Pokémon: The Return of Meat Culture

You don't know the power of the meat side.

Pokémon: The Return of Meat Culture

Last year, McDonald’s and Pokémon came together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise with a Happy Meal promotion. Featuring four collectible Pokémon cards, each Happy Meal was pure temptation to adults and vegans alike. Collectors lost their minds, mass-purchasing meals, tossing the foods, and streaming their card pulls on Twitch. If I wanted my own chance at the cards, I’d have to toss the very vegan-unfriendly food or pay an eBay scalper. Luckily, my mom reads the news and eats chicken nuggets, and I ended up with two packs of cards. Meat Culture had taken a critical hit, but the story wasn’t over…

In the style of a Star Wars opening crawl: “Episode VI: Return of Meat Culture”

Adam Cecil has turned vegan in an attempt to rescue his health and planet Earth from the clutches of the vile gangster Capitalism.

Little does Adam know that MEAT CULTURE has secretly begun construction on a new Happy Meal toy item even more powerful than the first dreaded Pokémon Card promotion.

When completed, this ultimate weapon will spell certain doom for the small band of vegans struggling to restore freedom to cows…

How could Meat Culture top last year’s incredibly successful Pokémon card promotion? How about with “Match Battle,” a special Pokémon card game where “coin flipping, spinning, and fun with numbers,” as the official press release sells it? Could any Pokémon fan truly resist fun with numbers? Isn’t that what Pokémon’s all about?

My mother with the ever-watchful eye was aware of the new promotion before I’d even caught a meat-drenched whiff of it. A plan was formed: Mrs. Cecil would not only visit McDonald’s to collect Pokémon cards but would also review each Happy Meal meat option for Night Water. I, in turn, would immortalize her motherly sacrifices by creating content. It was a true win-win. Meat Culture wouldn’t know what hit it.

Happy Meal #1: Chicken Nuggets

The first Happy Meal procured was a classic chicken nugget meal with a twist: instead of the usual four nuggets, this meal came with six. “I only learned of the six nugget option with [my granddaughter],” Mrs. Cecil wrote to me. “A new option but I could only eat four because they were disgusting.” Unfortunately, the nuggets had cooled down to an almost inedible temperature on the ride home. She made a similar rookie mistake with the fries, which must be eaten hot.

In addition to the nuggets and fries, Mrs. Cecil received a little baggie of apple slices. “Looked disgusting but not too bad—crisper than expected.” To drink, she ordered a Sprite as a treat since she rarely drinks soda. On her receipt, she noticed a one cent surcharge for the soda.

Happy Meal #2: Cheeseburger

This time, Mrs. Cecil ate the fries on the way home. “Note that there are two fry containers,” she wrote along with the photo of the meal. “The person taking my order offered me the choice of apple slices or double fries. Like most kids, I took the double fries.”

The cheeseburger itself was noticeably smaller than an adult-sized order. “Not noticing the overwhelming salt taste that you get in the adult size,” Mrs. Cecil wrote, theorizing that it was because the burger was primarily composed of bun.

Happy Meal #3: Plain Burger

For her third and final Happy Meal, Mrs. Cecil ordered the plain burger, the least interesting of the three Happy Meal meat options. While she did eat the fries on the way home, she also ordered apple slices and a bottle of milk in an attempt to diversify her meal. “Ten cent upgrade to get milk,” she noted. “Really encouraging people to go healthy.”

Final Happy Meal Verdict

With all three meat options tasted, Mrs. Cecil delivered the following ranking:

  1. Cheeseburger
  2. Nuggets
  3. Plain Burger

She also delivered this verdict on my personal development:

“I thought searching for Happy Meal prizes might have ended when you got the last piece of Inspector Gadget twenty years ago.”

A story for another night, loyal readers. A story for another night.