I can't even get my mind around this New York Times story:
If the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has its way, beef will not be just for dinner anymore.
Looking to emulate the success of Chicken McNuggets and fried mozzarella sticks, the group is hoping to inject some red meat into the American snack food diet with cheeseburger fries. The fries, which look like a squat version of standard French fries, are made of a meat-and-cheese compound that tastes — as the name suggests — like a cheeseburger.
Breaded, then deep-fried and served with ketchup or barbecue sauce, cheeseburger fries have found their way onto menus in several states including Nebraska, Minnesota and Texas since June. There is also a version being made available to...
Are you ready for this?
...public school cafeterias.
Yeah, that's just what our kids need right now.
Oh, but the ones for school cafeterias are "lite" -- sort of:
Each individual fry has about 75 calories and four grams of fat. The fries for schools have less beef per serving but still have about 60 calories and, in fact, more fat — a total of 6 grams — in each fry. And nobody eats just one.
Hey, but this isn't just another cholesterol-delivery device. This is space-age technology:
...the association enlisted a food scientist, Steve Moore, who is known in the business for his expertise in developing breaded coatings. In the past Mr. Moore worked on breading projects like onion rings, jalapeno peppers, seafood and even French toast sticks (in effect, adding breading to bread).
...He likened the coating process to walking a tightrope, since the moisture of the meat and cheese must be carefully controlled for the breading to adhere. Otherwise, when the product is deep-fried, the heat of the oil will produce enough steam to blow off the breading.
"You always follow wet by dry," he said. So, before the meat and cheese could be battered and breaded, the shaped mixture had to be coated in a fine flourlike substance called predust to dry the surface of the moist mixture.
...After testing different types of cheeses, Mr. Moore settled on a processed restricted-melt cheese, meaning that it is manufactured to withstand high temperatures....
Now I know why we can't get the lights to go on in Iraq -- all of our most brilliant scientific minds are working on stuff like this.