How old is that burger?
I have a story that NEEDS to be shared…
I recently attended a local PTA Council meeting and went to a special session on “Health & Nutrition”…The presenter began by asking everyone to pass around a plate that held a McDonald’s hamburger and Burger King fries….When I was the (un)lucky recipient of the plate my stomach churned even more than expected. Everything looked dried out and completely unappetizing… as if they had been sitting in a low-heat oven for a few hours.
After the plate made its rounds, the presenter asked for thoughts about the “age” of the food. Guesses ranged from a few hours to a few days.
Guess what? That burger & fries were four and a half years old… yes, I said YEARS!
They had never been frozen, never been refrigerated, never received special “treatment”… they just sit around in their original containers.
The point? There was no mold, no decay, no visible bacteria, no growing “green fuzzies”. Nothing.
Again I say, eeuw.
Just another reason why, if one must eat burgers and fries (and yes, I totally admit I sometimes love a good burger), making them yourself is a much better idea. As I’ve said before, the whole balancing act of the household nutritional gatekeeper is about on the one hand providing healthy and nutritious food for one’s family, and on the other providing it in such a way that they won’t immediately run out to the nearest MickeyDee’s the second they are out from under your thumb.
(A curious thing happened to me, an avowed chocoholic, when I got my first really good Swiss milk chocolate bar–I think it was a Lindt bar with whole hazelnuts, a ginormous thing. I absolutely fell in love with my first experiences of Good Chocolate and even overdid it a bit at the time…but since then, Hershey bars and Milky Way and their entire ilk just hold no appeal for me at all. That is the nutritional gatekeeper principle I’m talking about applying to our families here.)
Burgers are burgers, hot dogs are hot dogs–although lots of the health and environmental impact (remembering that there’s pretty much no way to make beef a “good” environmental choice) can be mitigated by paying attention to where the meat comes from and how much preservative Goo may be added. (We get a brand of hot dogs with no preservatives and only about seven ingredients, from Trader Joe’s, but there are lots of choices.) And if you look around the internet, lots of people have their own advice regarding how to make a “fast food” burger at home. My new mission is to figure out how to make really good oven-baked french “fries.” I’m not there yet, but it’ll happen, wait and see. Ditto the sought-after Chicken Tender–the kids can still detect the homemade ones a mile away.
What I did start doing, once I got really sick of the icky smell of canned non-stick cooking sprays, was to abandon them entirely and either use straight vegetable or seed oil (takes only about half a teaspoon to grease a loaf pan, if you use clean hands to spread it around the surface rather than a towel or something else it will soak into) or my own homemade cooking spray. You can look on the net and find tons of opinions on how it’s best done, but it basically comes down to a couple of tablespoons of oil in 8 ounces of water, in a clean spray bottle. Store in the fridge (because oil and water together scream “resort town!” to bacterial nasties) and shake well before using, and there you are.
It’s a little thing, of course…but every little step, right?
(Okay, now I hear that hazelnut chocolate bar calling me from the kitchen cabinet…)