I went to McDonalds the other day because of the PlayPlace. My kids wanted to run around with a few friends' kids, which turned into them running around with all kinds of kids--most of whom I did not know. So, I couldn't yell at them (the ones I didn't know) for making loud animal (?) noises and acting drunk. I just sat there and dreamed about yelling at them and that felt pretty good.
I ordered an Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich (TM) and a side salad. When I asked the cashier if they had fat-free salad dressing she paused, looked down at he register, pressed a few buttons, paused again, and said, "No." She looked as if she took offense to the question, so as to preempt anything further I told her that I usually ate like an idiot and was just getting used to asking questions like, "What menu item will kill you the slowest?" She pressed a few more buttons. Turns out the answer is low-fat Italian dressing.
I sat down and before I opened the sandwich box observed a moment of silence for the word Artisan. Call me old-fashioned, but words should mean something. That word has been tortured; its meaning expunged; its corpse sent from from some nondescript corporate boardroom and laid to rest on cardboard for the masses. The sandwich was--all things considered--pretty good, if not undersized, but the packaging wasn't fooling anyone.
When we talk to food distributors, we find ourselves trying to explain the concept of ingredient lists. And, I know what you're thinking. Ingredient lists aren't concepts. They're nouns, man. They're things. Hand the list over, get the ingredients. But with some of the bigger guys, it's not simple. They're constantly trying to push pre-made pastry shells, fillings full of preservatives, proprietary mixes and coatings. They push this stuff off to people as artisanal too, when really--its never about the raw material and it ain't real food. That's frustrating for us in a way because certain words and phrases are bandied about carelessly and to the conscious consumer, it's easy to become skeptical of gasbag droning on about the virtues of the Artisan Chicken Sandwich as a menu item delivered to an audience of roughly 33,000 restaurants. Skepticism bleeds, man. And we feel a little silly here because we're not trying to be self-righteous about the work involved in our products and the arduous nature of working with simple ingredient lists. We understand that no one is buying the branding, but we would've called the thing Pretty Good Grilled Chicken Sandwich. That's all we're saying.
Because it's a pretty good chicken sandwich and there's nothing wrong with that. That's all we're saying.