Folks, there’s nothing we love more than news stories about very, very old McDonald’s hamburgers that remain utterly pristine thanks to the presence of untold stabilizers and preservatives. And the media tends to offer up these stories with delightful regularity, whether it’s a decade-old cheeseburger in Reykjavik purchased from Iceland’s last remaining McDonald’s (shuttered in 2009) or an Australian Quarter Pounder from a quarter century ago that’s sitting pretty in Adelaide, racking up Facebook likes. Today, another player has entered the game: a video of a perfect-looking 1996 McDonald’s hamburger and small order of French fries recently posted to TikTok.
The grandmother of TikTok user @aly.sherb is happy (even excited!) to share her shoebox labeled “HAMBURGER,” in which she keeps the burger and fries tucked inside their original McDonald’s paper bag. The bag itself is a bit of a time capsule, as it’s printed with an advertisement for a 1996 NASCAR race, thus proving its authenticity—the equivalent of a cinematic time traveler spotting a copy of today’s newspaper.
Inside the wrapping is exactly what we’ve come to expect from these delightful reveals: a burger that looks pretty much the way it did when it was packaged by (perhaps) a teenage McDonald’s employee who is now (perhaps) in their forties.
“The bread has never molded, the meat has never rotted,” says the woman on camera as she pulls apart the burger to demonstrate its resilience. “It’s never even broken—it’s completely intact.”
The video is posted with the hashtag #decadechallenge, which hopefully means many, many more TikTok videos shall soon surface depicting unsullied McDonald’s food from the Clinton administration. How many people’s grandparents have undertaken similar shoebox experiments?