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One Crazy Summer Driving Confession

July 30, 2018

This is either brilliant or crazy. It’s hard to say. But yesterday I woke up in Providence, Rhode Island. Midweek I’ll find myself in Millbury, MA. And on Saturday, I’ve got another trip down to Manhattan.

It’s a lot of driving. And all of it is for fun. For example, I was down at WaterFire in Providence for a beautiful summer lighting of this performance piece. And the next morning I was able to get not just a modern interpretation of the area’s classic coffee milk, but I also picked up the kids’ favorite meatballs to bring home.

And when I returned to Albany after an easy drive—thanks to a Kurt Vonnegut book on tape—it was time to head off to Battle of the BBQs in support of the Shalom Food Pantry. Tonight is the Official Yelp Event at Field Notes on Lansing Farm. And I’ve got a handful of fun smaller adventures on the schedule too.

But with all that driving, I’m also popping into rest stops. And as good as I’ve been eating, I’ve got to confess my new roadside tank topper.

It’s no surprise that I overthink everything. So here’s the deal.

You’re on the road, and hunger sets in. There isn’t that much time. You don’t really want to eat that much food. But you want what you eat to be satisfying. At least more so than a small bag of trail mix or a fast food salad. There is something extra depressing about a fast food salad. But that’s a story for another day.

Which is why I’ve been getting the McDonald’s double cheeseburger.

It’s a hard position to defend. I know. I’ve eaten the things. More than one of them in fact, over the past few weeks. But so far, I’ve never had more than one in any given week.

For me, it strikes that sweet spot between guilty pleasure, reasonable indulgence, and satisfyingly fatty food. Less based on the flavors, and more on the numbers.

By the looks of it a double cheeseburger is a small puny thing. It’s on the value menu. The patties are thin. There’s not a lot on the thing. And most people would never consider one of these diminutive sandwiches to be a meal on its own.

We already know I struggle with the definition of a meal.

That said, when I discovered that one double cheeseburger contained 440 calories, I realized it was a meal’s worth of calories in a tidy wax paper wrapper. Not a large meal, to be sure. But with 22g of fat (34% of your daily value) and 25g of protein this is going to be something that both satisfies the fat tooth and will sit with you for a couple hundred miles on the road.

And that’s really all I need. Something to tide me over until I reach my destination. Because wherever I’m going there will be good food. I just don’t want to be famished when I get there. Hopefully, wherever I’m headed will also have vegetables, because I’m trying to prioritize those more and more as I find myself eating out of the home with greater frequency.

It’s part of my new healthier outlook. It’s not that I’m avoiding meat. It’s just that vegetables are full of good things, and I want to make sure I’m getting plenty.

If I have to eat a McDonald’s double cheeseburger at some point along the way, so be it.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica Blackman permalink
    July 30, 2018 10:29 am

    One of my favorite things about Spencer is his penchant for stopping at McDonald’s while on a road trip. It humanizes his normally erudite, very healthy diet. Granted, he typically gets a fishwich or a chicken wrap snacker…. but I’m going to make sure he sees this post! Glad to know you are human too…. ;) #goldenarchesoftruth

  2. July 30, 2018 10:36 am

    The double cheeseburger probably is the best thing on McDonald’s menu, other than two single cheeseburgers. The grease, cheese and warm pickle add up to a nice trifecta while the toppings on the more elaborate burgers seem arbitrary and are often poorly and unevenly applied. (As you know, I like each bite of a sandwich to taste the same as the previous bite.)

    The McDonald’s app has a gateway drug deal going currently where you can get one entree a day (such as the double cheeseburger) for just $1, though it probably doesn’t work for rest stop stores. Click Deals then the $1 sandwich to generate a bar code you scan at checkout.

    Speaking of deals, the Stewart’s Deli dog is on sale for just 99 cents all week! A good opportunity to correct your first misguided experience, Profusser.

  3. B. Maggi permalink
    July 30, 2018 10:59 am

    When I managed a McDonalds, the double cheeseburger was on the dollar menu ($1) yet a single cheeseburger was $0.79 and a double hamburger was $1.19. The economies just didn’t add up and I knew it was only a matter of time before McDonalds dropped the $1 price for the double cheeseburger. Indeed, the “McDouble” is two burgers and one piece of cheese. In a few years time, I am sure it will be a cheeseburger alone for $1.

    And I believe the $1 McChicken is the best item on their menu. Unfortunately, many places don’t have it because the chicken patty in it isn’t found on any other item on their menu.

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