Sunday, January 1, 2012

The death of the cheeseburger

In the event of a total societal crash, there will be no more cheeseburgers.  Not even out on your little homesteading farms:

Waldo Jaquith tried to make a cheeseburger from scratch. He ran into logistical problems that he did not

Waldo Jaquith, Eponymously named web site, 3 December 2011 (that tip: Big Picture)

Further reflection revealed that it’s quite impractical—nearly impossible—to make a cheeseburger from scratch. Tomatoes are in season in the late summer. Lettuce is in season in spring and fall. Large mammals are slaughtered in early winter. The process of making such a burger would take nearly a year, and would inherently involve omitting some core cheeseburger ingredients. It would be wildly expensive—requiring a trio of cows—and demand many acres of land. There’s just no sense in it.

A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed, post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a handful of vendors—in all likelihood, a couple of dozen—and the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a century ago as, indeed, it did not.

I think to some extent it depends on where you are located. Areas with longer growing seasons could probably make it work. I don’t understand why you need 3 cows. One for milk (cheese) and one to slaughter. Since McDonald's uses the meat from dairy cows that are past their milking prime (it makes their meat leaner), maybe you could figure a way to even use the same cow.

On the contrary side, I am not sure if he factored in all the ingredients that go into Heinz ketchup (click on bottle, then click on nutritional information):

You better get a clipper ship and head It off to the East Indies (or was the West Indies?) to get your spices.


PioneerPreppy said...

I wonder why he would say a trio as well. I would challenge that all of his limiting factors at least around my neck of the woods are false as well especially if one had access to Dexter cattle.

In the end however it would require too many resources and planning to be worthwhile calorie for calorie though. My neighbor who has me landlocked on three sides ran about 100 head of dairy cattle for years and beef cattle are abundant around here as well so even without Dexters the basic needs were met within a few 100 yards of my location, even a wheat field or two.

Besides I don't put anything on my cheeseburgers so who needs to wait on a growing season.

russell1200 said...

It sounds like he wants his burger fully loaded. I took the point of his piece to mean something more like: really difficult, rather than impossible.

If you drop the condiments, the difficulty level goes down considerably: Cheese, bread, meat.

But I think there is general truth to the idea that we live in a time that has an amazing abundance of ingrediants to choose from.