Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ignore the 12% Behind the Curtain

You can't make this stuff up.

Innocently letting Pandora lull me this afternoon, I thought my ears were playing a trick on me when I heard Taco Bell advertising the main element of a Crunchwrap Supreme as "88% premium beef and 12% special recipe."

"Special recipe?" 12 whole percent's worth? 

I cop to being out of the loop, since this item is nothing new, but my amazement is fresh to me, and perhaps I'm not alone in living under a rock, shielded from the shenanigans in fastfoodland.

Anyway, when I hear "special recipe," my paranoid mind hears that as code for "weird-a** stuff you don't want to know you're eating." They aren't referring to the bun or the lettuce. They mean that what looks, to the uninformed observer, like hamburger meat. Apparently, 88 parts bovine to a dozen parts "other" is something to be celebrated in fast food circles. Color me impressed!

I couldn't resist a little exploring, and, to the Bell's credit, the website provides lots of nutritional info. The video was overkill (paid employees endorsing the product -- quelle surprise!), but, after a few lucky clicks I found zippy, conversational explanations about the purpose of various "Seasoned Beef" ingredients. Who knows, it might be just fine. I'm no scientist. But ohmygosh, the whole thing seems ambiguously sketchville to me. It's "special sauce" for the iGeneration.

Just to say: I loves me some red meat, no question. I just chowed on burgers last night, in fact, made from locally-raised, grass-fed beef courtesy of my friends Laurie and John at Meadow Mist Farm. I consider myself mucho fortunate to have a resource like this close at hand. Even if I didn't, I'd still prefer to retain that precious "extra" 12%.

PS: I know I'm late to the party here, but I can't help stating that I am officially terrified by "Fourthmeal." TB invented this clever term a few years back, and translated it as "the meal between dinner and breakfast." Because Americans need one of these! As it happens, the afore-mentioned Crunchwrap provides a full 1/3 of the RDA for saturated fat and half a day's sodium, so let's hope the other three meals are made mostly of air.