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I'm Just Sayin': Could this be Armageddon?

By DuWayne Paul - Echo Press Columnist

Callers to radio and TV stations expressing anger and astonishment at what is happening. People looking for places to go and places to fill their needs. Anarchy is about to break out. What you may ask is this describing? Well, it’s not Obamacare as you may guess. It is the discontinuation of national availability of the McRib. Oh, the humanity of it all!

Could this be true? Could something that many look forward to every year in the fall, not be available any longer? What will we do? On further analysis, what will I do? Every year at this time, I look forward to having my greasy, imitation pork rib sandwich. The one with 26 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbs, and 500 calories. It’s what starts the holiday season for me. You can almost look on it as a “warm up” for the coming days of greasy, fatty, high starched foods, paired with sugary and chocolaty delights – which we call the holiday season. The McRib prepares us for this! Uff-da!

By now, you may have heard that McDonalds has announced that there will be no national distribution and sales of the McRib. It can still be available through local franchisers, but not nationwide. So, if it is important to you, contact your local McDonalds and demand your McRib! Why not? It’s been in the national news and newspaper headlines.

Hearing and seeing this caused me to wonder why, and what is the history of the McRib. Actually, it has an interesting history.

The McRib made its debut in the U.S. in 1981 as a limited item designed to be offered for only a short time. The person credited with inventing it is Executive Chef Rene Arend, who also invented Chicken McNuggets. No, that’s not a typo. McDonalds actually has an “executive chef.” Whodda thunk?

The McRib was an idea spawned because of a shortage of chickens. What? This is getting too complicated!

Seems that the McNuggets were so popular when introduced that McDonalds could not keep enough chicken in the supply chain to fill the demand. So, a new product was born to fill the void. Pork replaced chicken, and a menu filler and promotional item was born. But, it was not highly popular early on.

It turned out that in the test market for the McRib (the Midwest), pork is a popular item. But, not so much in the rest of the country. So it was discontinued in 1985 and brought back only occasionally as a promotion item. In the summer of 1994 it was brought back nationally as a tie-in to the release of The Flintstones movie, and the McRib was compared to the rack of ribs that topples the Flintmobile in the movie. But, the McRib history does not end there.

In 2005, McDonalds announced a permanent end to the McRib, and even had a “McRib Farewell Tour.” At that time, as now, an uprising occurred at and was facetiously sponsored by the “Boneless Pig Farmers Association of America.” Back and forth America went with the McRib and several succeeding farewell tours and promotional offerings at certain times every year. But now, comes the end.

But, have no fear. If you are searching for a McRib, you can find a McDonalds that has them on the menu by searching at Yup, a website for finding your McRib. I’m just sayin’, and I’m lookin’ for a McRib.

Footnote: Since my column about Smokey and biking in cold weather, I have heard many “Smokey stories” from local residents. Seems it brought back lots of nostalgia.

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DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.