Towards the end of 2019, something terrible happened and it had nothing to do with the election or climate change.
McDonalds changed their menu and stopped selling chocolate muffins.
Over the years we’ve tried many times and in many different ways to get Ellen to choose something new from the McDonalds menu. I’ve sampled salads and oreo-flavoured McFlurries with false enjoyment. I’ve shared the view that I’m bored of my usual cappuccino and would find it fun to try something new. I’ve oohed and ahhed at some of the frankly revolting-looking burger concepts which appear from time-to-time on the menu as ‘specials’, all in vain. Ellen has never swayed from choosing:
1 x Double cheeseburger – plain, all sauces and garnish removed
1 x large fries
a bottle of water
and a chocolate muffin
In November, however, the chocolate muffin suddenly disappeared from the menu screen and hasn’t made a return. The new mixed berry muffin was patently unacceptable (McDonalds, what are you thinking?) and I predicted months of ordering hell. Yet it took Ellen only three muffin-free visits to switch her allegiance to the chocolate brownie.
When it comes to other more important but (to Ellen) mundane things that require resilience and perseverance, however, Ellen’s motivation isn’t so acute. I envisage long afternoons of opening tins and peeling vegetables ahead, even trying to get her to wear headphones is going to require some serious sensory and RDI work.
Ellen’s biggest McDonalds challenge used to be making herself understood to staff. She had to speak, and speak clearly and with volume. If the member of staff couldn’t understand, or asked her to repeat herself she would shout ‘she said, chocolate muffin!’ at them, to which, although taken-aback, they could at least hear. But now that McDonalds have introduced their interactive ordering stations, her path to chips is wrinkle-free. Perhaps I should have a word with the manager at our local branch and see if Ellen could be set a small obstacle course before getting to the ordering station. If she had to open a tin and peel a carrot for example before she could get the cheeseburger in her virtual basket, then I’m sure we could save ourselves a lot of time.
This post ends with the observation that McDonalds have finally noticed the increasing demand for plant-based food and have introduced their first ever vegan meal. In the reviews I’ve seen, the veggie dippers have been described as ‘OK but bland’ and while I’m not expecting Ellen to take a giant leap away from her cheeseburger, at least I the next time I have to try something new, I can have something nutritious – right?!