Wednesday, January 18, 2012

the burger that refused to die...,

windsorstar | Whenever Melanie Hesketh's kids get a hankering for junk food, all she has to do is point to the kitchen counter.

That's where she keeps an unwrapped cheeseburger that celebrates its birthday Thursday, and it looks pretty much the same as the day it came off a McDonald's grill 12 months ago.

Mould, maggots, fungi, bacteria — all have avoided the tempting meal that sits in plain view.

"Obviously it makes me wonder why we choose to eat food like this when even bacteria won't eat it," said Hesketh.

The meat patty has shrunk a bit, but it still looks edible and, with a faint but lingering greasy, leathery odour, she said it "still smells slightly like a burger . . . it hasn't changed much."

As a professional nutritionist at Windsor's Lifetime Wellness Centre, Hesketh was already armed with the education and all the proper facts and information to steer her children — ages 13 and 15 — toward the best food choices.

But what self-respecting teen is going to listen to well-meaning lectures from mom, especially on a product sold by the millions annually?

The Internet and social media are filled with tales of fast-food products made for quick consumption but seemingly immune to the ravages of time, and that's how Hesketh got the idea on how best to educate her own kids.

It's worked marvellously. Despite peer pressure to hang out at the cheap and fast burger chain outlets popular with young people, Hesketh said her oldest son has been back "maybe twice" to McDonald's over the past year.

"It's made him more aware, and he makes better choices, definitely," said Hesketh.

The experience has triggered other healthy changes around the Hesketh household, including the family's decision this year to create a garden and start growing some of their own fresh food.

The tough cheeseburger travels well and Hesketh has brought it to work to show off to those, like her teens, who need visuals for extra convincing.

"It's a great eye opener . . . We use it to educate our patients that what they're putting into their bodies may not be healthy," she said.

"I think most people who see this are swayed," said Michelle Prince, a chiropractor who runs Lifetime Wellness Centre.

Calls Wednesday to McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Ltd. went unanswered, but the world's top-selling burger chain, whose menu is increasingly populated by healthier meal choices, has lashed out before against similar criticism.

"Despite the myths out there, our meat is very real!" the company says on its website, adding McDonald's Canada "uses only 100 per cent Canadian, CFIA-inspected beef."

The patties are "sprinkled with salt and pepper at the restaurant during cooking. That's it. No additives, fillers or binding agents," the website says.

But Hesketh points to the "astronomical" salt content in many fast food products when asked to explain how a burger can last so long and still look so good. A McDonald's cheeseburger weighs in at 115 grams at the time of cooking, but delivers 200 calories and 750 milligrams of sodium.

Meat patty aside, Prince points to the perfectly preserved bun and the slice of cheese as areas of concern.


John Kurman said...

We do cookouts in a roofed but outdoor patio area here at the college (we put in a work order for a hookup to a "specialty kiln" to get a natural gas fitting for the grill). About four years ago, as a joke, I flipped a piece of Kraft Single processed cheeselike substance up on to the roof, where it stuck. It stayed there for four years exposed to the elements, and then last summer, it fell down, and was pretty much unchanged as from the day it got glommed up there on the ceiling.

If I ever write a horror movie, it shall be called "Night of Kraft Singles". 

CNu said...

The original Star Trek already dealt with what happens when two or more of those cheesoidial sheets get heated and flipped out of sight where they can mate

John Kurman said...

The Star Trek universe had a high abundance of pizza monsters. You got your flying thin crust pizza monster, here's the Chicago deep dish pizza monster, heavy on the sausage:

CNu said...

Monsters of the id...,

John Kurman said...

Yum! Looked like an oyster.

A high gross-out factor is of good survival value.

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