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Thread: Cheeseburger Fries: New Junk WE don't need

  1. #1

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    An article in today's New York Times describes a new 'food' (I use that word loosely) that has recently been marketed in a few areas... after having recently been INVENTED. Here's the article. Remember gang -- this food does not occur naturally -- they invented it, and they are now going to shove it down our throats... and create a market for it.

    Cheeseburger and Fries, Wrapped Up in One
    By TANIA RALLI


    f the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has its way, beef will not be just for dinner anymore.

    Looking to emulate the success of Chicken McNuggets and fried mozzarella sticks, the group is hoping to inject some red meat into the American snack food diet with cheeseburger fries. The fries, which look like a squat version of standard French fries, are made of a meat-and-cheese compound that tastes — as the name suggests — like a cheeseburger.

    Breaded, then deep-fried and served with ketchup or barbecue sauce, cheeseburger fries have found their way onto menus in several states including Nebraska, Minnesota and Texas since June. There is also a version being made available to public school cafeterias.

    "The challenge is getting people to think of other ways to eat beef," said Betty Hogan, director of new product development for the association.

    Beef, mostly in the form of hamburger, still dominates the menus of fast-food restaurants and bars across the country. But even the enduring popularity of the hamburger is not enough to counteract the long-term decline in national beef consumption. Twenty years ago Americans ate 77.1 pounds of beef per capita and 51.3 pounds of chicken. In 2001, the figures were 66.2 pounds of beef per capita and 75.6 pounds of chicken.

    That reversal took place in part because of the popularity of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets, which were introduced in 1983, altering the public's perception of chicken by turning it into a quick and convenient food. Beef was still largely relegated to the evening meal, and the National Beef Council's popular slogan — "Beef: It's What's for Dinner" — seemed out of step when fewer families were sitting down to dinner together.

    Looking for other avenues into the American diet, the beef industry noticed that restaurants sell over 900 million portions of chicken strips and fried cheese sticks, many of them as appetizers.

    "You just don't see beef-based appetizers," Rob McLaughlin, vice president for product management at the Advance Food Company in Enid, Okla., which is manufacturing cheeseburger fries.

    The fries themselves are surprisingly light, weighing only about one ounce each. The meat, so that it holds together, is firm like a meatball. And while the taste is not distinctly beef, biting into one does impart the lingering flavoring of processed cheese.

    Steve Mason, owner of the Brass Rail restaurant in Beatrice, Neb., said he served five fries in a portion and charged $2.95. "They're very profitable," he added.

    Like most bar snacks, cheeseburger fries pack quite a dietary wallop. Each individual fry has about 75 calories and four grams of fat. The fries for schools have less beef per serving but still have about 60 calories and, in fact, more fat — a total of 6 grams — in each fry. And nobody eats just one.

    Developing a beef-based snack was a process that took about two years. According to Dr. Tony Mata, the technical coordinator of the association's research and development branch, the final shape of cheeseburger fries was almost an accident. "There's an interesting twist to how this product came about," he said. "We were actually working on a cheeseburger by the slice."

    The idea had been to manufacture precooked patties that tasted like a cheeseburger by combining ground beef and cheese.
    "It was supposed to have the same dimension of a regular hamburger patty," Dr. Mata said. The consumer would simply heat the burger in a pan or microwave, place it in a bun, and dress it like a regular burger.

    "It looked good on paper," Dr. Mata said. "Then we tried it at the laboratory, and the initial appeal was horrible."
    Dr. Mata and the development group decided to rework the product, changing its shape, adding batter and bread and dropping it into the deep fryer.

    The new prototype was tested in Evanston, Ill., at the Keg of Evanston, a popular bar near Northwestern University. Satisfied with the response, the association enlisted a food scientist, Steve Moore, who is known in the business for his expertise in developing breaded coatings. In the past Mr. Moore worked on breading projects like onion rings, jalapeño peppers, seafood and even French toast sticks (in effect, adding breading to bread).

    "I started the project by putting a variety of flavors together with coatings," Mr. Moore said about the cheeseburger fries.

    He likened the coating process to walking a tightrope, since the moisture of the meat and cheese must be carefully controlled for the breading to adhere. Otherwise, when the product is deep-fried, the heat of the oil will produce enough steam to blow off the breading.

    "You always follow wet by dry," he said. So, before the meat and cheese could be battered and breaded, the shaped mixture had to be coated in a fine flourlike substance called predust to dry the surface of the moist mixture.

    Picking the right cheese was also an issue. Mr. Moore tested everything from premium sharp cheddar cheese to processed American cheese.

    "We didn't want it so cheesy that we overwhelmed the beef flavor," he said.

    "When people bite into it, you want them to get the wow effect: `Wow, this tastes just like a cheeseburger,' " Mr. Moore said.

    After testing different types of cheeses, Mr. Moore settled on a processed restricted-melt cheese, meaning that it is manufactured to withstand high temperatures.

    "Some cheeses are so restricted melt that we bit in and it looked like little yellow pieces of plastic," he said.

    He created three flavor profiles. The first tasted like plain beef with salt and pepper. Then he made a prototype mimicking the flavor of beef fried on a flat-top grill, as at McDonald's, and another that suggested a charbroiled flavor, like a Burger King hamburger.

    Tasters like the charbroiled flavor, but said it did not make sense to have something like that also taste deep-fried.

    "It's hard to please everyone," Mr. Moore said.

    When Advance Food began producing the cheeseburger fries at the beginning of the year under license from the cattlemen's association, the company limited distribution to the central states but the product is now available across the country.

    "We think that we will sell about a million dollars' worth this year," Mr. McLaughlin said.

    All this, of course, pleases the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "We want beef in dessert if we can get it there," Ms. Hogan said.
    SW:197 GW:152 CW:148 Height: 5'6<br />Been at goal since July 1999<br />If I can do it, ANYone can.

  2. #2
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    Where's that puke graemlin when you need it... [img]graemlins/ugh.gif[/img]
    273.8/266.8/164
    restart 1 November 14

  3. #3
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    That sounds SO disgusting. Sad thing is, a nice, juicy, unadulterated steak is so tasty (to me anyway). It's so hard to find anything that hasn't been injected with SOMETHING - even the boneless, skinless chicken breast in the grocery store is sometimes injected with a "flavor solution" (i.e. salt water) to make it taste better - shame, too, because it's much less expensive per pound than the "regular" chicken (then again, I'd be paying $2.99/lb for water...)

    I remember being in grade school when they had the lesson on nutrition and additives and told us about all the crud that goes into most ice creams - yuck. (I now think it was a secret marketing ploy by Breyers to get all the 8-9-and-10-year-olds to go home and tell their parents to buy only Breyers all-natural ice cream.)

    The more I read about processed food, the more I vow to stay as close to natural as possible.
    Calgal
    Lifetime 3/22/01 174 (preWW)/166(sw)/131

    Trying again after baby #1:
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    Here we go again after baby #2:
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  4. #4
    FirstCavWife Guest

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    Paris Madeleine, this Pukey's for you!


    And as far as grade school goes...I don't think they HAD all those yuck things in ice cream back when I went to grade school!!! LOL
    It IS really scary how they have all these chemicals that taste like something. It seems that they could take a pile of elephant dung and add this and that to it and it would make it taste good.
    -Dawn

  5. #5
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    The whole topic is annoying because we should be able to eat what we want. Stop trying to lure us to your foods!!! I love beef but, we do eat more chicken. I won't be ordering these anytime soon. They sound really gross anyways uke:
    Amy-SAHM of 4

    HW: 217
    CW: 217

    Starting WW's new plan (again for the millionth time) 1/2/12


  6. #6
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    YIKES!!! This sounds disgusting! The idea isn't too gross its just the fact that they are using chemicals and junk to make it taste like a cheese burger. I think a better idea is to make mini cheeseburgers and serve those as an appetizer instead of these nasty processed things. I think Burger King used to have the mini burgers, they were cute.

    It kinds of reminds me of the deep fried candy bars. They saw them at the fair and I almost puked!

    Tam
    TBONE<br />*** *** *** ***<br />Do what you say, say what you mean.<br /> The Fix<br />Ya Ya Name<br />Viscountess Quick Rabbit <br /> <br />GW Size 8 Petite, Loosely! <br /><br />My Personal Goal: Lose inches, exercise 3-4 days a week and be HAPPY with who I am!

  7. Post

    You know something is wrong when the 'initial' taste of the concoction was ... what was the word they used? HORRIBLE? It sounds gross. Also
    There is also a version being made available to public school cafeterias
    I went to school with my daughter for Breakfast once. That experience coupled with stuff like I just read is why I send her lunch with her now. Ok its not the BEST but its sure BETTER.

    Tiff

  8. #8

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    Isn't it incredible what they're shoving down our throats? How many of you know that McDonald's hamburgers, while all beef, are still artificially flavored with an additional beef flavored 'extract' (i.e., chemical additive) to make them taste better because they're so over processed?

    I'm glad this provoked you all into thinking -- and understanding what the giant food corporations are doing to us. Nice going... to all of you for that response.

    Now, let's get to goal and stay at goal and fight for good decent unfooledaroundwith food!
    SW:197 GW:152 CW:148 Height: 5'6<br />Been at goal since July 1999<br />If I can do it, ANYone can.

  9. #9
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    What seems funny to me, is that if McDs announced that is was using fresh, unprocessed ingredients, I would get there in a minute! I think they would get more business. People who don't care would still eat there and people who hate junk food might start going there.
    Amy-SAHM of 4

    HW: 217
    CW: 217

    Starting WW's new plan (again for the millionth time) 1/2/12


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