemed.

                                            I've been forced to eat at Chili's, Ruby's, Olive Garden, Johnny Carino's, Cheesecake Factory, Marie Callenders, California Pizza Kitchen, and Coco's. I've never really had inedible food at any of these places, but it's just so soul crushing.

                                            I find it unfathomable that people would voluntarily opt for one of these places over a mom-n-pop hole-in-the-wall. Some of my best culinary finds have been from spotting a place and just checking it out.

                                            One of my favorite local purveyors of real food maintains a blog. Here's a great post on this subject:

                                            1. re: Josh

                                              "I find it unfathomable that people would voluntarily opt for one of these places over a mom-n-pop hole-in-the-wall."

                                              You must have a really nice lifestyle where you are never so pressed for time that you *can't* search for a "mom-n-pop hole-in-the-wall" and sit down to eat. I put "more than five, less than 50." Usually breakfast.

                                              Here's an example of the scenario: Once or twice a month I spend the whole day volunteering at a state park. It's a 75-minute (minimum, before allowing for traffic) drive from my house, and I have to be there at 9 am (sharp). Once I get there, the nearest food is several miles away. I'm not a breakfast person, and I have neither the time nor the desire to eat breakfast before I leave the house -- I'm lucky if I stumble out the door on time as it is. So sometimes (after I'm past the worst of the traffic and know how much time I have or don't have), I stop at McDonald's and get a sausage biscuit (or two) at the drive thru. I've tried several other non-chain places in that area, but none of them are reliably fast enough to keep me on schedule, and frankly, they aren't any better. Just because something is a "mom-n-pop hole-in-the-wall" doesn't mean the food is any good. In fact, it can be pretty bad.

                                              Can you "fathom" that?

                                            2. re: Leper

                                              "...HEAVEN ON EARTH WITH AN ONION SLICE..." sounds like good lyrics, mayhaps should write a tune to go with...???

                                            3. rworange, don't be sad or confused....
                                              I actually woke up the other day craving the orange drink from McD's!

                                              I think that a much better question would have to be, what is your fast food comfort food?

                                              I know people that will eat at Taco Bell every week, but haven't been to a McDonalds in years.

                                              I personally visit Popeye's on average twice a month. But i haven't eaten at KFC in over a decade.

                                              McDonalds is travel/reward food for me. I reward myself in airports, on long road trips, etc....
                                              As a child it was a travel/reward restaurant as well, we only got to eat there if we got really good grades, or we did some amazing feat, or we were hauling ass all night in car on our way to visit grandparents somewhere... so i guess that has carried over in to my adulthood.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: jupiter

                                                Oh yes, I'm a once-a-monther at Popeye's! Used to be more, but after many lectures from acquaintances and loved ones it's down to just once a month! Mmmm... spicy fried chicken! (I still get nagged for eating the skin!)

                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                  this is totally off topic, but one of my favorite secret shame treats is to take the skin and fold it over to make a little taco shell shape and then stuff coleslaw inside and eat it all together.
                                                  sweet and salty

                                                  i know i have posted this phenomenon before, but it is still my favorite, so i have to talk about it every time i meet someone who loves popeye's also.

                                                  1. re: jupiter

                                                    Mmm... spicy skin taco... oh what joy to eat Popeye's with you sometime! :-)

                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                      When are the 2 of you going? Please oh please invite me!

                                                    2. re: jupiter

                                                      Hmmmm. Haven't done that in awhile...need to do my Popeye's run.

                                                      1. re: jupiter

                                                        Gotta go with the dirty rice AND slaw... now you're talkin!

                                                  2. I used to go there once-in-a-while for an Egg McMuffin, which -- at about 250 calories -- I thought was a fairly healthy and tasty breakfast. Unfortunately, McDonalds now steams the whole sandwich and doesn't toast the English muffin. This produces a rather nasty product, so I've sworn off.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      I have read this in several different post about Mcd steamming the McMuffin....
                                                      And it's just not so.... I am an Equipment tech and work on McDonald's all day long!
                                                      They have Muffin/Bagel toaster, A bun toaster for burgers, and a steamer for the fish.
                                                      Now perhaps the muffin toaster was not working right or they just didn't have the toast setting on the right speed, but they don't steam them.

                                                      You could always order it toasted more..... There is a lady that comes in one of the stores that I take care of that wants her biscuit cooked for 4 mins longer than normal.
                                                      They named the biscuit after her!

                                                    2. I started browsing through these threads and got a little overwhelmed, but I wanted to put in my 2cents anyway. I was one of the none of your business answer people. I am not proud of my visits there, just hungry. I love the plain sausage mcgriddles, and the hamburger happy meals. When I was pregnant and puking my guts out, that was one of the few things I was able to both desire and keep down, that had some calories. And to think one of my friends shamed me about it at the time. But I do feel a little shame about it. There it is. Now with a baby and 80hr work weeks, I don't have much time, so drive through is a quick fix.
                                                      I will say that I think the happy meals are truly the normal adult size meal, and it speaks to our culture that they are considered only big enough for a child.

                                                      1. I don't even want to get into the quality issues here - but the question, from at least this chowhound's perspective, is why discuss it here? (This is not a question for RWO, but really for the entire community - and to the powers that be, for even bothering to put that question in the my CHOW section.)

                                                        If our desire is to share new, unique and wonderful experiences with each other, just what exactly does it do for ourselves to announce that we eat at the most ubiquitous chain there is? I guess there's some level of assuaging guilt for eating at such a place - but really, who cares? Some eat there, some don't - but it's not a very meaningful experience for anybody, and we don't need to be wasting time and space discussing its merits, or lack thereof.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                          Don't have a clue why Chowhound asked the question.

                                                          I think the answer or lack of answer gives a little insight into the poster though ... but I'm not quite sure what that is yet.

                                                          Personally, for me at this point, for the posters who fessed up and admitted quite few visits, my take is they would be brutally honest about any food they discussed on the board.

                                                          They aren't going to say they like bacon on a trapeze with trained live shrimp swinging from it unless that was one tasty dish ... they aren't going to say they like something just to impress other people.

                                                          Of course if their top five restaurants are Olive Garden, Domino's, Starbucks, Claim Jumper and Sizzler ... well, then it is a person desparately in need of Chowhound and I'd hope they would stick around ... I might not take their food comments seriously ... there such a thing as too much honesty.

                                                          The people who didn't answer at all have a certain credibilty too. They just don't want to talk about it for reasons I might or might not be able to imagine ... think it's silly, none of our business, who cares ... whatever. They are pleading the 5th, so to speak. Might eat there, might not.

                                                          It's the 5 or less visits I'm not sure about yet. I was surprised by the big number. There are some people I know well from their posts and, yes, I do believe they eat that infrequently at McDonalds. Anyone who is unknown to me, I might have to follow their posts for a while. I just don't know.

                                                          FWIW, I believe you only ate there at a maximum of five times ... and, being a New England girl originally, I totally agree with you about those left coast oysters.

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            See my profile.

                                                            I think McDonalds is merely a popular bash for people who want a quick superiority hit. Like Starbucks and Walmart.

                                                            Perhaps, though, the answer to your question is that a large number of Chowhounds live in Manhattan or other very, very 'hound friendly places. I daresay I wouldn't eat as many Powerbars - my version of fast food- for lunch if I lived in Manhattan. I can assure you there are MANY MANY places one could get a burger inferior to McDonalds where I live, just as there are several locally owned coffee shops where they can't work the espresso machine...welcome, Starbucks (which only arrived here 2 years ago...imagine that!)

                                                            BTW, a plain (no cheese) hamburger at McDonalds is a reasonable protein source, not terribly high fat. Add a low-far frozen yogurt parfait and you have a decent, if not exciting, meal. I never go there because I want to...but if you need food and don't have an extra hour to drive out of your way to get something delicious...why not? I suppose I eat there 4-5 times a year. (don't ask me about my Powerbar consumption)

                                                            1. re: danna

                                                              If I like Starbucks and hate McDonald's is that OK with you?

                                                              A burger inferior to McDonalds, while logically possible, seems pretty unlikely to me.

                                                              Let's break down all the ways that fast-food burgers suck:
                                                              * meat ground in giant batches, requiring cooking to death
                                                              * often cooked on a griddle instead of over coals
                                                              * served on low-quality, bleached flour, preservative-laden buns

                                                              I don't think anyone is claiming superiority to people who like McDonalds. Like lots of 'Hounds, I have plenty of guilty food pleasures. Fortunately for me, I live in a city with tons of great taco shops, which provide a quick, low-cost food fix that's miles beyond McDonalds.

                                                          2. Mine says "plead the fifth". Sorry to screw up your stats...

                                                            1. Not sure if you read my profile, but I guesstimated 10 visits in the last 5 years. If you had polled me during the previous 5-year period of my life, it was definitely higher.

                                                              Three years of the last 5 years of my life were in LA and the past two years have been in Santa Cruz. LA is fast food capital of the world, so I had plenty of fast food, but not so much McD's. I worked at USC which has a Carl's Jr. right in the heart of campus and ate my share of Southwestern burgers and criss-cut fries. There's Fat Burger, In-N-Out, Tommy's, etc. to compete. Go to the LA Board and you will see...

                                                              And Santa Cruz is pretty anti-chain so the zoning laws seem to really limit the fast food chains like McD's. You don't see one on every other street corner and I haven't seen one McD's here w/ a drive thru window!! Isn't that weird?! A McD's in California w/ no drive thru? Bizarro world...

                                                              Recently, we were really hungry late one night and McD's was an easy solution (make that 11 visits then). I had the double cheeseburger from the Dollar Menu and we shared some fries. My tastebuds felt scarred from the strong chemical flavors in the burger, which hadn't really bothered me w/ my preferred quarter pounder w/ cheese. Maybe all this organic food is making me wimpy... ;-)

                                                              I wonder if a better profile question might be:

                                                              Favorite Chain? or Favorite Fast Food Joint?

                                                              I think all hounds have "trashy" favorites but not necessarily involving McD's.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                Definitely, if you would have polled the previous 5 years, it would have been an ungodly amount for me! You can't get much cheaper than a Cheeseburger All-American Meal at any fast food joint! (I was shocked to discover that not every location had the CAAM!!)

                                                                1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                  Santa Cruz has to have the slowest fast food in the world!

                                                                2. One of my favorite childhood memories of lunch in NJ was a Whopper with Cheese from BK. The closest MDs was 15 miles away (yup believe it or not but we're talking the 60's). White Castle was the best around and still is.

                                                                  To the point of your thread tho. The heck with nose in the air chowdom, the Big Mac is one of the great creations in food. But fat and salt content make me both cringe and smile simultaneously. As i sit in the Philly Train station twice a month I sneak a big mac down my throat and remember why they have sold billions. sometimes i splurge with a small fries (you wouldn't believe the look i normally get by refusing to super size it). then i sit on 2 hour train ride and feel like i could drink an ocean and pass out from the nitrites. its worth it.

                                                                  I had a fish sandwich for the first time in thirty years two weeks ago and couldn't eat it. the fish must have been fresh cause it tasted like the ocean, must have been 1000 Mg of sodium, blah!

                                                                  give me a wendy's (also pretty salty) or a Whopper w cheese over MDs (white castles are far away). Oh yeah, pass the Lipotor please.

                                                                  1. I guess I need to work on a profile... Anyways, I can honestly say that I haven't eaten at MCD more than 2 or 3 times in the past 5 years. I go out o my way (and hungry) to avoid the place. I've probably had one egg mcmuffin (before they got ruined, apparently) and one ice cream from MCD in the last 5 years. Like an earlier poster suggested, the nicest thing I can say about MCD is that it's consistently bad.

                                                                    For national chain burgers I prefer Wendy's. Locally Fuddruckers is king. When I travel to Chicago (junk food city, as far as I'm concerned) I'll take in pizza, a super dawg and even some White Castle sliders... To me that's getting a "taste" of the city.

                                                                    1. I just realized something while I was thinking about this thread in the shower this morning. (Another thing for "You know you're a Chowhound when..." You know you're a Chowhound when you think about Chowhound in the shower!) I am guilty of eating at McDonald's more than 5 times in the last 5 years like I originally reported, but not only am I guilty of this, I am guilty of so much more. You see, about 2 years ago, I baby-sat everyday for a 3-year old for about 8 months. This particular 3-year old didn't like me much. (Well, to be fair, she didn't like anyone much!) After baby-sitting her for a couple of weeks, I discovered something... she L-O-V-E-D McDonald's food more passionately than anyone I had ever met! Not only did she love McDonald's, but she loved *me* when I took her to McDonald's or even brought her McDonald's! When I brought her the #10 pancakes combo in the mornings, she would get this huge smile on her face, dance around the room, and yell "Cakes! Mommy, Katie brought me Cakes!" Then, she would procede to yell, "Cakes! Yay! Cakes! Yay!" and poke me in my stomach! So, I am sad to say that yes, I bribed her with McDonald's and yes, she loved me for that half hour, and yes, I have been to McDonald's more than 5 times in the last 5 years. In fact, I would say, with remembering this time, I've probably been to McDonald's 20 times in the last 5 years! So, I am guilty of so many things, including feeding a child crappy food just for her love... please forgive me Chowhounds and please don't hold it against me! After all, I was just a baby-sitter standing in front of a girl, asking her to love her! ;-)

                                                                      Oh, and heaven help the person that forgot her ketchup to go with her hashbrown!

                                                                      I have edited my profile to reflect this sad recollection...

                                                                      1. I am not ashamed to say I've visited McD's. I like that I can get a cheap yet tasty breakfast. The cost of breakfest out has become exorbitant. Case in point, I spent close to $15 for an omelette and coffee yesterday, yeah it was better than McD's but not earth shatteringly better. The stereotypical diner with affordable breakfasts are getting harder and harder to find, moreover, if you do find one chances are the wait to eat is very long. I have too much to do in the mornings to sit around and wait for my meal. Also, our dogs travel with us and they really love the burgers. Many of McD's have patios and dogs are always welcome.

                                                                        1. I have officialy amended my profile to now read "60" because of this thread; at least 1 migraine per month = at least 60 times over the past 5 years.

                                                                          I'm not proud of it - but I'll own up to it and admit I enjoyed each and every one of those Big Macs.

                                                                          1. i stop at mac's once in a while if i am hungry and in a pinch for time between business appointments or if my 6 & 7 year old girls want chicken nugetts or a cheeseburger. i have no problem with macdonald's. there are obviously many better places with much better food. they have a place, though. i grew up eating their food. i just don't over do it now. maybe once every month or two. i still love the fries and i enjoy a quarter pounder w/ cheese (royale w/ cheese?). the orange drink is good and i had to smile when an earlier poster mentioned the shamrock shake that they roll out in march. i also recall a good "arctic orange" shake they used to serve up in the middle of winter.

                                                                            1. Shamrock Shakes and a Filet O Fish! I love Lent......

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Cathy

                                                                                Amen... I wish they'd rename the Shamrock Shake and have it all year!

                                                                              2. I simply don't eat at fast food places on a regular basis. If I want fast food in town, I'll go to Falafel's or one of the great local taquerias or get take-out from Whole Foods or get a Jamba Juice or a bagel. There are many options.

                                                                                Road trips are about the only time I stop for fast food, but even then there are more choices than the Scottish place. I have a preference (baseless, perhaps) for Wendy's, but it's been years for them too. Can't see what the fuss is about In & Out. I've eaten at a Subway (vile) and a Taco Bell (adequate) in the past year. And that's it, really. The last time I was at McDonalds was on a road trip with my parents (it was their choice) about 7 years ago.

                                                                                I should add that I cook a lot and love doing it. If I didn't, I might eat out more, and then fast food might figure more prominently in my diet.

                                                                                1. I was honest.
                                                                                  I do McD's about once every 2 months and almost only for breakfast. I only go for the the BLT Bagel, a hash browns and once or twice a year a McGriddle (sausage only). And... once a year I get a two Cheese burgers deal. Then I'm good for another year.
                                                                                  Think I'll go defrost that lobe of fois gras now to atone for my sins.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Da_Cook

                                                                                    The irony of your last sentence is more delicious than any meal at McDonalds.

                                                                                  2. Every now and then I'll get the craving, but I just think about their basic burgers--all those big hunks of onion, that squishy flavorless roll. If I'm doing fast food burger it's gonna be Burger King (love these ones, don't know why) or Wendy's.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: erikka

                                                                                      Or I think about those acres of rainforest being slashed and burned, for mediocre hamburgers no less.

                                                                                    2. I absolutely love this thread! I love me a good McDonald's fix. Usually just a single cheeseburger, or a single small order of fries or, now and again, a sausage and egg McMuffin with cheese (which I eat as two halves smothered in ketchup).

                                                                                      I'm a Chowhounder just as much as the next guy but there's nothing like curing a fast food craving with the original McDs.

                                                                                      Otherwise, I might grab a taco at Taco Bell once in awhile. And just last week I indulged in a small Frosty from Wendy's. Each place has their thing. I certainly do NOT make a habit of dining at fast food establishments nor do I routinely order complete meals. Just an item here and there.

                                                                                      I love to eat far too much and making fast food a regular habit wouuld, unfortunately, not be kind to my waistline!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: MaggieB

                                                                                        God, yes! to those sausage mcmuffins with egg and cheese!

                                                                                      2. Sometimes I'm jonesing for a Big Mac, but most of the times I've eaten at McD's it was because it was convenient. My husband and I take a lot of roadtrips to visit family and we're notorious for not remembering to pack snacks. When hunger strikes we just want to eat something, anything, and get back on the road. And McD's is everywhere you look these days. If given the choice we'd pick Burger King over McD's, but it seems like the roads we travel tend to favor McD's.

                                                                                        I will admit, though, that the last trip we took we got breakfast at McD's. I tried the sausage breakfast burrito with the picante sauce and it was quite tasty. Of course I'd been awake since 5 a.m. and we didn't eat until 9 a.m. so maybe I was just really hungry, but either way it was good.

                                                                                        1. McDonald's is a crap burger. Within a 10 block radius of my house there are 10 places which serve a better burger than McDonald's. Why would I go to McDonald's under the circumstances?

                                                                                          It's not like I'm some kind of food saint. On my profile I admit that I occasionally eat White Castle but they sell a form of junk food that tastes different from all others.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                                                            I go once a year. I don't keep it on the calendar, so I may even overlap a bit. My body usually tells me when I need my fix. I think it is because the 1/4 pounder w cheese, fillet o fish and large fries takes me back to a time when I could spend a very small amount of money, and really put a dent in that bad case of the munchies. Uriah Heep on the cassette deck, what was then the herb of choice, and a big bag of McDonalds later.
                                                                                            Who would have thought it would give way to my choice now of basil, terragon, and oregano.
                                                                                            But I can still have that very occasional McDonalds.

                                                                                            1. re: Bobfrmia

                                                                                              bad case of the munchies, uriah heep, herb of choice - most excellent post!

                                                                                          2. Well a lot of chowhounds on my board (LA) doesn't seem like the McD's type. That being said, I, too, have drastically cut down my on Mickey D's visits esp. since after I read Fast Food Nation (and later watched Supersize Me!) ~ but if you count coffee-only runs (their joe isn't half-bad ~ esp. if you're in a hurry and can't afford the 5-10 minutes for an espresso drink), I have about 20 over last 5 years...

                                                                                            1. I honestly answered 0 times. I worked at McDonalds while in high school and in all honesty I don't care for it. Have you ever noticed that after eating at McDonalds you have a McDonalds "funk" smell on your hands that soap and water don't seem to rinse off? Takes about a day to dissipate. I rarely eat at any fast food except Subway, Togos. However, I can have my arm twisted for a Jack in the Box taco.

                                                                                              1. Count me in as another honest "NONE" in my profile. I never even ate there when I did indulge in fast food.

                                                                                                Like I said in a post that is 'higher up' in this thread, there is nothing nutritionally worthwhile in fast food, and the processing involved to make it usually causes it to be totally devoid of any real flavor. Do you think that McD's uses top quality beef to make those multiple millions of burgers they sell?? Heck NO! They use the cheapest scraps off the cutting room floor, then douse them with chemicals to make them taste like a freshly grilled burger. Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) sat in a chemical lab blindfolded while a lab technician waved vials of chemicals under his nose.....cut green grass, watermelon.....freshly grilled hamburger, and low and behold upon removal of his blindfold, there was not a grill nor steaming hot burger in sight. So when you eat one of those burgers, don't be fooled into thinking that taste comes from anything other than some secret chemical lab somewhere in the western USA. For anyone who says that they eat there because they 'crave' their food, I feel very strongly that some chemical is used in fast food to MAKE you crave it so you keep coming back. Call me crazy, but having been there- craving BK french fries like I was dying- I know that the more you eat it the worse it gets. But then again, once I realized how greasy my mouth felt after eating just a few BK fries, I had to think that this just wasn't very healthy.

                                                                                                I get plenty of crazy food cravings, and admit to my utterly over the top food indulgings, but there is nothing about a McD's or any other fast food burger that I will touch. If I need a quick meal I will go to Panera or Quizno's, nothing chow-worthy on a grand scale, but far better on the arteries than a fast food burger joint.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: cooknKate

                                                                                                  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Panera Bread can be pretty bad for your arteries, too. I found this nutritional info on their website:
                                                                                                  Frontega Chicken Panini - 890 calories, 43 g of fat (14 g saturated fat), and 2480 mg of sodium! Compare that to a Quarter Pounder with cheese and a small fry from McD's - 760 calories, 38 g fat (14.5 g saturated), and 1150 mg of sodium. I'm sure there are plenty of items at Quizno's that are equally as bad for you but they don't post nutritional info anywhere. My point is simply that it's easy to be fooled into thinking you're eating "healthier" than you really may be. And sometimes a place like McDonald's (or Wendy's or TB or Quizno's or whatever) just hits the spot...

                                                                                                  1. re: mi2ca2mi

                                                                                                    Believe me, I am no fool when it comes to nutrition as I have self-educated myself on that matter for the last 8 years, and I didn't post this info with any regard to making that point stick. I eat at those places infrequently, but when a quick meal is needed that is where I head, and it's way more about taste than anything else. I am aware of Panera's choices and stick with ones that have healthier numbers. But thanks for your input!

                                                                                                2. I admit it, I was pregnant last year and made many stops at that friendly drive through. Loved it!

                                                                                                  1. Actually not once in the past twenty years. However I do stop there when on the road because they always have clean restrooms and it's easy to get in and out without being hassled to eat anything!!

                                                                                                    1. I used to go to McDonald's quite a bit until around 1998. That year, something just changed for me, and the food there just stopped tasting good. Since then, I think I went once again around 2000, and that just reconfirmed that the food is inedible to me.

                                                                                                      Watching Super Size Me and reading Fast Food Nation was really the nail in the coffin. I doubt I'll eat there again. For fast food, I usually do Subway. You have control over what goes into the sandwich and it's relatively healthy.

                                                                                                      1. I just don't like McDonald's very much. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a drive thru burger every now and again, but I'm a Jack-in-the-Box girl. It's my mom's fault - we grew up on Jack (Jumbo Jacks, tacos, onion rings) and I was well into my teen years before ever tasting McD's. We're talking 1960's and 1970's Southern California - and mostly my mom cooked. We didn't eat out or get take-out very often.

                                                                                                        Actually, I really prefer Bob's Big Boy but that's another topic. For slightly less fast fast food of the burger variety, I like Fatburger. Count me among those who don't get the appeal of In-n-Out. I like that spicy grilled chicken sandwich at Carl's Jr. also. So I admitted to 3 visits to McD's on my profile - I can specifically only remember 2 visits, but figure I probably forgot one.

                                                                                                        1. I was never a heavy user but reading Fast Food Nation a few years back pretty much ended my trips to mcdonalds. If i am in an airport i might opt for a couple of has browns but that is pretty much about it. If i am going to put something unhealthy in my body i might as well enjoy it, like Lagavulin, chicken tails/skin or foiegras

                                                                                                          1. I'll admit it. In fact, McDonalds hamburgers were one of my pregnancy cravings, so I've eaten there more times in the last two years than i would admit to my foodie friends.

                                                                                                            Also, McD's is my go-to hangover food. Cheeseburger, Dr Pepper and fry makes me feel almost human again after deciding to drink a whole bottle of Mumm by myself.

                                                                                                            1. WOW! Someone else that likes the filet-o-fish, fry and orange drink combo. This is the hide-in-my-car and eat kind of meal that, as a Chowhound I'd be ashamed to admit I'd even consider eating. But it still hits the spot when the craving comes. The killer is that the combo must be eaten fresh, and as I'm a stickler now with my car (no eating, drinking or smoking inside), if I were to indulge, I must eat my beloved combo inside the restaurant. This leads to another issue, which is the bad service I always receive at my local McD's, yes, even with this simple order. I guess I'd better start walking over there for my fix.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: OneJayneDoe

                                                                                                                Yeah, I like that filet o fish so much I actually wrote a letter of complaint when they tried to change it a few years ago. The worst thing was they put iceberg lettuce on it.

                                                                                                                As always... I was quite reasonable ... I am the pillar of reason ... I said it was fine to have a version with lettuce but could they continue to sell the original version since I was a loyal customer who had enjoyed that sandwich for many, many years.

                                                                                                                McDonald's sent back a letter blowing me off. They said that market research showed that people liked the new filet better ... yeah ... just like people liked new Coke better ... about a year later the original filet o fish returned.

                                                                                                              2. I am honestly *shocked* with the attacks that you've gotten from your very forthright post. (And I'm amazed that you have handled them so well too. Kudos to you!) I don't have children, but I know plenty of people who do, and I'm wondering, when they get off work at 5:45 from their minimum wage job, go to pick their child up late from the daycare once again at 6:15, they're starving, their child is starving, and they have to be at youth group or soccer practice or whatever by 6:45, what are they supposed to do in that half hour?

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                  Hmmm...let's see...last night I made grilled pork chops (on the Foreman) with Penzey's Northwoods Rub, steamed summer squash and sliced tomoatoes from local farms and our CSA for my wife and two kids in less than ten minutes from the time I stepped the kitchen.

                                                                                                                  That said, I'm fine with McDonalds. I probably eat their Asian Chicken Salad with Dasani water combo once every ten days or so.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MSPD

                                                                                                                    I totally see what you are saying and I appreciate your more thoughtful response, but what I'm saying, is that if you only have 30 minutes to get somewhere and there's no possible way to get home in that amount of time and make something, and you have no money, then what are you supposed to do? I just don't see how attacking someone for fessing up to occasionally stopping at McD's to feed their hungry child is helpful at all! (And for the record, I love to cook, but I am not a fast cook... the only thing I could make in less than 10 minutes would probably be a pb&j sandwich!)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                      Totally agree. As a parent of two (soon-to-be three), I'm in that situation frequently. By the way, we have a couple of branches of Boston Market (one of those other places largely owned by the evil McDonalds) close to me and I'll gladly admit that that's a damned good place to get a hot, tasty, well-rounded meal for a family of four for $16.99...in and out in under 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                      You do what you need to do.

                                                                                                                2. Although I found parts of Super Size Me and Fast Food Nation rather entertaining, as are most one-sided debates, I continue to enjoy a McDonald's Double Cheeseburger at least twice a month. I bring it home and microwave it until it just starts to sizzle, and then add extra ketchup. Like the others with the shamrock shakes, I wish the banana shakes were available year round.

                                                                                                                  1. Well, I was honest. I only go for the fries once, maybe twice a year when I have a salt craving.

                                                                                                                    I seriously haven't eaten a McD's or BK burger in I don't know how long. It's just not a "burger" to me anymore. Thirty years ago? Yeah, I'd be in the 30 times a year column. But that gray, overcooked slab of who-knows-what just isn't a burger to me.

                                                                                                                    1. I said maybe twice in the last 5 years. This is true. I am always trying to eat healthy and I don't eat meat, so the only thing I crave once in a while from McDonald's is the filet o' fish and fries. I very rarely eat it because when I do I feel very guilty afterwards and because honestly there are many other things I would rather eat when I am feeling like eating a treat - sour kids, real fish and chips, really good middle eastern dips and falafel, pizza, pad thai..............

                                                                                                                      1. I admitted to going "too many" times but blamed it on my kids. How's that for a shuck n jive? The problem with McD's for me is that i reached a point where it tasted really good going down ... loved that 39-cent cheeseburger when I was absolutely starving ... but 15 minutes later I felt horrible. So I totally understand the craving, but I avoid the place as much as I can, and have even reached the point where I can (sometimes) take my kids there without ordering anything for myself.

                                                                                                                        Full disclosure: I still love their fries, and more often than not find myself stopping in for a small bag to go with the Gyros sandwich i just bought at Oasis Grill down on Drumm Street in San Fran. Can't blame that one on the kids!

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: djh

                                                                                                                          I agree. I don't think of a fastfood burger as being cheap imitation of a "real" burger -- the taste of a fastfood burger (especially a fastfood cheeseburger) is a taste all its own, just as a Dorito is a separate taste from a freshmade tortilla chip with salsa. As a product of the post-fastfood/junkfood revolution, sometimes I crave specifically the taste of fast food.

                                                                                                                          But like djh, I also started noticing that I felt icky afterwards, and I use that memory, in addition to all the very good socio-political/environmental reasons not to support the fastfood industry, to talk myself out of it 95% of the time (and to go with smaller servings the other 5%).

                                                                                                                        2. I noticed something Morgan Spurlock didn’t mention during my guesstimated visit #5 in 5 years to McDonalds : the little packets of sugar, salt and ketchup were all SUPERSIZED. Nope, I didn’t buy any chow, my mission was to steal condiments – god forbid I didn’t have them for last month’s road trip!

                                                                                                                          For the record, it wasn’t my idea to do the other 4 visits, but when on the jersey turnpike or NY thruway I’ll go with the crowd and do as the romans do. Whether I get the really hot coffee, a cheeseburger or a faux vanilla milkshake, it’s never anywhere near as satisfying as popeye’s spicy chicken or a cinnabon.

                                                                                                                          1. Never ate at Mickey D's much when I was young and swore off of it in college for financial reasons. Haven't eaten there since.

                                                                                                                            After college I did some work for a recording studio that did radio spots for them, the people I met gave me the willies. Read CM Kornbluth's "The Space Merchants" to get an idea of how amoral they were.

                                                                                                                            I'm not snooty about it, or holier than thou, I do the occasional BK or Popeye's on the road. But their are almost always better choices. My grandfather ran a resto and loved going to small family places when I stayed with him in the summer, I leaned to love them too.

                                                                                                                            1. I am among those chowhounds who hesitated to post an answer to the McD's question. Then I realized my hesitance was due to some misplaced feeling of shame and I posted an answer. This type of question is designed, in my opinion, to make people who "live to eat" feel that it is shameful to dine at chain restaurants and especially McDonalds. While I would agree that it's not an environmentally or physically healthy dining choice, it is not necessarily one to conceal.

                                                                                                                              I know McDonald's sucks, I know I would rather eat elsewhere on any given day in (virtually) any situation. However, I get stuck in airports where the other available food is bound to be skeezy and McDonald's is, if nothing else, consistent (right on Dairyqueen). Also, I must admit the plain sausage McMuffin is pretty tasty insofar as airplane food is concerned. That heavy disk of food can really fuel you for a cross-country flight.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: goatcheesey

                                                                                                                                You really made me chuckle, goatcheesey.

                                                                                                                                All that feeling of shame for 10 visits in five years. Heck, I've done ten visits in a month ... especially when they had those beanie babies.

                                                                                                                                I was going to wait until tbe count reached 100, but I'll never go back to re-read this particular reply, so here goes ...

                                                                                                                                First, this has been really interesting to me. I actually do believe those low counts on McDonald's ... or any chain's visits. You all DO have an appreciation of great food and are not hooked on fast food. Why else would you login to Chowhound otherwise?

                                                                                                                                And I have eaten better thanks to everyone's great suggestions on Chowhound. My McDonalds visits have gone way down over the years as a result and I've eaten more interestingly and deliciously.

                                                                                                                                Too often, some of the threads get close to flaming when people impose their own self-righteous opinions about eating fast food. I don't think one of those passionate arguments ever swayed me. The opposite is true in that it makes me dig my heels in and disregard the often unsolicited advice.

                                                                                                                                However, what has changed my eating habits has been all the suggestions for better, tastier options.

                                                                                                                                The list of places I want to try is more than I'll ever completely get around to. It gives me less incentive to eat fast food when I know there's a great place around the corner or up the block.

                                                                                                                                So people, don't preach. The way to change eating habits is to dangle tastier tidbits at people on the board and post about that delicious recipe or restaurant. You might get another person to walk in a direction other than McDonalds ... who knows ... maybe 5 years from now my number of McDonalds visits will be less than 10.

                                                                                                                                P.S, ... goatcheesey ... I have been posting for about four years now. I have never knowingly met someone who was officially connected with Chowhound. Some of the decisions and thinking sometimes leave me baffled at first.

                                                                                                                                But I truly believe that the McDonald's question had NOTHING to do with trying to make people feel it is shameful to eat at a fast food joint. I would think that was the least likely reason for that question.

                                                                                                                                Part of the pleasure of participating on Chowhound is that it has a sense of whimsy and fun about food while being deadly serious about serving up suggestions on how to eat better.

                                                                                                                                So my guess is that Chowhound just thought it was a funny question and not trying to make anyone feel guilty about choices ... A direct email quote to me once from Chowhound was "Just enjoy the site. That's what we're there for!"

                                                                                                                                A lot of time, on site talk there is mention that Chowhound is an on-line party for people to enjoy. I really believe that. Have fun.

                                                                                                                                I liked your tip about La Note on the SF board. Thanks ... no egg mcmuffin for me till I try that. It goes on my list.

                                                                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                  rworange, thanks for responding to my hypothesis that the question was directed to inspire shame. i've only recently started posting on chowhound. since i moved to the bay area three years ago i checked occasionally for information on specific restaurants. with the new interface, i am addicted, and definitely value your insight into the site's vibe.

                                                                                                                                  i'm also glad to hear that this site has encouraged you to move beyond mc'd's more often. however, i say more power to you for enjoying the fillet o'fish, the orange drink, and anything else that tickles your chain dining fancy. [my personal favorite, french fries in the sweet and sour dipping sauce intended for chicken nuggets].

                                                                                                                                  hope you enjoy la note. FYI, if you ever find yourself in the vicinity on bastille day, free wine for everyone (at least that was the case circa 2004)!

                                                                                                                              2. I'm not keeping track but in 5 years I've probably been eaten at McDonald's about 10-12 times.

                                                                                                                                There is really no good reason for going there except most have large, convenient parking lots and are conveniently located. The food sucks, it's not cheap, the service sucks, the premises are often dirty, long waits for food after you order, they make lots of mistakes and most of the employees barely understand English.

                                                                                                                                1. My response was honest:

                                                                                                                                  More than I care to count

                                                                                                                                  1. I put down "More than I should probably admit to" so I guess that puts me in the ashamed category. I think it's probably once every couple months on average. My wife loves it and I can eat it. In fact, one of the best burgers I ever had believe it or not, was a Quarter w/ cheese from one just off 75 in Ohio. They must have just killed the horse...oops, sorry, cows that morning. It was fresh, beefy and just the right amount of grease on it.
                                                                                                                                    That brings me to my next point. When the wife and I are on our way to her parents (A 14 hour drive) McD's is a decent "On the go" place. It's clean, consistent, close to the interstate, inexpensive and fast. Sorry to contradict you Sam. We seldom stop and eat. Just don't have time.

                                                                                                                                    The bottom line is, for the most part, I just love food and eating. It almost doesn't matter to me. I still have a thing for Taco Bell even though I've had some awesome Mexican. I love Subway and Quiznos (which is better??) as well and I'm not ashamed to admit it any more dammit!!


                                                                                                                                    1. The last time I ate at McDonalds was 12 years ago at the Pittsburg airport about 7:30 a.m. waiting to board my plane at 8 and I hadn't had any breakfast. They were the only place open so I risked an Egg McMuffin and lived to tell about it.

                                                                                                                                      So, my response of a big non-fat zero was honest.

                                                                                                                                      1. I tend to go for breakfast on Saturday mornings (probably a couple of times a month) when I need a quick meal after swimming for an hour and I am en route to my grocery shopping and other errands for the weekend. An Egg McMuffin with OJ is handy and I know the nutritional info (one of the great benefits of the chains is relative certainty about the nutritional info). Once or twice a month I may face a similar squeeze between work and an evening appointment after which it will be too late to make dinner before going to bed (I go to bed early because I rise early on weekdays, about 4:30am); in which case its usually a plain doublecheeseburger and small fries and diet off the dollar menu; if the fries are not good (more often than not these days at McDonald's), I just toss them. Similarly if I am on a toll road with McDonald's at the service areas (eg, Mass Pike, which got locked into the McD embrace, sadly), I may need to re-fuel to keep awake, et cet.

                                                                                                                                        I am not particularly ashamed about this; I just found it hard to calculate!

                                                                                                                                        I view chain food as the American equivalent of pre-modern European subsistence diet, and a comparative improvement thereon. When people want to define American food by McDonald's but France by its grande cuisine, the historian in me just wants to hurl at the complete inappositeness of the comparison. Compare McDonald's to a gruel consisting of week-old coarse rye bread and a meagre broth.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                          Comparing Mcdonald's to medieval gruel is appropriate? I buy the inequity of comparing it to fine cuisine, but after eating French or Italian casual food of a similiar price and service point Mickey D's just makes me want to cry.

                                                                                                                                          The tollway plazas in Italy are worth paying the toll to get to.

                                                                                                                                        2. If the question had been about White Castle, I would have owned up to it. MacDonald's is great for the fries, and while I will not say I dislike the burgers, I try to avoid it just so I don't eat a ton of junk.

                                                                                                                                          The twice yearly indulgene in White Castle is another story. I no longer live two blocks away from one and there does not seem to be one in the Philly area so I can't say I have been there within the last five years....but I would have.

                                                                                                                                          1. I rarely eat at McD's . . . except like several other Hounds on this board . . . it's during a road trip. Or when I'm in a hurry. I travel a lot between L.A. and Northern California, a 500-mile trip one way. So my stops are usually Starbucks (there's a few along I-5), In and Out Burger or McDonald's. I'm on the road all day. I just want to get there and I don't have time for sit-down restaurants. And a regular cheeseburger is easy to eat in the car. And I've always loved McD's fries. And the Filet O' Fish. And the Big Mac. And the Sausage McMuffin.

                                                                                                                                            1. i probably eat a mcdonalds 4 times a year or so, and it's almost always breakfast, and if it's not, it's b/c i'm on the road and that's what's there.

                                                                                                                                              1. I laughed when I saw the question was how many visits in 5 years. I have always either lived or worked really close to a McDonald's. I practically lived behind one growing up. Now that I realize it, I never ate there as much growing up. My friends thought I was so damn lucky. Hmmmm...

                                                                                                                                                Anyway, yeah I eat there NOW more times than I care to admit. I don't eat their burgers often and I don't eat fries in general all that much. I like the apple pies, but not as much as the original pies that were FRIED. I also like the sausage mcmuffins. And when there's some special offer on their nuggets, somehow all the people who hate McDonald's because of their political and environmental views want a piece or 2 or 5. Heck McDonald's was the only place I could get orange juice in a quicky while I was pregnant. Could never bring my own juice at work without someone tampering with it one way or another.

                                                                                                                                                Wow, all this talk and I suddenly want a Quarter Pounder w/ Cheese. Do you remember when you had to ask for the cheese?

                                                                                                                                                1. Wow Rworange!

                                                                                                                                                  The reason that I almost never go to McDonalds is simple, I don't like the way that the food tastes, and it's not good for you.

                                                                                                                                                  My last visit was about 10 months ago when I had a nasty stomach acid issue and felt that I really needed a shake. I didn't enjoy it, it was over sweet, over flavoured and very over coloured. Unfortunatly it hit the spot.

                                                                                                                                                  I've since found that a little Guinness does the job, and is much tastier.

                                                                                                                                                  Now, if my Doc had read that she would probably hit me with a stick!


                                                                                                                                                  1. My count is currently out of date, as I've been frequenting them for dollar hot fudge sundaes. well, maybe I should update it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I was honest. Only in very rare circumstances do I eat at McD's. For one thing, I don't eat meat and I hate soggy bread. So, even their fish fillet is out. When I've eaten there, it's been because I was in the car with other people who wanted to eat there and I just got fries. It's just not my taste, although I don't care if other people eat there.

                                                                                                                                                      If I have to stop at a fast-food place, I guess my pick is Wendy's, although I think I've been there about 3 times in five years too.

                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                        for a while they had boca burgers and i would always grab one in the airport and be thankful for it. but because nobody bought it, they got rid of the veggie burger :-(

                                                                                                                                                        If i'm on the road, i now go to Taco bell which has a cheesy bean and rice burrito which you can get fresco style (replaces cheese with salsa). very satisfying, esp for a dollar.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                                          My guess is that vegetarians weren't thrilled with the Boca burgers because McDonalds said, flat out, that they would be prepared on the same grill with meat.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kiwi

                                                                                                                                                            yup. And that would make them taste beefish (not a good thing to me, obviously)!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                              That was funny...I read it as beef fish.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kiwi

                                                                                                                                                                'LOL! thank god they don't try to serve beef fish!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                  i actually watched them make the boca burgers and they steamed them in a separate little steamer. AFAIK this was standard.

                                                                                                                                                                  btw the boca burgers they used were the original and they tasted exactly the same as the boca burgers i buy for myself. not sure where the beefish comments are coming from but it just aint the case that they were frying them on the griddle with the burgers. do any of you have any personal knowledge? i watched them make my burger and constantly asked how it was made and was repeatedly told that they were steamed in their separate compartment.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: choctastic

                                                                                                                                                                    I recall that the commercials they ran for the veggie burgers had a disclaimer that said something like, "During preparation, Boca burgers may come into contact with meat." I never personally had one and never saw one prepared. But I did, personally, see the commercial.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kiwi

                                                                                                                                                                      Honestly I think that's just CYA talk to avoid lawsuits (esp after the french fry scandal). When I saw them making my boca burger, I didn't see my boca burger contact anything but the steamer. Well, that and the condiments and lettuce on my sandwich. I think what did the boca burger in was the dryness of the damn thing. Some branches just couldn't figure it out and made the sandwich really dry and tasteless. Sucked for me.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I havn't gone there once in the last 5 years. I admit to having very rarely a taste for a big mac but I refuse to pay full price for a dried out piece of something that tasts like sawdust.

                                                                                                                                                        1. At a zillion sold, someones eating em :)

                                                                                                                                                          1. There's nothing worthwhile on the menu for vegetarians so my last food visit was about 10 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. = Fast Food Nation

                                                                                                                                                              = Supersize Me

                                                                                                                                                              I've got two sons -- 10 and 15 -- and even they won't eat in McDonald's. Not even with their friends.

                                                                                                                                                              My "six in five years" included stops for a soda, a soda and fries for the younger kid just to give him something to do while I shopped in Home Depot and an assigned Egg McMuffin run for a youth sports team (and I didn't eat anything).

                                                                                                                                                              Read my post history -- I'm not a food snob. But I don't eat in McDonald's.

                                                                                                                                                              1. My answer is totally honest (5 or less). McDonalds is consistent in being nasty. I have craved their food before and indulged myself. ONce I actually get the food I get grossed out and throw the crap away. So I just don't really get fast food anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                The last time I had fast food was after my dentist appt this summer, my mouth was swollen so I stopped at Burgerville for some fries and a chocolate shake.

                                                                                                                                                                Pizza is my vice, I eat it way too often.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Alot,I only go there for the chocolate dipped cone now.I like that frozen yogurt soft serve.There food is just so processed and greasy and alot of the hamburgers don't even got tomatoes.The grease in the burgers makes me crave more grease for three days after I eat it,I don't like that.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I've bought fountain drinks there in the past year. And I admit trying their new coffee (not good). But haven't ordered food.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I hate to say it, but the only time I EVER enter a McDonalds is if we're on the road and I need a bathroom and there isn't a Burger King or Wendys handy. Then I'll buy a small soda/OJ or the only food item on their menu that I like - their apple pie. I used to like their McMuffins when they first introduced them, but I got one last year and it was hideous!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I think I am one of the few who admitted to going to McD's more than 5 times - actually a lot more. I have a 8 year old who is lured into McDs by the Happy Meal and free toys.

                                                                                                                                                                        If I don't have a kid though I won't be going there that often. The reason is not for snob appeal. I think fast food serves a purpose, but the problem with McD is that their food is really bad for you, besides not tasting that good. If you read the nutritional information most items (including salad) are either high in calories, fat, sodium and/or carbs. It's like walking through a landmine everytime I have to eat there. Plus they still had not wean themselves off of transfat free oil.

                                                                                                                                                                        So if I have a burger craving I'll go to In-N-Out, at least I can order one without extra salt, or bun. If I want fries Burger King's better.

                                                                                                                                                                        The only thing I do like at McD is the caramel sundae. Once in a blue moon I want to get that, but that's because most of my local Dairy Queen are now gone and I can't get soft serve ice cream elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                        Lastly, I lead a very hectic life, but if I am pressed for time, I still won't drop by any of the fast food joints for breakfast. I either pack something from home (chinese buns, cereal, oatmeal, leftover egg scramble, bagel w/cream cheese) or a stop at a local Mexican joint for breakfast burrito that is just as fast, cheap, and tastier.

                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                          Hey, I admitted to many visits and I DON'T have kids :-)
                                                                                                                                                                          I suffer from migraines and for some reason, I tend to crave high salt, high fat foods when I feel one coming on. I even mentioned this to my doctor - he has no wise medical theory for it LOL. Running to MCD's is easy, get home, chow down, take a pill, pass out. Hopefully get rid of said headache.
                                                                                                                                                                          I do love their caramel sundaes too BTW, although I rarely allow myself to get one. It's bad enough I have those Big Mac attacks with the migraines - no use putting further fuel on the fire!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                            It's too bad that non-chain restaurants aren't required to post their nutritional information so we could see if their food is just as bad for us.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: SuzyInChains

                                                                                                                                                                              I just assume it is. If it tastes good, most likely its filled with butter and salt :-)
                                                                                                                                                                              There's something to be said for home-cooking, it's the only way you really know what's going into your food and the only way to control what you eat.

                                                                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, as chowhounds, we all enjoy our food too much to eat at home all the time so we just have to put up with whatever "evils" (good as they taste) are in the food we're served.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SuzyInChains

                                                                                                                                                                                I would rather take the good old fashion butter and lard over partially hydrogenated oil. At least McD finally announced that they are converting.

                                                                                                                                                                                Oversalting is an issue at other restaurants, but at least we can detect the amount of salt used and just eat less.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                  I absolutely agree with you on that point! It's amazing McD is doing away w/the transfats. My husband and I watch this very closely, as he's already had one stint with a stent and I'd prefer to keep to one :-)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I honestly rarely go to McDonalds. I have to watch how much I eat and I can think of better things to spend my calories on. I'll admit, sometimes (once in the greatest of whiles) I just have to have a cheeseburger or a cone. But that's about it. I used to love their fries, but they can sometimes be perfect, sometimes really soggy and greasy, and sometimes salted to a point where I can't eat them.

                                                                                                                                                                              Did you happen to watch Super Size Me? That's enough to make you never want to eat there again.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: puppymomma

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh yes - how can I forget about that movie. Scary.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I'm a none, honestly, unless you count necessity visits to their restrooms.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. yes on the sundaes and restrooms anytime and nay on burgers anywhere but bk (whopper jr does it for me once a year or so), wendy's for chicken. but mostly we avoid them. just last night dh and I gave each other five for being so successful at not instilling a desire for fast food in our daughter -- it's worked. we sail past Mickey's and all the rest and she doesn't even see it. All this baking breads and pizza doughs and experimenting with food is worthwhile and inspires all of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. i admitted to eating at mcd's. i said in the little blurb that when they had the veggie burger i ate there a lot and when it was yanked off the menu i stopped going there so much. they have some decent-looking salads but i hate salad so i can't tell you how they are. i haven't been there recently but i have always liked the filet o fish, the fries and the hot fudge sundae. usually when i'm eating at mcd's it means i'm at the airport even though the prices are higher at the airport ones. i used to like the mcrib sandwich but haven't had one in at least a decade due to health issues. i like the boca burger vegetarian "mcrib" better anyhow and with a coupon it's only 50 cents per "mcrib".

                                                                                                                                                                                    i never went for the burgers because i go to in & out for fast food burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My reply said, "30 - all of them for ice cream!" I love the cones and the caramel sundaes (without nuts).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. There's a guy on Supersize Me that has had a lunch consisting of two Big Macs everyday for the last 20 years. He is not a subscriber to Chowhound, but he is happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. "Supersize Me," plus someone just mentioning the term "cow eyes" from Fast Food Nation in the same summer did it for me. No fast-food beef since then. Chicken? Honestly can't remember, so maybe.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I have had a couple Filet-o-Fishes from McD's when the SO really wants to go there... and I still go to Burger King for the Veggie Burger. (Morningstar Farms veg. patty -- it's still served on their toxic white bread, but I can tell myself it's better than cow eyes)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. It's been 4 years. Before that, the egg mcmuffin on a monthly basis for lack of time at a local 3-for-1.99 breakfast taco taqueria special...adding the time it took to be absolved in the penance booth on Sunday morning (football/basketball), I just started leaving the house earlier. No penance, more sports. What a concept.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Eat there at least twice a year(at most 3-4 times) mainly due to roadfood-itis. The only qualms I have are that they make it difficult to order a burger "your way." So difficult, in fact that I tend to default to the McNuggets when accompanied by my companion who is much more laissez-faire in his ordering efforts. I don't *think* I'm that hard-to-please it's just on most major chain fastfood burgers I don't want cheese, ketchup, or mayo. Most automatically come with and McD's has a cashier setup built to stymie any difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway, none of this I hate fastfood nonsense. McDonald's is okay by me. So are homemade 1/2 lb medium-rare Angus burgers on garlic toast w/ Maytag and caramelized onions and dijon, for but one example(I recently had my first In-and-Out "animal-style" and liked it quite a bit in all it's saucy glory).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: aelph

                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree with aelph...my consumption of McD is directly proportional to road trips where we get to our climbing destination early morning and grab 2 egg McMuffin (no cheese) with a coffee and we're set until around lunch. I never feel guilty in these instances as we burn tons of calories throughout the day (enough to pig out in the evening on local mexican fare washed down with lots o' beer).

                                                                                                                                                                                                When in town, I rarely go to McD, except for something to drink since there are so many other quick food options around and I prefer to eat healthy for the most part. I do crave burgers every now and then but have found that I enjoy burgers made out of buffalo more than beef so I make those at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. A big fat zero! No Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominoes, Starbucks, In n Out, Carls Jr or any other fast/convenience food place for that matter. I have eaten at Subway though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I live in LA, which has a wonderful variety of cheap ethnic food. I eat at roach coaches very regularly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hrhboo

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But how can you skip IN n Out for 5 years? It is, by far, the best of the fast food chains. AND it's cheaper than a lot of the local places (with the exception of Yuca's).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's really more like 10 years...I live next to a dive bar that has the greatest burger for about $3. It goes down beautifully with an ice cold beer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do agree with you, several years ago In n Out was the only fast food I'd eat, but I gradually phased it out too. Plus, I love bacon cheeseburgers, and they don't have bacon. I don't have anything against fast food, it's just been so long that the thought of going to one of those places never even crosses my mind. I'm sure that'll change if I ever have kids!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: hrhboo

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I always love the "i never do X" posts that include a caveat. Subway is a fast/convenience food place and, if you don't order carefully (just like all of the other places you mentioned) its is easy to load up on fat, calories and carbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    As with all of the other "fast" food places, if you order well, you can get a reasonable meal quickly that won't, literally, kill you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Back when I lived in Charlottesville, VA, I was probably at a McDonald's about once a week for breakfast because that town is surprisingly and seriously lacking in affordable breakfast joints. Always baffled me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now that I'm in San Francisco, I'm at a McDonalds...well, I think twice since we moved to town almost a year ago. Once for a wicked chicken nuggets craving (no idea, don't ask) and once for breakfast on the way out of town on a road trip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have been to Subway once in the past 5 (possibly more) years. It was a Mediterranean Chicken Salad, with no dressing. The "chicken breast" was some bizarre preformed patty that had fake grill marks on it. A couple of mouthfuls were enough to remind me why I don't enjoy fast food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not overly concerned with my consumption of fat, calories or carbs. I just prefer the taste of street tacos with fresh salsa to mass-produced mystery meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                        When I'm in Cville, Bodo's gets my $3. When i'm on the road, I prefer Hardees/Carl's Jr. or BK breakfasts. In LA, NY, and most major cities, you can always find good cheap grub at all hours while still avoiding McDs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ah yes, Bodo's. Good stuff. As for the other fast food breakfasts...yep, I see the appeal...I just think that the Egg McMuffin is one of the purest forms of art (granted, art that will kill you) out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I used to love the McMuffin but I have fallen in love with Jack-In-The-Box breakfast sandwiches and the fact that you can get them all day long for me that trumps the McMuffin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I am the human garbage can!, i do Mc donaldlds 3-5 times a week(only 'cause we don't have in-n-out,farmerboy's,Culvers,and sonic and steak n shake are too far away) i did not see this question,but that is my answer,no it's not one of my fav's...kinda like women that I've dated they're not necessarily what i would choose given a perfect world(i'm sure the ladies i've known would say the same of me!) cheers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I haven't had McDonald's in about 8 years. After I read Fastfood Nation, it changed the way I eat for the most part. In 'n Out is a go though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: justagthing

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I haven't been to a McDonald's since I saw Super Size Me about 3 years ago. That movie flipped a switch in my brain. No more McDonald's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I used to drive thru two or three times a week. Now I just drive by.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. In the past five years, I personally have went to McDonald's, for myself, perhaps once or twice. I've been there several more times for my little sister.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          With the exception of their fries, I just don't like McDonald's food. There's better stuff out there, even fast food - usually if I have fast food I'll go to Sbarro's or Starbucks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Once or twice a month, but only for coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Does this count drive throughs for iced tea or diet soft drinks? Honestly that is all I go for.