McDonald’s World Cup Sandwiches

A conversation about fast food and soccer

Corey Bennett: Hey Miriti, this is going to make your trans fat-loving heart flutter with delight. And then break it. During the World Cup, McDonald’s will offer sandwiches representing seven participating countries: Brazil, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the U.S. These McMonstrosities “bring the international flavor of the FIFA World Cup tournament to [its] loyal and soccer-loving customers in Brazil,” says Woods Staton, CEO of Arcos Dorados, the largest McDonald’s franchise in the world. That’s right: unless you will be in Brazil, you won’t have the pleasure of experiencing these culturally enlightened gut-bombs. But that shouldn’t keep us from daydreaming. Let’s assess the sandwiches.

McBrasil

Sunday: Angus beef, mayonnaise, special Brazilian vinaigrette, lettuce, and emmenthal cheese

Miriti Murungi: I must admit, the sandwich architecture here is impressive. The McBrazil is like the Maracana of fast food sandwiches. It looks like it holds about 100,000 calories and, if taken in at the right time, could be a joyous occasion, but I worry about potential problems under that soccer-inspired hood. The white stuff (nah) is one issue, but re: the “special Brazilian vinaigrette,” I learned long ago that “special sauces” are a no-go for me.

CB: I didn’t know Brazil had a vinaigrette, or a distinct spice profile that could be infused into anything, thus making it “Brazilian.” Frankly, given their World Cup slogan, “Brace Yourselves. The 6th Is Coming,” I am disappointed this doesn’t have five patties. Go all the way or don’t go at all.

McSpain

Monday: Crispy chicken, olive oil mayonnaise, bacon spicy cheese, tomato, and lettuce

MM: What? No sangria sandwich? Was “Més que un sandwich” unavailable in Portuguese? If I ate at McDonald’s—and I don’t—I’d eat a chicken sandwich without mayo because my parents didn’t come to this country for me to have to deal with mayo. But I have eaten at Hotel Hamburglar abroad and, with a couple of tweaks, I could go in on this.

CB: Am I the only one slightly disturbed by the “bacon spicy cheese”? Not by the concept so much, but the actual substance. Doesn’t there appear to be a bacon-y layer atop the crispy chicken? Are we really dealing with cheese that looks like a huge bacon flake? Obviously, I have a lot of questions before I go near one of these.

McGermany

Tuesday: Rib meat, German mustard sauce, red onion, pickles, and bacon spicy cheese

MM: First, German sausages. A missed opportunity. Second, just from eyeballing this sandwich, this is a goddamn McRib sandwich and no one can tell me otherwise. The McRib has been repurposed more times than William Shatner, yet we keep falling for these shenanigans. We deserve all the stomach aches and tears we get. Lastly, bacon spicy cheese. It never registered on the Iberian sandwich because I was focused on those prosciutto-looking slices. Bacon. Spicy. Cheese. Goodness, I can’t think straight. This cheese might save this McRib. BACON. SPICY. CHEESE. Clearly, I’m no cheese connoisseur, but I do know the words BACON SPICY CHEESE when I see them. Thank the lord for Obamacare.

CB: I’m with John Oliver on this one. “When you can’t have it, it seems so tantalizing. But when they bring it back, you think, ‘Wow, this is ethically wrong.’” Yes, he was referring to the death penalty. But the argument applies here. So, considering that I’m not going to Brazil, it’s tantalizing. On a side note, is there a “Spain always has a few onions off the plate” joke that I’m not aware of?

McFrance

Wednesday: Crispy chicken, melted cream cheese, grated parmesan cheese, lettuce, tomato, and emmenthal cheese

MM: One of the things I rue every time France play in a tournament: surrender jokes. I hate them with my entire being, because WE GET IT and STOP IT ISN’T FUNNY. That said, I wouldn’t surrender to this. Melted cream cheese? Hells no.

CB: Here are some distinctly French combinations: Franklin and Jefferson; wine and cycling; Julia and Jacques; coffee and cigarettes. Three kinds of cheese and fried chicken is not a French combination. On the other hand, this might be the safest of the bunch.

McItaly

Thursday: Polpettone meat, tomato sauce, grated parmesan cheese, and pepperoni

MM: This is not a defensive sandwich. This sandwich looks like it plans on being on the attack for a full 90 minutes. Bathrooms beware. Also, no idea what Pope meat is.

CB: It’s anti-Catenaccio. I don’t know who McDonald’s consulted, but, if this sandwich is “Italian,” then Andrea Pirlo does not look like a gorgeous lion.

McArgentina

Friday: Angus beef, chimichurri mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and cheddar.

MM: Considering that these sandwiches are only available in Brazil, I’m surprised that the Brazilian McDonald’s folks didn’t add rat poison or some sort of laxative to the McArgentina. Because rivalries are important. The other tidbit of note is that I’m over the adding chimichurri to anything and then calling those things Argentine. Want some Argentine pasta? Add chimichurri. Argentine water? Add chimichurri. Argentine chimichurri? Add chimichurri. This is getting ridiculous.

CB: Make no mistake: this is not a McMessi; it’s a McMascherano—out of position and reckless to the last. At the very least, McDonald’s could have used Argentine pink slime.

McUSA

Saturday: Angus beef, barbecue sauce, crispy onions, pickles, lettuce, bacon, and cheddar cheese.

MM: This is the only sandwich with sauce oozing out of it. I just want to point that out. Otherwise, the McEUA looks delicious from afar, but as you look at the detail, you soon notice that it either needs to get its affairs in order, or that there’s some method to that hot mess between the meat and the bun. It’s America in a sandwich! Also, if McDonald’s Brazil had their ear to the streets, they would have included hidden locks of Landon’s hair in select sandwiches. Because Landon stuff is all the rage right now.

CB: I have two problems with this sandwich. First, the “McEUA” sounds like “Ewww!” which is not an appetizing noise. Second, it has buns and that just ain’t American. You want a quintessentially Saturday American meal? Fry some boneless, skinless chickens whose lives were spent in the same two-square foot patch of a dark warehouse, slap some faux-beef stuffed with AMERICAN cheese in between the fried chicken and dip it in a bucket of mystery sauces. You’d think McDonald’s would have nailed this one, but it’s a miss for me.

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