Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weekend Cooking...You Are Not My Old Friend!

..and I'm not Lovin It!

In the past, I have written that some of the foods I sample were all for you, my dear readers. The Coconut Chocolates, the Lobster Rolls, the Clam Chowder...the Beer.
OK, I may have been exaggerating a wee bit.
But this time, I am telling the truth!
I did this totally in the spirit of science.
This was a true experiment.
I did it just for you, my dear readers.
And I will not do it again.

See, I was reading an article on The Salt, NPR's Food blog. It was called From Nebraska Lab to McDonald's Tray: The McRib's Strange Journey.
Now, I rarely eat fast food, and I had never had a McRib.
But first, the recent McRib commercial got my attention. You know the one, where the couple is getting on the plane to go on their honeymoon and he gets a text that the McRib is back. Her comment "I married a 14 year old" is the punch line. But what really got my attention was the actress...she is the same girl that does the commercial for the Toyota Vensa where she says "I read an article...well, part of an" So True. Then she also does the commercial where she is shopping for jeans online and her mom says there is no needs.  She, the mom, has lots of old jeans in her old jean box she can have, nice and roomy!..funny.

So my point is, that is the only reason I heard the McRib commercial and knew it "was BACK!" And it is the reason I read about the "technology" that lead to the McRib's creation.
"The pork producers wanted to see more pork on the menu, and they were targeting McDonald's," Mandigo said.
Mandigo went to work in the lab and came up with a new take on an old-fashioned technology: sausage-making. Instead of just stuffing pork meat inside a casing, Mandigo used salt to extract proteins from the muscle. Those proteins become an emulsifier "to hold all the little pieces of meat together," he says.
...Mandigo's invention of what's called "restructured meats" was important enough to earn him induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

Restructured meat indeed. Like a flat, casing-less sausage made of "pork trimmings". Care to think about what those trimmings might be? Well, they include things like...
"tripe, heart and scalded stomach, which is then mixed with salt and water to extract proteins from the muscle. The proteins bind all the pork trimmings together so that it can be re-molded into any specific shape — in this case, a fake slab of ribs."

Then there is the story, which is true, that the McRib has 70 ingredients. OK, that is a bit misleading because most of them, 34, are in the "bun".
"The ingredients include such things as azodicarbonamide, ammonium sulfate and polysorbate. Azodicarbonamide is found in the McRib bun and is also used in the process to make foam plastic; much like what gym mats are made of. The use of this component is banned in other countries outside of America because of a belief that exposure to the substance may cause asthma. The U.S. limits the amount of it in flour products based on their findings in lab testings."

OK, I read that after I actually ate one.
I made the stop at Mickey D's just for this test.

What did I think of it?
It doesn't look that bad, does it.
Well, the onion was nice...and the pickles were OK. It was downhill from there. The bun..totally unmemorable. You have to wonder what all those ingredients are possibly for. The BBQ sauce would not have been bad if there was not so much of it, but then I may have been able to see the meat byproduct patty.And that might not have been a good thing.
The patty, had no real taste or texture and is as far from real pork as Ronald McDonald is from a creepy clown. Oh no...wait..they are actually the same thing! But this is so unlike pork that it could have been anything.
I have had a pork sandwich and this is not it.

I am not a vegan, not even a vegetarian. I do eat meat.
OK, I like meat. But even I have my limits.
And I have met them.
This is not meat..and I am not sure it was a bun.
Will I be having a McRib in the future?
Not even for you, my dear readers.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Gag. I haven't tried one. We don't eat fast food more than a few times a year. I am not holier than thou -- I eat fats and sweets and meets and chips. But I don't like reconstituted fake things. I appreciate that you tried this -- you are a better woman than I am. Now go out and rent Super-Size Me. You'll find it hard to walk into McDonald's again.

  2. Yuck!!! Just looking at all that sauce would make me sick. After reading about the ingredients, I don't think I would even try these. If we want to have fast food (and that is rare) we pick Wendy's. I love their baked potatoes.

  3. Years ago there was a court case involving McDonalds and the judge's lenghty opinion made reference to the "McFrankenstein" creation of ingredients that is the chicken McNugget.

    I'm a vegetarian so McDonalds is not on my radar screen -- I think the last time I went in was when my daughter was little and she's now 19.

    Hope you recover this weekend with some nice home cooked real food :)

  4. I’m glad you did that we don’t have to. I wasn’t going to rush out and try one anywy, but now I will make a detour to escape even going near the place! Thank you for your self-sacrifice.

  5. You really went the extra mile!
    McRib is one I never had an urge to try. But give me an Arby's beef and cheddar, and I'm in! Then I can wait another five years!

  6. You're far braver than I am! I don't think I could stomach that at all!

  7. ha-ha! Great post! I am proud to stand up say "I have NEVER eaten a McRib" ... there is not a darn thing about that sandwich that I find appealling and your post confirms my resolve to avoid at all cost! :)
    Have a great weekend!

  8. Pork scraps? Nothing wrong with that, just don't read the ingredients if you're of a delicate sensibility (eg.pork snouts, liver,etc.). In sausage? Sure, but scrapple is a treat! Crispy slices on toast with a dab of ketchup is perfect. Unfortunately, scrapple is a product apparently unknown beyond about 60 miles from the "Pennsylvania Dutch" center of Lancaster, Pa.

  9. Great post! I am not much of a fast food eater because of the way they process their food. I just about died when I read somewhere online the ingredient list for this sandwich! Some people think they are the best thing ever gag! :)

  10. Was just talking about this sandwich the other night, and I too have never tried one, and now, think I'll pass again! Thanks for taking one for the team!!! :)

  11. When you put it like that, combined with the thought of, "Do the workers ever wash their hands?" I never feel like eating fast food again. (And, I have to admit, I've loved it in my life!)

    Today I'm making lasagne with a red wine sauce, homemade rolls, applesauce and a gingerbread. Can you tell whose family loves their starches? :)

  12. I felt ill just reading about how they created the restructured meat. Even if I ate pork, I'd take a pass on this. Yuck.

  13. Oh man... I admit I had to stop reading after I got to "restructured meat". Ick... Safe to say that a McRib will never pass my lips after seeing that. *shudder*

    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography on etsy and Society6 and bring home something beautiful today!

  14. I appreciate your sacrifice. I will stay far away from that "product."

  15. Funny you should say that...those new commercials have almost persuaded me to go out and try my first McRib ever, too. And now I've changed my mind back to my original stance. It's no longer tempting. Thank you!! ...but it totally does look good on the commercial.

  16. I am sure eating one will not kill you, but what seriously concerns me is people that eat this stuff every day.

    But yes Mickey, I must admit I do still like scrapple. I am not as concerned about the bits and pieces, as I am all those chemicals.

  17. There was so much hassle about this product that the news even reached the Netherlands. Our McD isn't allowed to sell it though which is a good thing. It is so sad what the producers put in our food nowadays.

  18. I'm with Mary-Kate...EW! Anything food wise messed around with by man is off my list, those are the things that kill you! As in margarine and homogenizing milk. Stick to fresh and natural!

  19. I have never understood the McRib craze. Now I understand it even less. Thanks for this enlightening post.

  20. We eat plenty of ribs in the when the McRib was first introduced, I was suspicious of its suspicious that I've never eaten one...and I surely never will now.

  21. Thank you for doing this research for all of us. I didn't plan to even try a McRib but now I know it'll NEVER happen!!

    Sadly, all I can think of is all the students at my school that adore fast food and eat it because it is what their family can afford.

  22. Hi caite,
    Ok that's just disgusting. My stomach is protesting just from reading about that sandwich. Ew.

    p.s. I'm a NJ blogger, too! :)

  23. You're braver than I am!


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