Thursday, February 6, 2014

Big Mac v Homemade

A post that a Big Mac has 72 ingredients began a conversation on my Facebook page earlier this week. Questions and responses resulted in research and truth finding. As I gathered it all together I realised it was too big to post on Facebook but was perfect as the blog for this week.

Were our MacDonald’s using less ingredients than the US? No, they’re not. This surprised me – why all the ingredients in the cheese? We make some of the best cheese in the world. Shop bought cheese has four ingredients. MacD’s has 16. Why?

To be the same no matter where you go in the world is not a good enough reason to load our food with unnecessary ingredients that aren’t contributing to our nourishment.

Another Facebook friend asked how many ingredients in a homemade burger. Good point.

We make our own patties for Hamburger Night, which is supposed to be Friday’s but sometimes I forget. Our youngest said to me the other day, “Hey mum, what happened to Hamburger Night?” Indeed. Next week, Sweetie.

 #1 Homemade Everything
Buns - 6 including sesame seeds
Meat - 11 meat, egg, salt, pepper, carrot, onion, bread (5)
Veggies - 2
Cheese - 4
Pickles - 7
Sauce - 6
Total - 36

#2 Using Shop Products
Baker’s Delight buns - 7
Meat Patties Angel Bay - 20
Cheese - 4
Veggies - 2
Sauce (Tui) - 11
Pickles (Delmaine) - 10
Total -  54

# 3 As above but with DIY patties.
This is standard Smith version. Total 45

I’ve totted up several ingredient-count options depending on how you do your burgers at home. You will need to adjust according to your own recipes.

If there are any of you that DIY everything (and I’d really like to meet you if you do) then you have my serious admiration. But I didn’t include DIY cheese as there’s probably no difference in the ingredient list. And I don’t want to believe that you’d make your own cheese as well. That’s just too perfect.

There are some variables in the gluten free choice. Since it was tricky to get ingredients for a range of burger patty choices on supermarket website, this will not be a gluten free patty. You’ll have to do your own maths for this one.

The less than ideal ingredients in the homemade (my opinion) are in the shop-bought patties but I’ve found it nigh on impossible to buy practically-perfect-to-my-standards meat patties. So we always make our own.
There is also preservative in the tomato sauce.

The main point of the Food Matters article wasn’t how many ingredients in a Big Mac versus a Homemade Job but what are some of these ingredients. This includes ingredients that are not your everyday household pantry items; I’m not being vague on purpose, just diplomatic. These would not be found in DIY burgers, these ingredients are found in processed, store-bought food. Where the saving of our time is sacrificed for shelf life disguised as fresh food that looks homemade.

When I counted the ingredients I conservatively included each time salt or sugar was added. This pushes the number up somewhat. If, for example, we count salt as one ingredient instead of the three or four times it turns up, then that makes more sense to me. Done this way, (including sugar, spices, flour, etc.) here are the numbers again.

#1 version: 23
#3 version: 32

Please bear in mind that this is not a scientific research paper, peer reviewed, double blind and placebo. Just a comparison done by an interested blogger. That said, we have purse-based choices we make every day and never forget: you always get what you pay for.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a Big Mac it was so long ago. Nor am I saying that it is wrong to buy your children (or yourself) a Big Mac. An occasional not-the-best eating choice is not going to do serious damage to a body. Probably not even a small amount of damage. Our bodies are marvellous things but it pays not to stress them too often! Make it an irregular event not a normal one. You may find you get so good at DIY you’ll knock a Big Mac out of the water any day.

* Tui doesn’t list the ingredients in its beer for the sauce.
•    Christine’s burger usually comes in lettuce leaf ‘buns’ since I’ve lost the taste for the bread buns.
•    Ingredients for products found on company websites, including Baker’s Delight, Delmaine, Tui, Alpine, Angel Bay.
•    Ingredients for DIY found on recipe websites and not my own cookbooks. I do have them but it was quicker to ask Uncle Google. I have never made pickled gherkins but I have pickled onions. I don’t remember ever making tomato sauce. I have made buns but that was a long time ago.
•    Hamburger Night usually includes other veggies and maybe an egg, too but for the sake of this blog I have made our burger as close to a Big Mac as possible.


The Anglo-Far East Company
The Original Private Gold and Silver Bullion Custodian
Your reference when you order: an-001

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