McDonald’s English pub burger

I spotted this on one of the food blogs I read. Was wryly amused at US McDonald’s interpretation of Britishness:

The burger is described as a 1/3lb Angus Beef Burger with hickory-smoked bacon, white cheddar, American cheese, steak sauce, Dijon mustard, grilled onions.

The blogger adds:

I also got a kick out of the placemat advertisement for it, which gives a one-paragraph description of the burger including popular English buzz words like “fancy”, “smashing”, and “gobsmacked.” For the average McDonald’s customer, who may not be cultured enough to know these terms, McDonald’s provides a handy glossary at the bottom of the placemat

The whole thing reminds me of that episode of Friends where Ross puts on a fake British accent to cope with his nervousness with teaching a new class. It’s a slightly ludicrous interpretation of Britishness, both from a gustatory (I had to look this one up, does it make sense?) and linguistic perspective.

"Angus" burger suggests Scottish to me, "hickory-smoked" bacon sounds American ("thick-cut back bacon" might be more British), steak sauce is a straight out mystery – try relish or mayo, or if you’re going for a gastropub, hit up the aioli. White cheddar – ok, but American cheese? Seriously, the clue’s in the name on that one, guys. Also with the Dijon mustard – a little Francais in there, but English mustard might have more kick than you’d like, and grilled onions – maybe. I think the English would prefer a sweet, crisp slice of red onion.

There you go, McDs – I’ve just refined your "English pub burger". You want your 1/3rd lb British beef burger to be topped with thick-cut back bacon, white cheddar, relish and aioli, a dab of English mustard and a slice of crisp red onion. And a slightly limp lettuce leaf, probably, if we’re going for something resembling authenticity. I’m not sure I can be bothered to help you with the marketing because the laughably cheesey interpretations of "British English" will probably work on the ignorant and amuse the informed. So it might actually work.

I’ll take my payment in breakfast.

Armand David: Britishness consultant to American mega-corporates.