Last week, French McDonald's franchises announced a new addition to their menus: the McBaguette sandwich, a Frankenstein's monster of culinary culture clash.
To advertise it, they rolled out a commercial featuring a remix of French pop-standard "C'est si bon," that was basically a mash-up of stock food photos and a Victoria's Secret fashion show.
They gave the sandwich fancy mustard.
Bakers who could not possibly exist worried it "might threaten their industry."
In light of all these confusing emotions, Gawker's official French correspondent (my friend Jordan, who lives in Lyon) agreed to make a trip to his local "McDo" to try one.
First, the basics: The McBaguette is comprised of most of the same ingredients as a hamburger (patty, mustard, lettuce), with the exception that the burger's standard smushed down bun is substituted for a smushed down sliced mini-baguette.
Customers can order the McBaguette as part of a meal that includes fries and a soda for €6.95. For an additional 50 cents, they can upgrade their meal to a "large" that is actually a US medium.
Now, onto the flavor: It appears that McDonald's has successfully continued its tradition of creating versions of well-known foods that taste good-ish, but not really reminiscent of the way those foods normally taste. Here's how Jordan described it in his email:
"Bread's definitely not as good as a real baguette: really industrial, thicker. Softer. And warm, of course, which makes it a bit weird. It doesn't taste like a baguette inside; don't know how they managed to do that."
He also reported that, while the sandwich wasn't "disgusting," it wasn't "amazing" either. He expressed doubt that it would become much of a hit during its six-week trial run, noting that French people go to McDonald's to experience what he describes as "proper culinary carnage," rather than the heights of French cuisine.
Jordan added that he was the only patron in the restaurant to order a McBaguette, and that that some people watched him as he ate it, which made him feel slightly uncomfortable.
Also making him feel slightly uncomfortable: the "two high school lovers" who sat next him and had "a deep discussion" about their curfews.
As for just how rocked France has been by the arrival of the McBaguette, Jordan said this:
"People have been a bit surprised, but it hasn't been one of the major headlines these days, [as it's] election time."
So, weird, then, that no one is talking about one of the most important issues of the day.
Final verdict: Il ne veut pas coucher avec le McBaguette ce soir. (Or any soir. He says he wouldn't order it again.)