Tribute to a good man who did politics right, and bad fast-food choices

Tribute to a good man who did politics right, and bad fast-food choices

It was with shock and sadness that I learned of the sudden death of Benoît Pelletier. He was way too young and had so much more to contribute. The family did not reveal the cause of death but we know he nearly died of COVID in 2021. For those who read French there is a lovely piece written by one of his children about the episode. In my Citizen column I say it’s a real shame today’s politicians are abusing his ideas as they scramble to avoid electoral defeat.

In a way, it’s not surprising that an institutional kludge like asymmetrical federalism would come out of the Ottawa area because we’re so used to making unworkable situations last with constitutional duct tape and parliamentary Jig-A-Loo. But really, these days politicians are taking this way too far. The feds are throwing money every which way in areas that are completely within the purview of provinces and territories, such as municipal zoning, renters’ rights, dental care and school food programs. Meanwhile, areas of federal jurisdiction keep getting ignored to the point where we don’t know whether our military can fight, if we’ll have enough judges to hear cases or whether people hoping to immigrate will have their applications processed before their children die of old age. That’s hardly Benoît Pelletier’s fault. He had a lot of ideas, some better than others, and he defended them with intelligence, honesty and civility. I wish we had more politicians like him today. Requiescat in pace.

In my legal writing this week I have a piece on the quality assurance framework for designated representatives and it's dashed gripping, if I say so myself.

Who knew cheeseburgers could have sex with other burgers?

I am starting to wonder whether I shouldn't just quit all my jobs and do snarky reviews of terrible fast food items. I would have work for life, that's for sure, seeing how fast just one chain cranks out one terrible idea after another.

I described my McRib, as charitably as I could, as splotching of goo on cardboard. I am not entirely certain what four-letter words to use to convey the utter despair that enraptured my soul when I diswrapped my newly-acquired Surf N' Turf. Below are the picture from the McD website and the one from my kitchen table. Which one looks like the best arrangement of 560 calories?

Yum, right. Of course I tried it. And it’s surprisingly not as awful as it looks. I imagine it tastes almost half decent when it’s put together the way St. Ronald intended.

You know what really goes well with fish? Pickles. That’s the ingredient that makes tartar sauce so irresistible. I’m a huge fan of Filet-o-Fish and have been since I was a kid. There is also cheese in it — half a slice of deeply processed “American” kind and lordy it’s a heavenly mix when that’s the thing you’re craving. Weirdly enough, adding two small meat patties with onions and pickles didn’t destroy the experience, contrary to what I was expecting. It’s the mustard and ketchup that were decidedly de trop. Especially as there was rather a lot of it in the model I brought home.

One has to wonder whether there is a point past which the geniuses who toil at the McD Experimental Kitchen will refrain from venturing but apparently it’s not until well after they’ve tried mixing meat, cheese and chicken.

A few years ago when the chain brought in chicken for breakfast I was so offended I immediately had to go try it. And I was mesmerized. Somehow that combination of spices on the chicken patty with the weird sauce and the cheese works. When I’m road-tripping that’s often what I grab for brekkie if there’s no Starbucks around. It offers a good layer of fatty goodness that typically carries you a solid 400km.

The chicken cheeseburger also uses that small seasoned chicken patty (not the same as in the classic McChicken, unless they’ve changed that one too while I wasn’t looking). And fortunately in this case the ketchup doesn’t offend so much. In fact, not much is truly wrong in this bizarre concoction if you’ll pardon the shoddy assembly work performed, if that’s the word, by area teenagers.

My 17-year-old (former McD employee to boot) ate that one and pronounced it “a confusing mess of tastes and textures.” I stole a bite and must agree it’s confusing. Maybe that’s what they’re going for. Something so terribly hard to pin that you keep going back, in search of some answer to the question of why on earth you’d let your burgers have babies together like that.