If a lack of options forced you into McDonald’s during a road trip, you may have had the experience of discovering a remarkably intact and pristine-looking French fry while cleaning out your car months later. This impressive food mummification technique seems to be one that McDonald’s has mastered not just for fries, but for burgers, too!

New York artist Sally Davies illustrates McDonald’s magic all too well in her McDonald’s Happy Meal Project. Her idea: To buy a Happy Meal and photograph it every day until it disintegrates. Sally is now more than 140 days into her project — and both the burger and fries are nowhere near disintegration. (via GOOD / Refinery 29)

I’m not surprised that the fries are doing so well. Aside from post-road trip fry finding observations, I’ve seen McDonald’s fries defy the ravages of time in other experiments. Watch the bonus features of "Supersize Me", for example, and you’ll see Morgan Spurlock enthusiastically documenting the pristine preservation of McDonald’s fries for many a day. In that feature though, Morgan also documents the relatively quick disintegration of a number of McDonald’s burgers bought the same time as the fries. Those grow mold and stink up the experiment room — so much so that an intern is given the task of throwing out the burgers — at which time the fries are also thrown out by accident.

So the fact that the “meat” in the Happy Meal hamburger doesn’t seem to do what real meat tends to do outside the freezer is surprising to me — and scary, too. Perhaps if the backlash against Happy Meals gets too harsh, McDonald’s can market whatever they put in those burgers as the new Botox!

Also on MNN: Happy Meals: The forever food

McDonald's Happy Meal defies time
A New York artist documents the strangely resilient nature of McDonald's Happy Meals. What keeps those fries looking so fresh?