McDonald’s Brings Back Hot Mustard; You’re Welcome

dam thoughts, barry currin, beaverdamusa.comHot Mustard is back at McDonald’s. At least it was yesterday.

Of course, this correction by the world’s most famous restaurant chain was most certainly a response to my blog (reprinted entirely below) about how McDonald’s broke my heart by discontinuing the nectar of the gods in the first place. I went to the company’s web site to scour for a press release or a statement thanking me for showing them the error of their ways, but I haven’t found it yet. I will keep looking. In the meantime, your thanks is all I need. You’re welcome.

Original blog, published April 25, 2014:

Restaurants hate me.

Remember Darryl’s, the place with the ridiculous decor, including a bus inside? I loved going there, so of course they all closed. (I googled and found what looks to be one in Greensboro, N.C. Leave a comment if you know for sure.) But Darryl’s isn’t alone in breaking my heart. I also loved Roy Pepper’s Porch in Chattanooga, Tenn. Roy Pepper’s cooked their bread in little clay flower pots. RIP, Roy Pepper’s and your delectable bread. I hope I wasn’t entirely to blame.

Then there are the places that take my favorite thing off the menu — I guess just for the fun of it. Ruby Tuesday changes their menu more often than the front page of a newspaper. Long, long gone are the Tuestada and the Steak Teriyaki. My favorite restaurant is the Copper Cellar on Cumberland Ave., in Knoxville, Tenn. They used to serve bone-in prime rib on pewter plates. Then they stopped serving it bone-in about the time they changed from pewter to regular plates. Blasphemy.

Read Barry’s latest blog.

And now, my favorite fast food place has done the unthinkable. McDonald’s — the last bastion of hyper-caloric menu consistency — has discontinued Hot Mustard sauce for their Chicken McNuggets.

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This is the sauce I first discovered as a freshman in college when we would make runs after 11 p.m. This is the sauce I have eaten on every single McNugget for 30 years. This is the sauce that made me ignore what people said McNuggets are really made of. It didn’t matter! It only mattered that I could drench them in what was the perfect condiment. How, McDonald’s, do you justify discontinuing the perfect condiment and replacing it with jalapeno ranch sauce? Why don’t you just replace the Quarter Pounder with the McLiver while you’re at it.

I don’t really know how a McNugget even tastes. I don’t really even need them. I just need Hot Mustard sauce back so I can stop sounding like a heroin addict. When the person at the counter would ask how many McNuggets, I always wanted to say, “Well, it depends on how many Hot Mustards you’re going to give me.”

It’s not just me. More than 6,600 fans have signed the “Bring back hot mustard to all restaurants” petition on change.org. Here are some of the comments:

  • Patrick Freeman of Ferndale, Mich., writes: “My fellow Americans, if we allow them to remove our mustard rights today, what’s next, the boot shaped nugget, the Big Mac ‘Special Sauce’”?
  • Seth Rosellini of Fairfield, Cal., says: “I don’t even want to eat chicken nuggets anymore, and it’s very irritating and disappointing.”
  • Greg Reid of Norfolk, Va., says: “Hot Mustard is the only sauce I use. I’ve been eating it since the early 80′s.”

Be strong, Patrick, Seth, Greg and everyone affected by this. We shall overcome. But we will never forget. And we’re sure not lovin’ it.

Read Barry’s latest blog.

What I Gave Up for Lent: No Joke

dam thoughts, barry currin, beaverdamusa.comSeveral years ago, I joked I had given up Brussels sprouts for lent, and it got a few chuckles. I always try to be funny, so every Lenten season I would whip out old “Brussels sprouts” a few times.

This year though, I saw someone else post it on Facebook, and that ruined it for me. It was getting old, anyway. And it was starting to make Kim grind her teeth.

So I had a thought: Instead of joking about it, why don’t I really give up something for lent? I had been inspired by the preacher’s sermon the previous Sunday. And almost immediately I felt divine intervention. I was going to do it. Cue the trumpets.

But what would I give up?

A couple of years ago, Kim gave up red meat, and she somehow survived. I figured if she could do it, I could at least give it a stab. I can live without steaks until Easter, I thought. So I proclaimed it. Heck, it would be healthy to boot. And while the angels were still singing in the heat of the moment, I decided to ditch fried potatoes, too.

And then in a move that would make John Wesley flip his wig, I decided to give up an hour’s worth of sleep each morning. No problem. I have more to do in a day than I can ever accomplish, anyway.

Fast forward to Ash Wednesday. The alarm clock sounded like a cannon. I grabbed my phone and googled, “When does lent start for Protestants?” (Like there’s a difference, I know. But it was early.) I thought maybe it didn’t start until the day after Ash Wednesday. Or, maybe there was a loophole for well-meaning Methodists like myself who are just doing the play-at-home version.

Of course, the Bible has precious few loopholes, and this was no exception, unfortunately. So I got up.

It lasted a day. Yes, I failed. That’s what makes us Christians, right?

So, working under the assumption that lent and baseball share a couple of rules, I kept the faith I still had 2 strikes left. I would make the red-meat-and-potatoes thing stick.

It’s been a long 44 days, but here I sit on April 18, alone in the wilderness, battered and bruised, yearning to squeeze the Heinz 57 and ketchup. But I will make it. Yes, I will make it, thanks to poultry and pork. I’ve eaten so much chicken lately I swear I think I cluck sometimes.

I know the Lord works in mysterious ways, but still I know it is a coincidence that a restaurateur friend of mine told us the other night that the price of bacon had tripled for him over the past month.

And I know it means nothing that I now have this recurring dream where I walk outside to see a chicken pecking at the brake lines on my truck.

It hasn’t been easy. No burgers. No burritos — well, chicken burritos — cluck, cluck.

See what I mean?

While I’m testifying, giving up fried potatoes has been no walk in the park, either. McDonald’s is my favorite fast-food place. And while I don’t go there much, I truly believe that a McDonald’s French fry is one of the best tastes on earth. I also like a potato chip from time to time.

In all, I think I gained a little of the appreciation I was supposed to as a Christian.

But I also gained an appreciation for how funny I now realize my Brussels sprouts joke still is. And as God is my witness, I’m going to whip it back out in 2015.

The Best Coffee in Town is… Uh, Where?

Loving the Cubs... and other problems I have Mark Grissom beaverdamusa.comHello… my name is Mark… and I am addicted to coffee!

Those are the words I will say one day in a group meeting, sitting around in metal chairs in the fellowship hall of some church, with 20 other people who have the same problem I do!

I cannot go for one entire day without having a cup of coffee… or four!

I remember, as a kid growing up in Zion, Illinois, my dad had an electric percolator to make his coffee. You could smell that incredible aroma throughout the entire house on any given morning. I never drank coffee back then, but I sure did love the smell.

I think I was about 15 years old when I tried my very first cup of coffee. I was in Daniel’s Restaurant on Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview, Illinois. They served coffee in a coffee cup with a saucer back then. I filled my coffee up with dairy creamer and lots of sugar. It was soooo good!!

After I graduated High School and began working at Lawn Funeral Home, I drank coffee on a regular basis… non-stop!

I learned that it gave me energy, smelled great, tasted wonderful and kept me awake for long periods of time. Those possibly are the same reasons why I still drink coffee to this very day.

I did a little project tonight. I went all over town in search of the very best cup of coffee. I had an idea before I ever left my apartment what the winner would be, but I was totally wrong. I will tell you the winner at the end of this blog!

mark grissom beaverdamusa.com loving the cubsFirst stop… Sonic. I was not even sure if they had coffee. The intercom went off… “Welcome to Sonic, may I help you please?”  “Yes ma’am, I said, I would like a cup of coffee. Do you sell coffee here?”  She replied, “Yes sir, we only have a medium size.”  So… after paying her a total of $1.85, I left with my medium cup of coffee.

Next stop… Hardee’s! Ordered a medium size cup of coffee, paid the pretty lady $1.42 and left with my second cup of coffee in hand.

Then… Burger King. This is where things went south real quick! I ordered a cup of coffee and paid the lady $1.42 (yes, same price as Hardees). Upon leaving the parking lot I burned my tongue and spilled coffee on my white shirt. All that, and the coffee was not all that great.

Next stop… Wendy’s.   The worst experience of the evening! I asked for a medium cup of black coffee. She said, “That will be $1.96 and please pull around to window No. 2.”  I pulled around to window No. 2, paid the lady the money, and she preceded to hand me a medium Frosty Shake. “No ma’am”, I replied, “I asked for a cup of black coffee”. She knew she had made an error and asked me to pull forward while she makes me a cup. She finally brought the coffee out to me, the lid was cracked, I spilled coffee on my tie, the coffee tasted bad… and she never gave me any kind of refund for the difference between my coffee and the frosty. As you can tell from the picture, Wendy’s has the smallest cups of medium coffee of anywhere I went.

Okay… here we go to McDonalds! Medium cup of Java… $1.00. Coffee is served in a very nice thermal cup with a secure, leak proof lid, and tasted GREAT! Well pleased! On a side note, my dad says McDonald’s has the best coffee around Cleveland!

Forward Ahead!

The next place I wanted to try advertises “The best cup of coffee in town”. One problem… they were closed! Formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts.

Okay… you coffee lovers… I pull up to the drive through at Starbucks. “One medium cup of coffee, please!” I ask. “That will be $2.14… pull ahead to the next window.”  WHAT??? Two Dollars and fourteen cents for a bloomin’ cup of coffee?? However, they do serve their coffee in a very nice cup, with a burn-preventer thingy wrapped tightly around it and a little green stick in the sippee part of the lid. The coffee… AWFUL! I am very sorry, Dr. Jay McCluskey. I know how much you and your lovely wife, Michelle are big fans of Starbucks. I deeply apologize to you both! However, I am not a fan of Starbucks. Coffee is way too strong and way too expensive! Sorry, guys, just not for me!

Thanks to the encouragement of my good friend, Wayne Wilhelm, I tried the coffee at the new Speedway in town — the one next to Dr. Ken and Brian Beard’s dentist office.

Let me point out that I do NOT like coffee from any gas station. They sell gas. Their specialty is gas. Well, maybe gas and cigarettes. I have never liked coffee from any gas station. But I do own a “Roo-Mug” from Kangaroo in case of emergency.

Speedway’s coffee… YUK! Sorry, Wayne, just being honest. They advertised it was 100% Columbian. I doubt that. But it was way too hot and was not a good taste.

Now for the shocker.

I really thought, before I began my pilgrimage in Cleveland, Tennessee of all the coffee places, that McDonalds would be the ultimate winner.

Not so fast!

In my very honest opinion, the best coffee out of all the places I went, a fair price, a nice mug with a nice secure lid and one of those burn-preventer thingy’s… drum roll please… Sonic Drive In!!

If you have never purchased coffee from Sonic… take my word for it… very, very good!!

Until next time… GO CUBS!

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