History of Favorite American Food Hamburger Part 3

About the history of the favorite American food hamburger, information about the nutritional value and more.



If the cow survives this life of chemicals, it is slaughtered and cut into beef, which undergoes more chemical treatment: preservatives and curing agents, antioxidants, flavoring and coloring materials, emulsifiers, and refining agents. Many of these additives are downright poisonous, and most have been labeled carcinogenic. Sodium benzoate and sodium sulfite (illegal but commonly used) not only possess their own destructive properties but also cover up the bad color and smell of rotten meat.

Grinding this adulterated meat into hamburger creates further problems. When the meat tissues are broken down, cell fluids mix with bacteria and produce a perfect culture for destructive microorganisms. Add to this the often poor handling of ground meat by butchers, packers, and countermen. Not only is the hamburger frozen, thawed, and refrozen; it is also often packed and prepared under unsanitary conditions and pressed with water (the FDA allows up to 10% water content in addition to the meat's "natural"--i.e., stilbestrol-enhanced--content). Processors also add fats (the FDA allows 30%, but intrastate meat may contain up to 50%). Ground beef processors are notorious for adding cereals, lungs, tongues, and other fillers to their product.

For best results, hamburger lovers should buy chuck or stew meat and grind it themselves. Meat should be put through the grinder only once; twice-ground meat will pack too flat and lose its moisture and taste.

Those who don't have grinders should make sure the ground beef they buy is freshly ground. It should contain no more than 25% fat; 20% fat will produce just the right flavor and juiciness. Hamburger should look rich and red and be only slightly flecked with white. Pink hamburger with lots of white flecks should be avoided. Once purchased, hamburger should be sealed in a plastic bag and frozen.

Perhaps the most famous hamburger connoisseur is Wimpy, who has gulped them down like confections for 40 years in Popeye films and comics. In England hamburgers are known as wimpies, and the national counterpart to McDonald's is called Wimpie's.

The record for hamburgers consumed in one sitting belongs to Robert Matern who, at age 21, ate 83 of them in a 2 1/2-hour sitting. The event took place on May 3, 1973, at the University of Rhode Island.

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