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Old 02-13-2005, 11:52 AM
Doppleganger Doppleganger is offline
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Why do McDonalds French Fires not taste as good as they used to?

I've talked about this with many of my friends and most agree that the French Fries of today are not what they used to be even ten years ago. What was their "original recipe" did it involve lard, and then beef tallow? I know they switched to vegetable oil at some point. Will their imminent switch to oil without trans fatty acids mean that their fries are going to get still worse?
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Old 02-13-2005, 12:00 PM
GilaB GilaB is offline
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The New York Times mentioned today in an article about trans-fatty acids that McDonalds replaced the beef tallow in its fries with partially hydrogenated soybean oil in 1990. (The reference is most of the way down the second page of the article.)
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Old 02-13-2005, 12:07 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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They have since tinkered with the fry oil yet again. I miss the tallow fries of my youth. Incidentally, there's a lot on the artificial flavors that make the fries taste the way they do in Fast Food Nation.
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Old 02-13-2005, 02:01 PM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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I don't know if this is relevant, but my local franchisee increased their fry salt levels about 2 months ago. Like.. before they had low enough sodium, it would probably have worked for a heart patient. Now, it's back up to "This can't be healthy."
And now, I once again want their fries...
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Old 02-13-2005, 03:07 PM
DougC DougC is offline
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- - - One thing the fast-food joints do to their fries is spray them with sugar water before freezing and later frying. The fries are left in the fryer only long enough for the sugary outsides to carmelize and crisp, leaving the insides still soft.
- I use vegetable oil for frying them but may revert to using all-animal oil sooner or later. ...I know some people who still ONLY fry with animal fats, and they claim that even though it is more fattening (and tastes better), you can "taste" the calories, and so you end up eating much less of it.
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:21 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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And that damned dolphin-free tuna just doesn't taste as good as the old kind...
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:42 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Well, Anthony Boudrain in his cookbook says the white fat around veal kidneys is the ideal thing to cook your fries in. So be sure to invite me over when you break that out at the barbeque. I don't think it's what McDonalds' is using.
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:19 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaB
The New York Times mentioned today in an article about trans-fatty acids that McDonalds replaced the beef tallow in its fries with partially hydrogenated soybean oil in 1990. (The reference is most of the way down the second page of the article.)
However, the OP mentioned today's McDonalds fries aren't what they were like 10 years ago. The switch to partially hydrogenated soybean oil was done 15 years ago.

From what I was told not long ago from an employee at McDonalds (a corporate owned store) was that management routinely uses oil that is so old that it is way out of the companies own policy spec. Even the higher up managers don't care, as they never say anything about this when they come through. Thus it may be that years ago McDonalds cared about the food quality, and nowadays don't.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:39 PM
TJdude825 TJdude825 is offline
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Re: Why do McDonalds French Fires not taste as good as they used to?

Probably because you burned your tongue on the French Fires when you were younger, thus killing taste bud cells. Or perhaps they're hotter now, so the ratio of flavor to pain is lower.
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:40 PM
Dr_Paprika Dr_Paprika is offline
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McDonald's in Canada still use beef tallow on their fries here, and as a result they are a little higher in calories and taste better than in countries where they have switched -- such as the US and England. They did get into a bit of a public relations flap here about saying such fries were suitable for Sikhs and vegetarians a year a so ago.
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Old 02-14-2005, 12:54 AM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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It's more than that. Yes, they got rid of Beef tallow. But then they found that even with the new 'healthier oil" the fries would be almost as good if they sprayed the fries with a little real beef flavouring. But then some Vegan sued them. Do note that McDonalds did not list their fries as "vegan", but the vegan insisted that most dudes would expect them to be so. But since, they used to be fried in tallow, I think they shoudl have fought it harder.
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Old 02-14-2005, 01:27 AM
blowero blowero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth
It's more than that. Yes, they got rid of Beef tallow. But then they found that even with the new 'healthier oil" the fries would be almost as good if they sprayed the fries with a little real beef flavouring. But then some Vegan sued them. Do note that McDonalds did not list their fries as "vegan", but the vegan insisted that most dudes would expect them to be so. But since, they used to be fried in tallow, I think they shoudl have fought it harder.
Hmmm...didn't they claim that the fries were vegetarian, though? My recollection is that they did lie about adding beef flavoring, and have since stopped doing it. I don't recall the matter hinging on whether the fries met the stringent standards of "vegan".
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Old 02-14-2005, 07:19 AM
Excalibre Excalibre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougC
...I know some people who still ONLY fry with animal fats, and they claim that even though it is more fattening (and tastes better), you can "taste" the calories, and so you end up eating much less of it.
~
All fats have 9 kcal/g, so I don't understand why animal fat would have more calories or be more fattening. It does tend to have more saturated fat in it, but a lot of vegetable fats have quite a bit as well. Unless there's something about its effect on cooking and how much is absorbed into the food as it fries, I don't see why one should be higher in calories than the other.

Might as well use animal fat if you like it better, though. Deep frying is messy and difficult, so I'm guessing you don't do it all that often. I say go for the gusto when you do.
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Old 02-14-2005, 07:38 AM
Dr. Lao Dr. Lao is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibre
All fats have 9 kcal/g, so I don't understand why animal fat would have more calories or be more fattening. It does tend to have more saturated fat in it, but a lot of vegetable fats have quite a bit as well. Unless there's something about its effect on cooking and how much is absorbed into the food as it fries, I don't see why one should be higher in calories than the other.
Animal fats have a lower smoke point than vegetable oils so you need to fry at a lower temperature. Frying at a lower temperature means the fries are in the oil longer and therefore soak up more fat. But the difference is frying temperatures between animal fats and vegetable shortening is pretty small, so I'd agree that using beef tallow is likely not more fattening.
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  #15  
Old 02-14-2005, 07:50 AM
BarnOwl BarnOwl is offline
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After you have dropped the raw potatoes into the oil, chop up a couple of cloves of garlic. Then, when the fries have begun to brown, add the garlic bits, and let them brown as well. Mmmmmmn.

Two other tips from Mrs. A:

1. After you've peeled the potatoes and sliced them up, rinse with tap water and pat dry with paper towels or a clean cloth.
2. Don't crowd the fries in the pan. If you're making a lot, use a bigger frying pan, or do them in batches.

For us, it's all a memory now, because thanks to Dr. Atkins, we don't eat them anymore.
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