Skip

Burger myths
December 9, 2010 12:00 PM   Subscribe

A Hamburger Today addresses the phenomenon of the undying McDonald's burger using SCIENCE!. As seen previously on Metafilter.
posted by Dim Siawns (21 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mmm, burger-jerky. Damn interesting, and we were just talking about this at work last week!
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2010


I don't have a dog in this fight either way. I really couldn't care less whether or not the McDonald's burger rotted or didn't. I don't often eat their burgers, and will continue to not often eat their burgers. My problem is not with McDonald's. My problem is with bad science.

I love you, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:14 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Best part:
At this point, it's been 25 days, 23 calm, cool, and collected discussions with my wife about whether that smell in the apartment is coming from the burgers or from the dog, and 16 nights spent sleeping on the couch in the aftermath of those calm, cool, and collected discussions.
posted by nomadicink at 12:19 PM on December 9, 2010


Kenji's Burger Lab articles are always really interesting reads. See also: cheese sauce, animal-style double-double, and how to make a delicious turkey burger (spoilers: eggplant, anchovies, soy sauce, marmite)
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:32 PM on December 9, 2010


Interesting. Of course if the meat he used in the experiment is sourced from the same suppliers as McD's meat, one might expect similar outcomes.

And still, it doesn't explain what's going on with the 1996 burger. Is that person lying or what? I mean obviously burger's aren't "chemical food," or whatever nonsense she's got going on there, but either she's lying about the age of her burger, or something isn't right with the experiment in the OP.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 12:32 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


And still, it doesn't explain what's going on with the 1996 burger. Is that person lying or what?

Considering the dogma at the link, I'm voting for "crazy with a bit of fibbing thrown in".
posted by nomadicink at 12:37 PM on December 9, 2010


Lopez-Alt's theory is that there's not enough moisture in the burger to foster mold growth. Hanrahan's burger is a lot older, but that doesn't mean it's any moister. I have wooden furniture from '96 that also isn't molding, despite being made from 100% non-chemically-treated organic material. Mold rots things that have higher moisture content than wood, or, in this case, a largely-dehydrated burger.

FULL DISCLOSURE LOPEZ-ALT'S FRIES ARE FUCKING WONDERFUL
posted by Greg Nog at 12:38 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not following you, r_n. How is the post linked in the OP inconsistent with the 1996 burger?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2010


Crying on the Inside: A Clown's Journey from the Cotton Fields of Kansas to Global Imperial Icon.

In 1924, Ronald McDonald was born a poor rural carnival clown in a tent behind the midway, somewhere on the outskirts of Dubuque, Iowa. His parents, Lithuanian immigrants Ida Mae McDonald, and her husband Theobold Dexter McDonald were itinerant clowns on the early mid-west rodeo and carnival circuit, during the corn-shucking off-season, touring frequently with Dr. Troubador's Majickal Tincture Remedy and Amazing Festival of World-Renowned Exotic Delights.

Ronald followed in his parents' footsteps from an early age, joining their Miniature Pony act at the tender age of four-and-a-half. But even in those tender years, young Ronald, the humble son of immigrant clowns, wanted more. Though his early education consisted entirely of Bible instruction at the knee of his stern and uncompromising mother, and the occasional "instructional ass-whupping" at the hands of his often drunken father, the yearning teen Ronald soon found succor under the tutelage of master hypnotist and sleight-of-hand artist, The Invincible Gugliermo, who also toured for a time with the DTMTR & AFWRED. As fate would have it, he was soon to befriend the young Ray Kroc, himself the son of a Latvian immigrant freak-show barker, who also labored under the mystical tent as assistant to the aforementioned Invincible Gugliermo. Encouraging one-another in their interest for the Arcane Arts, the two teens thenceforth set upon a plan for world domination.

Their plans would soon be interrupted by World War II, during which Ronald was drafted and served without distinction as a galley-mate on the Naval supply and troop-carrier, USS Incunabula. This would prove fortuitous, though, as it was in the Navy where Ronald had his first opportunity for incorporating his knowledge of the Arcane Arts into the production of foodstuffs. Under the watchful eye of esteemed naval chef Sam "Greasy Jack" Krawczyk, the maturing Ronald would achieve mastery of shredded, frozen beef by-product preparation. From deep within the bowels of the Incunabula, Ronald would soon be working his gastronomic majick over shipload upon shipload of greenhorn troops, who, if they survived the depredations of Okinawa or Guadalcanal, would find themselves returning home to American soil with an inexplicable craving.

During the war years, young Mr. Kroc was no idler, either. In fact, some say that it was his devotion to the Black Arts, blindly and without distraction during this period that allowed him to eventually gain the upper hand over Ronald upon their reunion in early 1946. What seemed to be a partnership at first, born of their mutual greed and desire to do evil, soon saw Kroc gaining the upper-hand over Ronald, when he perfected his hypnotic monument, the Golden Arches. All across the land, returning war veterans found themselves drawn moth-like to the broiler flame below them, but it was Kroc who would reap the rewards, while Ronald found himself relegated to the task of playing clown for the sake of hypnotizing the children of their adult customers.

Despite his global influence upon impressionable adolescents, in the end, Ronald's deep-rooted desire for power and global pre-frozen foodstuffs domination was denied him by the one man he had ever called a friend, and his life ended tragically under the wheels of a dry goods delivery truck in 1972, in the dirty suburbs of South Chicago. With his fleeting dreams thus crushed, Ronald, the happy-faced clown, was forever destined to be crying on the inside.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:42 PM on December 9, 2010 [16 favorites]


Whoa it's almost like salt preserves food
posted by hamida2242 at 1:22 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


But now how will I feel superior to other people by being "scientifically" dismissive of their food choices? </snark>
posted by hijinx at 2:02 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whoa it's almost like salt preserves food

In general yes, especially if large amounts of salt are used. In this particular instance, RTFA:

"Well, here's another piece of evidence: Burger number 6, made with no salt, did not rot either, indicating that the salt level has nothing to do with it."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:21 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Odd, I'm not exactly shocked the meat doesn't rot, but no mold on the bread? All my bread gets covered in mold in a week, they could make a fortune on that shit!
posted by Ad hominem at 6:42 PM on December 9, 2010


Given that he's suggesting dehydration to be the cause of preservation, I think the climate and season plays a large role. Carrying out the experiment at this time of the year will probably result in faster dehydration since the air is probably dryer (especially indoors with the heater on). I should try this out here in the tropics; pretty sure the burger will get moldy in a few days given the humidity.
posted by destrius at 7:31 PM on December 9, 2010


And that's why my one inch thick prime rib jerky never took off.
posted by furtive at 9:02 PM on December 9, 2010


Interesting how a couple commenters lost their shit over this little experiment. How invested does one have to be in the notion that McDonalds is teh evil, to start accusing the Serious Eats blogger (and a mycologist blogger who got similar results) with being paid goons for Big Hamburger?
posted by 2N2222 at 10:32 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, tough crowd.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:56 AM on December 10, 2010


We don't mold.
posted by nomadicink at 8:11 AM on December 10, 2010


Well, see if I write you any more burger myths.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:33 AM on December 10, 2010


This is the burger that breaks the mold.
posted by zippy at 5:15 PM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


DR, I was wondering how it is that the OP burger had mold within a few weeks; yet the 1996 burger has apparently not developed any mold at all.
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 10:29 AM on December 11, 2010


« Older The other side of the curtain   |   Just hopping freights doesn't... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post