Disclaimer:  This page is not about gourmet restaurants where the lack of food on the beautifully decorated plate is offset by the large amount on the bill.  This is where we all go for a meal.  And to be fair the other CORPO-GUANO giants have similar tendencies.   Not the "experience", a meal, a belly filler, a pause in the hassle of life for sustenance and hopefully a fair shake. It is called fast food and it’s leading seller is the “BURGER”.  

Change a letter in fast food and it is fats food...just a toss-up.  Just a place for some Hand-Bungled Hamlet Burger.  

A story I read confirmed at least in my thinking the ever popular burger is just another form of processed, altered, manipulated, changed, food by-product.  That meat patties aren’t just made from the muscle tissue of a single animal, but from the fibers of as many as a hundred cows, or even more. 

We mix different kinds of cow tissue like one combines colors on a palette, potentially putting animals that once grazed next to each other into tightly packed beef discs.

It shouldn’t matter how many cows go into a burger, but the number is a vivid and maybe even repulsive reminder that eating meat exposes us to a process where animals are slaughtered and mixed together for our eating pleasure.  

Hamburgers are the ultimate embodiment of modern day meat production. They are on menus practically everywhere and hamburgers are almost always a mishmash of many animals. The ground beef we buy at the supermarket is made of an unknown collection of muscle tissues from several cows.  Burgers today are machine made mass produced tons of cow DNA formed into specific sizes and shapes.

My mother, never bought pre-packed Hamburger meat. The incredible cook that she was also was literally a scratch cooker and preferred to make dishes that she was familiar with the process and the ingredients. So she would go to the butcher and get one pound of round, sirloin, and one pound of chuck.  She had the butcher grind the three, took them home and mixed them with herbs and spices, garlic and onions.  Nothing today tastes that good so I did the same. I bought three steaks round, a sirloin and a chuck and had Publix’s butcher grind all three for me and I did the mixing. Voila!  Burger Heaven!

  • Meat: All meat and poultry sold commercially must, by law, be inspected. It should have a USDA seal of inspection and a code for the producing establishment.  
  • “Prime” is the highest grade beef, just a small percent of all graded beef and available mostly in fancy restaurants and upscale grocers.  
  • “Choice” makes up two-thirds of all graded beef and is generally less marbled than prime.

“Naturally-raised” meat is a USDA verified claim describing meat from an animal raised entirely without growth hormones or antibiotics and that has never been fed animal byproducts. In the trade, this is often referred to as “Never Ever 3.”

There is also a subset of naturally raised meat certified by the USDA organic label. These animals must have access to pasture, in addition to the requirements above. So, all organic beef is naturally raised, but not all naturally-raised beef is organic.  While in a sense, every cow and steer is grass-fed (after weaning, nearly all cows graze on grass), beef labeled “grass-fed” means that the animal has received 100 percent of its energy outside of weaning from grass or forage, and not from grains such as corn. This does not tell you if antibiotics or hormones were administered.

Good restaurants that grind their beef in house, mixing the cuts of only one animal at once, serve them.   Those who raise their own cattle, and then slaughter them for food, can have them too. But the single cow burger is a rarity.  Last year, McDonald's confirmed that its beef patties can contain the meat of more than 100 different cows.  But it isn't just the world's largest purveyor of hamburgers that has trouble keeping track of the animals in its meat.

At a local Costco,  a butcher with forty years experience, who shall remain anonymous said that there is no way to tell how many cows contribute to a single packet of ground beef.  Costco grinds the beef in house, but does it by bulk.  "Single sourcing is the best way to do things, it's the handmade way, but it would increase the cost," he said. "More isn't worse. I would probably just worry about the cheaper end bulk grinders, the ones that make the meat for McDonald's and Wendy's and other fast food joints. That’s where price plays too big of a role.”  And no one is watching 24/7.

From an efficiency standpoint, hamburgers might, in fact, be one of the more ethical uses of meat there is. After all, they make use of disparate scraps, many of which would otherwise be discarded.  Somehow thoughts of balls, eyes and god knows what.

There are many reasons to be skeptical of the hamburgers that McDonald's serves, but the number of animals packed into each is among the least of them. In 2002, PBS ran a short documentary called  “Modern Meat,’ which explored the contours of the American meat industry through the lens of its favorite child: the commercial hamburger.  Little has changed since that report.

The confinement of thousands of cows on single farms, the film argued, was compromising the safety of American beef.  The reason that people feel so uncomfortable when they think about hamburgers being comprised of hundreds of animals is pretty simple: We are thoroughly detached from the process that allows everyone to eat meat.

The next tier i
n burger fast food or counter fast foods (there is a higher level) without or with table service when your food is ready includes Chic-Filet, Five Guys, In-N-OUT, Jason’s Deli, and the new guy in Florida CULVERS, and I am impressed. CULVERS is rated very high and they do bring the food to the table. Another point is that these stores are only a dollar or so more than the junk food. And the quality of what they serve is five dollars better.  Look for coupons, we found some and they were great.

Older stores like I-HOP which are slightly higher in cost but better quality food and they still have  guidelines, a nice word for heavy corporate controls and pressure both on the products and services.   


Ever wonder what you gets served is not in the pictures?  A professional food photographer or food stylists  job is to make food that looks enticing enough for you to drop any thoughts of your diet and succumb to — culinary pleasure.   Most likely the picture is too good to be true.  The burger business is at the forefront of food camouflage.  From an article I read on line here are tips and how they made that burger look good

  • Fry  the burger to brown the outside, leaving the meat rare and the patty un-shrunk. 
  • Blot it on paper towels and brush on a mixture of caramel color and clear pastry piping gel that gives the burger a meatier appearance.
  • Follow that up with grill marks burned on with a hot skewer or electric charcoal lighter.
  • Take the best bun, build everything toward the front, so all the ingredients are seen. that all the elements can be visible in one shot.
  • If there’s cheese, you might want to melt it by spreading Pine-sol on it, which breaks it down chemically without overly browning it.
  • Apply a little bit of Fixodent to hold the lettuce in place  and secure the tomato and onion with toothpicks.
  • Apply condiments last, using a plastic syringe without a needle.
  • Go to library or on line and buy Food Styling for Photographers

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