After several child organizational challenges and lego mishaps at home, I headed to Toronto for the first McDonald’s All-Access Moms trip.  (We managed to find Luke Skywalker’s body, so I was free to travel without worry.)   It’s hard to pinpoint how I feel as I begin on this journey.  I’ve been busy with the press, and am so excited to dive into the program.  Questions are pouring in, and I’ve been gently schooled in societal issues all the way from farming protocols to the perils of eating too quickly. 

I’ve also gotten pleasant thoughts about the benefits McDonald’s brings to society. One reader wrote:  “People are always quick to point out the negatives about McDonald’s. But they forget the good too. McDonald’s will serve anyone, including those who get turned away from other places. They will hire those that other employers consider unhireable or not worth the effort to train. They allow seniors with no where else to go to sit and nurse a cup of coffee for hours.”  I had never thought of that.  I love the balanced discussions that are already happening – and I have only just begun.

Toronto will be exciting, not only because I lived there for 10 years (yes I miss the subway.) but I get to go behind the counter at a restaurant.   It was always a mystery to me how the food is prepared so quickly, and the standards are so consistent across restaurants and countries.

What I am really anticipating, though, is meeting Chef Dan Coudreaut in Chicago. Dan is in charge of innovation. Whatever opinions people might have about the corporation, we all have to admit that he has one of the coolest jobs in the world. (Next to the guy in charge of carrying around the Stanley Cup).  How does he come up with new ideas that will require huge land masses to be planted with crops?  What about quinoa and other food trends?  How does McDonald’s research cultures throughout the world and make the national dishes into fast food?  Why chocolate, vanilla and strawberry?  Why 2 pickles on a burger?  What’s the healthiest thing served?  I’ll stop.  You can add your own ponderings below.

Not only do I eat at McDonald’s from time to time, but friends consider me a bit of a gourmet.  I’m no trained chef, and my husband worries every time I chop vegetables with a sharp knife..  But I do grow tarragon in the garden so I can make bernaise sauce, I make ravioli from scratch, and believe that there’s nothing as wonderful as a meal with friends using my grandmother’s recipes. (Well, all except those horrid jellied salads.)  So a chance to see the test kitchen?  Wow.  Hopefully they’ll keep me away from the sharp knives.

Bet you have questions.  Certainly ones that are better than mine. Ask away!