I’ve been keeping a vigil for Fish McBites for some time now, ever since McDonald’s revealed late last year that they were rolling out the new item on a national level. In January, things got even better: The fast food chain announced that all of their wild, line-caught Alaskan pollock would be certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. For a brief shining moment, it appeared that the world might be actually be improving. When word reached me that Fish McBites had arrived in Florida, I knew it was time to make my move.
On a recent drive to find a place for lunch, I informed my wife that I wanted to go to McDonald’s to try the new menu item. I was rewarded with a look of confusion and horror, and patiently explained that all of McDonald’s pollock was now sustainable. When she questioned me about exactly what that meant, I confessed I didn’t know, but suspected it had something to do with fishing practices that would insure the pollock wouldn’t become extinct. She was unimpressed, and understandably so—Alaskan pollock aren’t as cute as Chinese pandas, and don’t evoke the same degree of empathy and protective instincts. On reflection, I realize there were only two groups who would care about pollock becoming extinct: the pollock themselves, and senior McDonald’s executives.
The Fish McBites turned out to be quite tasty. They had a spicier batter than the regular fish sandwich, and were plump and juicy. While not exactly healthy (they’re fried, after all), you can consume them with the guilt-free knowledge that the Alaskan pollock will probably outlast the human species on planet Earth. However, you’d better hurry if you want to enjoy them, as they aren’t guaranteed to become a permanent part of the regular menu.
Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, published by Lyons Press (Globe Pequot); for more information, go to iconicspirits.net.