Friday, January 28, 2011

What's The Beef?

They say “you are what you eat.” I know what you are thinking and no, I don’t eat pieces of shit. I’ve never eaten “dumbass” either so you can save your derogatory comments. Remember what your mother said: “If you don’t have anything nice to say….put it on the internet for others to read instead.”

I try to eat somewhat healthy. I say ‘somewhat’ because for every grape I place on my tongue an M&M isn’t far behind. My rum is now mixed with Coke Zero instead of the unhealthy stuff, regular Coke. I’ve cut my Little Debbie snack cake consumption by 95% over the years (though my fudge stripe cookie consumption has gone up about 60% as a result).

The truth is that I do eat a lot more fruits and vegetables since I’ve started running. Mrs. Nitmos and I have cut down on the amount of red meat in our diet by substituting for turkey meat wherever we can (without sacrificing too much taste.) The only time we eat fast food is if we are traveling and simply don’t have two hands at our disposal to hold a Jared approved Subway sandwich and the steering wheel at the same time. Immediately after eating fast food….or caffeinated soda…or pizza for that matter, I start feeling a little ill. Maybe it’s because our diet has changed enough where it is rejecting high sodium, high fatty foods. Or maybe we are just getting older? (I have started to notice that the Top 40 charts these days are loaded with singers/groups I’ve never heard of before. What is a "Nicki Minaj"?)

Our greatest beef-turkey transition success story has been to turkey tacos. Yum. In fact, there is only one place on earth where I’ll eat a taco, other than my home, and it’s a little mom-and-pop joint up in my hometown that serves the freshest tacos on the planet. Crispy shells. Fresh, nicely textured meat. Delicious cheese. That’s how tacos are supposed to be done!

And then there’s Taco Bell, which is #2 on my list of least favorite fast food joints (#1 is KFC for reasons I won’t go into here.) Mrs. Nitmos and I simply will not go in this place. I don’t care what this guy says, it’s disgusting. I’ve been on record for over 15 years now stating that taco meat should not be able to be applied to a shell using a butter knife. What exactly is that meat-like paste? And what the hell is a “chalupa”? Ask any person of Mexican heritage if their grandmother ever made chalupas back in the old country and watch their face crinkle into a sarcastic frown.

Which is why I find the current Taco Bell beef lawsuit kerfuffle hilarious. It encapsulates everything I’ve thought about the place: It’s serving a meat paste that’s nowhere near being real meat.

Now, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The contention is that Taco Bell’s meat only actually contains about 36% beef. The rest is a list of ingredients that together lock arms to form a FrankenTaco. Rise. Riiiisssse. If anyone finds this shocking, I’d be…shocked. You don’t go to a fast food place expecting fresh, real food right? Hell, if a cow even mooed in the general direction of my McDonald’s hamburger, I’d be pretty happy.


At first glance, you think “lawsuit, yeah, some fatty wants to sue for millions over an ingredient listing technicality because their ass is 17 chalupas wide.” Well, apparently, the group doing the suing isn’t asking for ANY money. (They must not be Americans.) They just want the label to correctly identify the “beef” as “taco meat filling”, which it legally is, instead.

But here’s where it gets even funnier: In order to be classified as “taco meat filling”, the USDA requires a minimum of 40% fresh meat. Taco Bell’s “beef” isn’t even riiiisssiing to that level apparently. They still need to add another scoop of cow taint just to get it up to “meat like paste” standards. Mix, stir, zap with lightning, your order is ready.

New campaign: "Ain't it better with less taint?!"

One fast food company famously challenged the others with their “Where’s the beef?” advertising campaign. Turns out, the question we should have been asking them is “What’s the beef?”

Happy trails.

17 comments:

Chanda M. DeFoor said...

I won't even go there (thinking of your comment on my blog about vegan fitness).

Try being vegetarian for a month! I dare you! :)

Elizabeth said...

I liked what one of the legal experts, or whatever you want to call them, said on tv the other morning when asked what her take was on the lawsuit against taco bell. She said (more or less) "You pretty much agree to eat whatever substances are in Taco Bell's meat filling when you fork over a whole dollar for whatever it is you are ordering and expect change back." I mean I get the whole disgust/disappointment factor, but not only should we remember "you are what you eat," but we should also keep in mind, "you get what you pay for."

Xenia said...

Wait, didn't you get sick before the Boston marathon because you ate a dodgy taco at the airport? Guess you're not as much of a taco snob as you thought.

Lisa said...

what??!? a fast food place isn't serving high quality all beef tacos for $0.82 each?!? Shocking!

Marlene said...

Nothing surprises me anymore... this stuff is just plain nasty! I won't touch Taco Bell or KFC with a ten foot pole, but I do love me some McDonald's and cave every once in a (very rare) while, but I realize I am eating nothing that remotely resembles food.

The Sean said...

"If it ain't Scottish it's crap..."

(verification... 'dorke'...)

KimsRunning said...

Ewwwwwwww. That's all I got.

Aileen Ruane said...

I just used this post to scare my ESL students. Take that back to China with you! Mwhahahaha!

Drea said...

Hmmm makes me want to kill my own food. Lock n load

Andrew Opala said...

Nicki Minaj? - one third of a Minaj a trois?

But the Solient Green of Taco Bell tastes oh so good!

(P.S. please join our 2-minute Burpee contest: here)

The Merry said...

I'd been listening, without paying too much attention (I'm too poor), to the kerfuffle about this lawsuit, and I vaguely wondered what's in the "taco meat" if it's not meat?

Then I clicked on the link you so kindly provided, and it led me to this sentence: "We're about to find out where the Taco Bell Chihuahua went."

Oh my dear lord. Now I'm scared.

Deb said...

Nitmos goes all Upton Sinclair. Niiice.

Danielle in Iowa in Seattle said...

But Taco John's surely uses lots of beef, right? RIGHT?

Irene said...

Ever try fish tacos?

lindsay said...

what is the point of a lawsuit if you're not after money that isn't rightfully yours? how else is a hard-working american supposed to make a living in this 'troubled economy'? so insensitive...

as for the 'meat', it's ingredient labels like this that make me glad i have food allergies.

Kirstie said...

Great blog. I've never been a huge Taco Bell fan but when I heard about this lawsuit and the actual meat percentage it made me think twice about ever going back. Ewwww.

“If you don’t have anything nice to say….put it on the internet for others to read instead.” - AWESOME!

Beth said...

I worked for a few months at a fast food taco place when I was in high school. We mixed so much oatmeal into the meat to soak up all of the grease and stretch the meat... it was so gross. I agree, Taco Bell is the worst.