As a vegetarian/mostly vegan, one can only imagine how hard it can be to find a decent takeaway at the end of the night. Sure, there’s chips in naan, salad in naan, naan in naan. But where’s the healthy option?
It was one such Friday evening, post-beer festival, and post-lash for the majority of my comrades who had not been on ‘dry January’, that we happened across the famous golden arches, the big M, Mekki, Donken, Makudo, Pat Panepinto Mart, Macca’s, Rotten Ronnie Oddo’s: McDonald’s.
Reluctantly I followed the crowd in, only on the premise that we’d be sharing a taxi back to the same area (and it’s safer not to walk home alone, kids). I stood alongside the queuing line, already resigned to the idea of vegan cake, peppermint tea and a bedroom boogie in the comfort of my own home.
We sat down, cardboard packages were unfurled, chips, buns, and paper pots of sauce adorned the hard clean plastic of the robust tables. I must admit, the atmosphere was incredible.
The midnight sky shone in through the windows as we sat in the industrial lighting that accentuated the bold red and yellow colour scheme, giving a sense of urgency and demand to our dining experience. Hot salt fumes and a feeling of surrender filled the air. Just being there was an oxymoron; a victorious defeat.
I checked with my friend, what she order? Fish filet. Another had a quarter pounder, a royale with cheese. For me, nothing to resist. My appetite for meat has long vanquished into the past of June 2015.
My companion reciprocated the question, and as if brainwashed, or dazzled by the proceedings so far, I finally noticed that I did indeed have my own bag of after-evening food. Opening the package, my confusion as to its uniquely orange colouring washed away as I discovered what was inside.
Moist, salty grilled artichokes drenched in olive oil filled a transparent plastic pot with vegan delight. Another container made home to a puddle of processed chickpeas and tahini: the lovingly-named ‘McHummus’.
We celebrated the utter thrill of fusion food as limp strings of sodium potato soaked up the remains of the Arabian spread. With flavour unsurpassable, the iconic presentation somehow elevated the taste buds to that psychological state of brand-name worship.
Though I fear that what we had on that magical night may only be the works of the supernatural, there’s no doubt that, artichokes aside, there is something for everyone at the red and yellow food factory.