Calling All Canadians, Help Explain the McLobster McLobster: Where to Find McDonald's North Atlantic Seafood Sandwich

What McLobsters, McRibs, McCrab, McArabia, and the McLaks say about the regionalization of the homogenous McDonald's fast food chain.

Why the Internet discovered McLobster in the middle of the winter is beyond me, but MyFox News, the Los Angeles Times, and millions of Google searchers were all over the story this week.

Since I live in Maine, where they've reportedly been sighted, and I had never actually tasted one, I decided to go out looking for the elusive McLobster. One source told me the sandwich was a seasonal sandwich reserved for tourists. Across the border, in the Canadian Maritimes, travel writers characterize the whole island of Prince Edward Island by its devotion to a regional sandwich known as McLobster. Still, barring a 18-hour road trip, I'm not going to score a McLobster until the summer—and, even then, one franchise told me the last McLobster they served was eight years ago.

So where did they come from? The first reference I could find was in October 29, 1990, in a article in Maclean's (not online):

In Maine, they call it a McLobster sandwich—three ounces of lobster meat mixed with mayonnaise in a bed of lettuce heaped on a freshly baked bun, all for $4.50. Thirty-five McDonald's franchises in the New England state are taking advantage of last year's North American lobster surplus.


Ten years later, on July 16, 2001, the Canadian Press Newsire wrote (not online):

The Big Mac hamburger and French fries will remain king at the fast-food giant, but McDonald's is experimenting with expresso coffee, sandwiches, decadent cakes and even poutine and McLobster in Canadian test markets.


But last year, on August 20, 2010, the Globe and Mail reported:

McDonald's recently ended a promotion on a McLobster sandwich.


While I can't tell you what it tastes like or whether they're coming back, the McLobster is not the chain's only attempt at regional offerings. They've tried the McRib (the South), the McCrab (Maryland), the Chicken Maharaja Mac (India), the McItaly burger, the McArabia, McLaks (Norway), and a McAfrica pita.

And despite its reputation as a symbol of globalization, local customs and adaptations occur at McDonald's all over the world, beyond the company's intent, as James Watson persuasively argues in his book, Golden Arches East. In other words, people give meaning to food beyond the meanings that corporations intend.

In the end, lobster might be a more sustainable option than fish sticks, although, North American lobsters are essentially farmed using baited traps full of herring, redfish, and pogies. Perhaps it's time to make the pitch for another sandwich entirely. I vote for the McSardine.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user meddygarnet

via Alan Levine / Flickr

The World Health Organization is hoping to drive down the cost of insulin by encouraging more generic drug makers to enter the market.

The organization hopes that by increasing competition for insulin, drug manufacturers will be forced to lower their prices.

Currently, only three companies dominate the world insulin market, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi. Over the past three decades they've worked to drastically increase the price of the drug, leading to an insulin availability crisis in some places.

In the United States, the price of insulin has increased from $35 a vial to $275 over the past two decades.

Keep Reading Show less

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less