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Jun 5, 2009 12:43 PM

McDonald's - A paean on the filet-o-fish (FOF)

It is as insidious as crack with its false promises and lies.

Eat fish… it is healthier … it whispers … muffled under layers of tartar sauce and a coat of melted cheese … its voice constrained by a fried coating.

And that is the genius of McDonald’s. They didn’t overdo it with lettuce. It knows what it is. Besides lettuce cools the sandwich and distracts from the soft comfort of each bite. Lettuce is jarring. It calls attention away from the fish. It wilts. That sort of softness is not a good thing. If one must have veggies, there is the catsup for the fries.

Opening the ocean blue paper clamshell box, the delicate round FOF is revealed. It is protected like an oyster in shell.

McDonald’s is scientific about buns for all its sandwiches. There is never too much or too little … it is always just right. There’s a slight sweetness to the bun contrasting with the tangy, classic, creamy sauce … McDonald’s does tartar sauce right. No pickle slice on the FOF, the tartar sauce provides that.

A thin, yet sturdy coating keeps the fish within juicy. The FOF is not afraid of of tasting like fish, the white square fillet, so to speak, nicely flaky and rarely overcooked or dry.

Should one choose the fries, there is that extra jolt of salt, evocative of the brisk ocean air. The American take of fish and chips.

It is a sandwich about all the elements working together yet letting the fish star as it should, the tartar sauce co-star .

Best paired with the orange drink … the delicate fish is complemented by the lighter floral yet Tangy flavor. While a cheeseburger can stand up to the bold taste of a cola, even bubbles are too sharp here.

It is an occasional treat to be savored as fois gras, lobster dipped in melted butter or decadent cake, too rich to eat every day.

- with acknowledgement to applehome, my muse for this post.


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    1. At 380 calories and 18g of fat it's a touch "healthier" than a cheeseless Quarter Pounder and better than nearly all of the chicken offerings. Pretty guilt-free from my perspective (although, as a teen, I could easily down four at a sitting).

        1. I had one a couple of weeks ago and almost went back for another!

          1. Are you insane? FOF is deep fried. It's fried in lard, covered with salt and fat, and covered with overly processed carbs.

            It's a fun parody, but still...if you put lipstick on a pig...

            5 Replies
            1. re: NewDude

              It's a little less poetic, but equally satisfying:

              Fish Filet Patty:
              Fish Filet (Hoki and Pollock), water, food starch-modified, yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, salt, whey, dextrose, dried yeast, sugar, sodium polyphosphate, potassium polyphosphate, cellulose gum, paprika and turmeric extract (color), natural flavors (plant source). Prepared in vegetable oil ((may contain one of the following: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness), dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent).

              1. re: ferret

                In the grand scheme of things, that's not a bad list of ingredients. And yummy.

                1. re: ferret

                  anti-foaming agent? Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I gotta have some of that!

                2. re: NewDude

                  McDonald's threw out the lard a few years ago.

                  I only go into a McDonalds two or three times a year, and I always order Filet 'o Fish, small fries, and milk. That's almost healthy.

                  The best part is that they usually have to fry the fish on the spot, and it is very freshly cooked. I just have to watch to make sure the fries are just as fresh.

                  1. re: NewDude

                    NewDude, you sure sound anti-McDonalds with your lard-rants i this and the other McD's thread.

                    you sound hungry.