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WOLF: Trying to avoid the iconic McRib this time around

COLUMN: Sandwich makes return to Canada for first time in 10 years
The McRib sandwich. (McDonald’s via AP)

The pings kept coming and I was a little concerned.

I was at a recent medical appointment, on the special chair in a, shall we say, vulnerable position.

From the pocket of my jacket came the repeated pings.

“Do you want to check that?” I was asked, politely.

“No, it’s all good,” I said with a bit of false bravado.

A few minutes later, I was headed back to my car, when I see the little red ‘6’ beside the texts icon on my phone.

Now, six new text messages might not be a lot for you young folks out there, but for an old guy, that’s blowing up.

At first I worried something horrid had happened, since there are very few reasons I’d get that many texts in a very small time period.

Generally, it would be my clownish pals reminding me of a particularly vexing loss by one of my favoured pro sports teams.

And, I reasoned, if it was anything really bad, the phone would have rang.

So, what could it be that was so pressing?

Turns out it was indeed huge news.

The McRib is coming back.

I’ll give you all a minute to contain your joy.

That’s right, after being deprived of its glory for a full decade, the McRib is coming back to Canada (for a limited time at participating restaurants, beginning Jan. 30).

If you’re wondering what the McRib is, allow my forever 12-year-old palate to fill you in.

Directly from McDonald’s: “The McRib starts with a tender and juicy boneless pork patty dipped in tangy BBQ sauce, topped with slivered onions and tasty pickles, all served on a toasted homestyle bun. It’s no surprise this sandwich is an icon, with its uniquely delicious balance of sweet, tangy and savoury flavours.”

Sold yet?

A little back story. My ‘love’ for the McRib is a bit of an inside joke among family and friends. I routinely hype up its gloriousness and they mock me for my lack of culinary sophistication.

Thus, the texts.

“Did you see the McRib is coming back?”

“The McRib is coming back. Gross.”

And a few more. Noting how happy I must be and reminding me how they’d never try one.

Their loss.

Truth be told, it’s more about the humour of it all (routinely reminding everyone of the McRib’s greatness) than it is the actual product itself.

I can actually get along just fine without any McRibs, thanks. But, like many 12-year-olds with unrefined palates, I’m a sucker for marketing.

My other specific weakness in this area is sugary breakfast cereals. If there’s something new in the grocery aisle (like any version of ‘Toast Crunch’), I pretty much have to have it.

Of course, I’ll eat a quarter of a bowl and then it sits hidden on the Lazy Susan until it’s expired, but that’s not the point. I’m weak and I can’t resist.

That’s how it is with the McRib. They know absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they withhold it from us. They claim it’s some sort of supply issue with the formed frozen pork patties but I say nay, you’re just toying with us.

“In the last year alone, our team received thousands of inquiries on social media from very passionate Canadian McRib fans asking to bring it back here,” said Alyssa Buetikofer, vice president and chief marketing officer at McDonald’s Canada. “The McRib is truly a fan favourite. It appeals to guests of all ages—from loyal followers who have patiently waited a decade for its return, to our newer fans who have only heard the legend.”

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Now, there’s only one problem this time around.

As I continue recovery from surgery following a series of unfortunate events that would make Lemony Snicket blush, I really shouldn’t be eating a McRib.

I’ve done a reasonable job of altering my diet accordingly the last few months.

As I write this, I am munching on the delight that is a small veggie tray. Mmm, soggy celery.

But this represents the biggest test along my newfound nutritional path.

Last time the McRib rolled around, my then-teenaged son and myself (important to pass along the legacy, right McDonald’s?) made way too many trips to the drive-thru.

This time, I’ll be taking his 12-year-old little brother (we’re palate equals!), since he’s only ever heard the legend.

I’ve resolved to only eat only a couple of bites of one, once. After that, it will be full avoidance.

It will be a remarkable test of my newfound willpower (it’s OK if you’ve been silently judging me all the way through this), especially given that now I could have 39 of them delivered right to my door if I wanted.

And after those couple of bites, and the passing along of the legacy, I’ll continue my routine, with the sole goal of ensuring I’m in peak health the next time the McRib makes its grand re-return.

I’ll be ready, Ronald.

PQB News/VI Free Daily editor Philip Wolf can be reached at 250-905-0029 or via email at

Philip Wolf

About the Author: Philip Wolf

I’ve been involved with journalism on Vancouver Island for more than 30 years, beginning as a teenage holiday fill-in at the old Cowichan News Leader.
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