July 27, 2008

royale cravings

Posted in paris tagged , , , at 12:28 pm by Malia Yoshioka

i stepped up to the counter with my head hung low. why had i come here again? this place of artificial happiness, supposedly for our nourishment, tempting us all with memories from childhood, smells and flavors etched firmly into our collective consciousness. golden arches calling out seductively to passersby…

“one royale with cheese, sil vous plait. sure, i’ll take the combo, to go. merci.”

did it make it any better that i recalled the pulp fiction reference when making my selection from the mcdonald’s menu? did it change anything that i get to call it a “royale” rather than what it really is, a quarter pound of fat-laden beef, slathered with cheese, a heart attack in a bun? did it ease my guilt in this veritable shrine to american obesity that i opted for a side salad rather than those golden, crispy, perfectly salted french fries that i so desperately wanted and had smelled from the moment i walked through the door?

not one bit.

in a country which prides itself on gastronomy, boasts a national cuisine whose influence has spread across every continent, where i can get a delicious meal at any corner bistro or café, why – why!?! – would i be sitting in a mcdonald’s? really, i couldn’t tell you. it just… sounded good. yes, i feel the shame, as you’d expect. i’m in france – i should be enjoying french cuisine. in fact, on the corner of avenue des gobelins, the scene of my offense, there are a number of quaint little cafes with chairs lining the street, inviting me to share a meal, to linger…

but truth be told, i’m sick of bread. those wonderful little baguettes, éclairs, and pastries who so tempted me the first few weeks have become the bane of my existence. i miss rice. i miss hawaiian food, plate lunches, zippy’s. i have recently made a small quest of trying to find the best place for a bowl of good old Vietnamese pho in paris. (so far, a restaurant called tao on rue st. Jacques near my school – the owner is from hue, the capital of imperial Vietnamese cuisine.)

and the worst part is: i almost never go to mcdonald’s back home. besides coffee on my way to night school – i don’t think i would have gotten through lectures without that drive-thru being on the way – i almost never crave mcdonald’s when i’m in the states. yet here i am, enjoying my royale with cheese, wishing i’d even stepped it up and gone with the royale with bacon! haha… it must be time for me to be heading homeward soon, i guess.

i’m turning into an american, and it scares me.

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4 Comments »

  1. wisa said,

    I know what you mean! French bread, brie and wine get old after a few days.

  2. Kim said,

    Well, just think, soon we’ll be eating hummus and pita and feta and baba ganoush and all sorts of lovely greek foods!

  3. Kim said,

    hehe…well, i recall having a mcdonald’s meal at around 5am after a night of clubbing in bali. i think it’s what they call…comfort food?!??!

  4. sheryl said,

    ohhhhhhhhh………..french frys…..my favort mc donalds ohhhhhhhhhhh


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