There’s compelling new evidence that petrified McDonald’s French fries may act as effective home insulation. Last month, a couple discovered a half-eaten bag of Golden Arches spuds stuffed inside the wall of their home just outside of Chicago—and seemingly not much worse for the wear.
According to CNN, Rob and Grace Jones were busy remodeling their home in Crystal Lake, Illinois, when Rob pulled out an old bathroom toilet paper fixture. Behind the fixture and inside the wall was some kind of object wrapped in a towel. Because it was in the wall, the Jones family thought it might be something sinister.
“We were expecting the worst,” Grace Jones told NBC News. “We were both like, ‘Oh, my gosh, we’re going to be unveiling a cold case here.’ I was shielding my kids in case there was any dried blood.”
What was inside was even worse: an ancient McDonald’s takeout bag.
Inside the bag were two hamburger wrappers—with no trace of hamburger—and a bag of fries, which was still half-full. The fries didn’t appear to be suffering from any age or rotting—they were brown, crispy, and still firm, though Rob Jones said they smelled of “old must.”
Because the wrappers and bag sported the Speedee chef mascot, the meal must have been consumed during or shortly after the home’s construction in 1959. McDonald’s retired the character in 1962 to avoid confusion with Alka-Seltzer’s mascot Speedy. Why someone would simply shove it inside a wall remains a mystery.
McDonald’s food has often been in the news for its incredible preservation properties. In 2020, a woman claimed she had kept a hamburger and fries from the restaurant since 1996 without the bread molding or the food breaking apart. That same year, a Utah man alleged that a McDonald’s hamburger forgotten in a coat pocket hasn’t aged since it was purchased in 1999.
A McDonald’s representative in Utah responded to the latter story, saying that “In the right environment, our burgers, like most other foods, could decompose. As the story alludes to—in order to decompose, you need certain conditions—specifically moisture. Without sufficient moisture—either in the food itself or the environment—bacteria and mold may not grow and therefore, decomposition is unlikely … The reality is our burgers are made with 100 percent USDA inspected beef. There are no preservatives or fillers in our patties and the only thing ever added is a touch of salt and pepper on the grill.”
The Joneses are currently mulling over the possibility of selling the bags and fries if there’s collector interest.