Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good

By Eric Schlosser
Excerpt From Eric Schlosser's 'Fast Food Nation'

THE french fry was "almost sacrosanct for me," Ray Kroc, one of the founders of McDonald's, wrote in his autobiography, "its preparation a ritual to be followed religiously." During the chain's early years french fries were made from scratch every day. Russet Burbank potatoes were peeled, cut into shoestrings, and fried in McDonald's kitchens. As the chain expanded nationwide, in the mid-1960s, it sought to cut labor costs, reduce the number of suppliers, and ensure that its fries tasted the same at every restaurant. McDonald's began switching to frozen french fries in 1966 -- and few customers noticed the difference. Nevertheless, the change had a profound effect on the nation's agriculture and diet. A familiar food had been transformed into a highly processed industrial commodity. McDonald's fries now come from huge manufacturing plants that can peel, slice, cook, and freeze two million pounds of potatoes a day. The rapid expansion of McDonald's and the popularity of its low-cost, mass-produced fries changed the way Americans eat. In 1960 Americans consumed an average of about eighty-one pounds of fresh potatoes and four pounds of frozen french fries. In 2000 they consumed an average of about fifty pounds of fresh potatoes and thirty pounds of frozen fries. Today McDonald's is the largest buyer of potatoes in the United States.

The taste of McDonald's french fries played a crucial role in the chain's success -- fries are much more profitable than hamburgers -- and was long praised by customers, competitors, and even food critics. James Beard loved McDonald's fries. Their distinctive taste does not stem from the kind of potatoes that McDonald's buys, the technology that processes them, or the restaurant equipment that fries them: other chains use Russet Burbanks, buy their french fries from the same large processing companies, and have similar fryers in their restaurant kitchens. The taste of a french fry is largely determined by the cooking oil. For decades McDonald's cooked its french fries in a mixture of about seven percent cottonseed oil and 93 percent beef tallow. The mixture gave the fries their unique flavor -- and more saturated beef fat per ounce than a McDonald's hamburger.



Because Everyone In Canada Lives In An Igloo.

I can’t believe what some people think of Canada. I just don’t get it, do folks out there really struggle to understand new cultures or different places in the world.

Now that Vancouver has won the chance to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, these are some questions people from all over the world are asking. Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website. Obviously the answers are a joke; but the questions were really asked!

Q:I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow?( England )
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q:Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? ( USA )
A: Depends on how much you’ve been drinking.

Q:I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto -can I follow the Railroad tracks? ( Sweden )
A: Sure, it’s only Four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q:Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada ? ( Sweden )
A: So it’s true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM’s (cash machines) in Canada ? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto , Vancouver , Edmonton and Halifax ? ( England )
A: What, did your last slave die?

Q:Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada ? ( USA )
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe .. Ca-na-da is that big country to your North…oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary . Come naked.

Q:Which direction is North in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees Contact us when you get here and we’ll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada ?( England )
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do .

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? ( USA )
A: Aus-t ri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is…oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary , straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada ? ( Germany )
A: No, WE don’t stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada ?( USA )
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? ( Italy )
A: Yes, gay nightclubs ..

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round?( Germany )
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada , but I forget its name. It’s a kind of big horse with horns. ( USA )
A: It’s called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? ( USA )
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.


We Will Rock Them

How Canada can achieve Winter Olympic domination in 10 easy steps

By Mark Schatzker

In little more than a year, athletes from around the world will be coming to Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympics. And when they arrive, they'll meet a new, performance-enhanced Canada. In 2010 - and in the Winter Games beyond - Canadians will savour the taste of victory. We will vanquish the foreign hordes. Canada will reign supreme. But only by following this plan.

1. The passive sounding name "Dominion of Canada" must be retired. Instead, when visitors land in Vancouver, they will enter The Canadian Dominion of Total Domination.

2. Every morning, citizens will sing a revised national anthem that reflects the motivational spirit off all Canadians: "O Canada/Our home and winning land/We will prevail/And victory will be grand/.."

3. School curricula will be reduced to two classes: sports and sports massage. Traditional scholastic grading systems (e.g. 72%. B-) will be replaced with a gold/silver/bronze system. Students will be encouraged to "medal," and anyone not placing in the top three will be called out as "eggheads" and "wimps" by their teachers, a message parents will reinforce at home. Youths below the 90th percentile in athletic ability will be encouraged to donate their bodies to protein bars.

4. All breakfast cereals will be fortified with wolf protein, stem cells and muskox growth hormone. The Children's Aid Society will investigate parents who serve pasta for dinner followed by high-carb desserts and put their children into low-glycemic foster care. The use of horse steroids on actual racehorses will be strictly forbidden, thus ensuring an adequate supply for the children.

5. Not doping will be "the new doping". Random blood samples will be taken from youths. Anyone found with a hemoglobin count of less than 60 per cent will be sent to the Northwest Territories for athletic re-education. They will be taught curling.

6. Legislation will be enacted that forces all teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 to use cross-country skis as their sole method of non-motorized transportation, even during the summer, and even for climbing stairs or taking the escalator. Shooting targets will be affixed to stop signs and street lamps so that these Canadians may "live the biathlon".

7. Any car that stops at a red light, and that has passengers under the age of 25, must accelerate in the bobsled style. The passenger must stand outside the car, push it to speed, then jump in and crouch down with their heads between their knees.

8. To ensure domination of ski jumping, the team will be made up of children aged four to seven - small enough to allow the skis to generate lift, letting each jumper glide off into nearby valleys powered by rising thermals. (Their birth certificates will be altered by Chinese government officials.)

9. Athletes caught cheating will be sent to the Figure Skating Judgement Academy - a $400 million-facility to be erected in Ottawa - so that they may perfect their technique. Canadian coaches will visit figure-skating-judging schools in Russia and France to study cutting-edge methods of corruption.

10. During the Vancouver Games, any visiting athlete who medals will be tasered.

(From Explore Magazine, Page 19, Winter 2008 'Our, um, controversial plan for Olympic glory')


I admit it, I am pro-life. Life is good and I like it. If only I could stop there, the Catholic Church and the rest of the religious right would welcome me with open arms, forgiving me for being a misguided non-believer. However, I cannot stop there and this is where I always get in trouble. It also doesn't help that I do not have any interest in the acceptance of the Catholic Church or the religious right.

To me, being pro-life means that I respect and cherish all life. There are times when the sacrifice of life is necessary in order for another life to survive and that is how nature works. Problems arise when I try to respect and cherish two conflicting lives - the life of a pregnant woman and the potential life she carries. That is where I have to take a step back and support the existing life and the choice she makes over a possibility of life. I have been fortunate enough never to have been forced to make a decision like that regarding my own body but who is to say when circumstances will change? How can I willfully brush aside her intelligence, her experience, and her knowledge of what is best for her situation and force my rosy circumstance on her? Given how my body works, I could have produced at least a dozen healthy babies. Does that mean someone should force me to continue getting pregnant since I seem to be biologically capable of producing healthy life? No, that does not seem right either. So, I cannot in good conscience support forcing another woman to give birth if she is not ready or willing.

I do, however, support all reasonable avenues to reducing the abortion rate here in the U.S. and world-wide. Eliminating it is impossible but improved education and resources have proven to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies while keeping needed medical care for women.

I face the same conundrum when viewing the death penalty or war. On one hand I want a safe society and peace. On the other hand it makes me ill to think that one of the methods used to achieve these ends requires the sacrifice of lives. Again, I feel strongly that education and improved resources will benefit both areas while reducing the number of lives lost.

So, I guess I am a pro-life, pro-choice, pro-education atheist. Oddly enough this particular centrist view often makes me stand out in a crowd - my family and close friends lean toward the right and I am viewed as the liberal left-wing nut and to most others I am viewed as the conservative, uptight right- wing nut. I suppose it is easier to categorize someone than take the time to understand their views. We hear a phrase, jump to a conclusion and pigeon-hole someone before they can get away. It is a shame that I am not a pigeon.


"Interesting article : I'm not the same position, but I share many of the same viewpoints."


God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule

NEW YORK—Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.

"Look, I don't know, maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again," said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. "Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don't. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand."


"To be honest, there's some contradictory stuff in there, okay?" God said. "So I can see how it could be pretty misleading. I admit it—My bad. I did My best to inspire them, but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn My head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus, and everybody thinks it's God's will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall."

Have a break, have a Kit Kat – and wreck rainforests

Demand for palm oil for Nature chocolate and other goods is posing a threat to vital habitats
Jonathan Leake
Household brands including Kit Kat, Flora and Dove soaps have been linked to the mass destruction of Asian rainforests for palm oil plantations.

The millions of acres ear marked for clearance include some of the last habitats of orangutans and other endangered species such as clouded leopards and sun bears.

Soaring global demand for palm oil – now at 41m tons a year – has already seen the destruction of about 20m acres of rainforest in Malaysia. Another 25m acres have been destroyed in Indonesia.

It has also made Indonesia the world’s third largest producer of greenhouse gases, emitted by decaying peat and vegetation exposed by the clearances.

Next month halting rainforest destruction will be top of the agenda at the global climate talks in Poznan, Poland, aimed at agreeing limits on greenhouse gas emissions. A report will warn that 50m acres have been earmarked for clearance in Indonesia alone.

In Britain few consumers are aware of the scale of such destruction. A survey found 75% of consumers knew little about palm oil even though it is found in nearly half of all cosmetics and processed foods.

Palm oil’s popularity is due to its low production costs and versatility. Cosmetics manufacturers use it to meet consumer demand for natural ingredients. There is also a fledgling but potentially huge market for palm oil in biofuels.

Manufacturers, who also include the makers of brands such as Olay, the beauty products group, know that consumer awareness is growing fast – and increasingly fear a backlash. This week they are sponsoring two events to try to “green” their public image.

Both events have been greeted with deep cynicism by environmentalists. In Europe the next few days will see the arrival of a ship carrying the world’s first cargo of “sustainable” palm oil. United Plantations (UP), will bring the 500-ton shipment into Rotterdam, with some to be sent on to Britain.

Customers are thought to include Sainsbury’s, which wants to use it in own-brand foods, and Unilever, the world’s largest buyer of palm oil at about 1.3m tons a year. Its 400 brands include Dove soaps, Flora margarine and Persil detergents, all of which use palm oil.

The shipment coincides with Tuesday’s meeting of the Round-table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Bali, an industry body controlled by Unilever. Other members include Sinar Mas, Indonesia’s largest oil palm plantation company whose customers include Nestlé, the maker of Kit-Kats, and Procter & Gamble, which uses palm oil in products including Olay and Pringles.

Unilever said: “The RSPO is not moving as fast as we would like, but it is a step in the right direction. We’re committed to drawing all our palm oil from sustainable sources by 2015.”

The meeting is likely to be overshadowed by a report from Greenpeace alleging that UP is still clearing swathes of forest in contravention of the RSPO’s policies. “British consumers increasingly care about what they buy,” said Belinda Fletcher, senior forest campaigner. “The RSPO must ban its members from destroying rainforests and peatlands and kick out companies that won’t change their ways.”

A furious reply from UP showed how far apart the sides are. A spokesman said it would continue clearing rainforest: “Conservation means development as much as protection. We view the RSPO as a vehicle to achieve this and will remain supportive in promoting the production, use and growth of sustainable palm oil.”

Additional reporting: Claudia Cahalane

Star Trek 2009 trailer

After they release two posters of the Star Trek movie featuring Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock., checkout the latest trailer taken from theaters just minutes before the latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.
In theaters on May 8, 2009.

One At A Time

A sheep, a wolf, a cowliflower.. and a man who has to bring them to the other side of the river..