Burger Wars: The Final Casualty"
As the primary documenter of the great Burger Wars that racked the nation for so many years, Gerôme was careful not to take sides in the dispute. His Burger Wars series is a model of restraint, from the first work, "The King is Dead," showing the defeated burger-meister king sprawled against a flame-broiled grill after having been cut down in his prime by a well-placed thrust from young Wendy, champion of the house of Dave Thomas.
The painting shown here represents the last in the cycle. Although Ronald, scion of the fiefdom of McDonald, had defeated all challengers (see Gerôme's "Chucky's Last Cheese-off" and the neo-Romantic "A Hardee Farewell"), he was brought down ignominiously by "Mom" of Mom's Homestyle Burgers, a minor franchise owned by the Chicfila family of Brooklyn, New York.
The otherwise unidentified "Mom" can be seen behind the main figures clutching her head in horror and astonishment at having slain the great Ronald with a lucky cleaver-stroke. In a poetic finale, she and her family renounced the crown and declared their intention to become vegetarians. Their subsequent endeavor, Tofu-a-Go-Go, failed utterly and remains a footnote in the history of fast food, known but to scholars.