Many have tried it. Few have escaped unharmed. In response to their abandonment by the females of the household, Dave and Jim attempt the unthinkable: to consume every meal of an entire day at McDonald's. Can their constitutions take it? Will they tire of plastic cups and cookie-cutter architecture? Will their supply of Pepcid AC hold out? Their journey is recorded below, in their own words and photos.

Dave

Jim

We arrive at the McDonald's at exit 25 at 9:15 a.m., in time to sample MickeyD's world-famous Breakfast menu. Jim can hardly contain his enthusiasm.

One odd note: The Burger King next door is cordoned off with police tape. I dimly recall reading in the morning paper about a robbery/arson at BK.

Total caloric intake so far: 0

Happy. Happy. Joy. Joy. Don't I look excited?

Jim has a Sausage McMuffin® with Egg, a solid ellipse of hash-browns, and healthy cup of Orange Juice made from freshly frozen orange juice concentrate.

'80s classics such as "Burning Down the House" are playing in the background, though oddly not here in the Playplace®, which is sealed off from the rest of the restaurant with soundproof glass.

MUST... HAVE... HASH BROWNS!!!!

They tasted "friedyish"!

Sausage McMuffin Status: GOOOOOOOOD!

Orange Juice Status: BORRRINNNNNGGGG....

Total caloric intake so far: 640

Here I am, ready to take a drink of my McDonald's coffee. It has the flavor and caffeine content of a cardboard box.

My Egg McMuffin® is not bad, though. The sensation of biting into it is about how I would imagine it would be to bite into slabs of grease of varying density.

The Hash Browns are cold in the middle. I eat them anyway.

Total caloric intake so far: 445, including 15 for the creamer

Coffee Status: BLEAH!

Part of Jim's "payment" for this day of decadence: supervising a toddler (Jonathan) in PlayLand®.

Most precious moment: a "big" six-year-old got in a "play fight" with Jonathan. It was rather disturbing to see his "fake" punches stop only inches from Jonathan's face. Fortunately Jonathan's parents and I were the only ones actually "frightened" by this event.

Isn't he aDORable?

2:00 p.m.

Ahh...Another meal, another McDonald's. This one is at Exit 28. Note the more compact, angular form of the architecture here. It almost presages Daniel Libeskind's design of the World Trade Center Memorial (except for the soaring, inspiring part).

Oh, Boy! Another greasy, fattening feast!

This is so fun--no veggies for an entire day!

A typical McDonald's moment. We're supposed to start eating our sandwiches, and they'll "bring out the fries when they're ready." I insist that we wait for the complete meal before digging in.

Note the tasteful powder-blue paint-and-oak motif.

The torture: I can't eat until the fries come. What slow service!

This is the first time Jim has smiled in weeks.

Finally! My greasy fatteningnessnessness!

Crispy Chicken Sandwich Status: Yummmmmmm!

French Fry Status: Yeehaw!

Orange Drink Status: Punchyish!

Total caloric intake so far: 1,830

The stacking of my Big Mac® is all wrong. One slice of cheese is protruding nearly an inch outside the well-defined boundary of my Sesame-Seed Bun. The taste of this burger is surprisingly similar to that of the Egg McMuffin® I consumed a few hours ago.

The French Fries, arriving late, are worth the wait. Definitely the highlight of the day so far. Whatever mystery frying process they use, it's okay by me.

Total caloric intake so far: 1,485

Good, but not as good as my lunch.

(His Coke is Diet--Loozah!)

Dinner, 7:30

I have taken a Pepcid in anticipation of the greasebomb to come.

Driving to the McDonald's at Exit 36, I long to turn in to one of the many acceptable restaurants we pass along the way. I feel like a greasy, day-old French Fry. Jim asks if it's okay to order dessert. (No, it's not.)

More vein clogging goodness! Oh, boy!

A familiar refrain: French Fries aren't ready yet. I look around to see the sorry sort of people who actually eat dinner at McDonald's on Saturday night. Don't they have anything better to do with their lives?

Oh ...

... we're here, too.

This takes the "fast" out of "fast food"

Jim really was excited to get his French Fries. He's just not quite expressing it in this photo. Note the classic MickeyDee's decor, though: vintage plastic booths, vinyl backs, laminate tables bolted to the floor. Tres retro!

Don't I look excited!

French Fries: GOOOOD!

Double-Cheeseburger: I wish I had remembered to say "hold the onions and pickles"! But it's still GOOOOOD!

Orange Hybrid Drink: Okay, now this is getting a little old....

Total calories consumed today: 3,000 for the whole day.

I'm rolling home!

I try to look happy about my wilted Crispy Chicken Sandwich®, Diet Coke®, and French Fries. My stomach feels like a lump of lard.

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich® actually has a taste that is distinct from the Big Mac/McMuffin: it's like crunchy mayonnaise!

The fries are classic McDonald's, identical to the lunchtime fries. Unfortunately, now I feel less like I'm eating them than subsuming them into my body.

Total caloric intake for the day: 2,430

No commentary.


Some final thoughts from Dave:
Yes, we did manage to survive our amazing ordeal. What's striking to me, looking back, is the incredible sameness of the McDonald's experience, from the texture of the food, to the service, to the plasticine perfection of the fries. Like the restaurants themselves, I feel as if I'm coated with a thin layer of vegetable oil, laced with saturated fat. Tomorrow, we eat VEGETABLES!