A Burger a Day (Ep. 133)
A while back, we posted an e-mail on this blog from a reader named Ralph Thomas:
It has been my gut-level (sorry, pun) feeling for a while now that the McDonald’s McDouble, at 390 Calories, 23g (half a daily serving) of protein, 7% of daily fiber, 20% of daily calcium and iron, etc., is the cheapest, most nutritious, and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history.
This is the kind of statement that most people cannot help but argue with, in one direction or the other (but yeah, mostly in one direction). Is the McDouble really the modern miracle that Thomas suggests, or a food abomination, a perfect symbol of the over-engineered, overabundant food cycle we’re trapped in?
Philpott, a longtime columnist on food and agriculture at Grist, now writes for Mother Jones and runs Maverick Farms, a smart-farming education center in the mountains of western North Carolina. He is in favor of organic farming and against pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizer; he has argued that the meat industry abuses workers and that McDonald’s underpays employees.
Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, runs Hurst Greenery. He’s a third-generation farmer, a former hog farmer who now grows 4,500 acres of no-till row crops including corn and soybeans; he also grows a lot of flowers. Among his written defenses of modern farming are “Don’t Presume to Know a Pig’s Mind” (in the N.Y. Times) and “The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-intellectuals” (in The American). (And here is Tom Philpott criticizing Hurst’s “Omnivore’s Delusion” essay.)
FWIW, McDonald’s has 34,000 restaurants in 118 countries, serving serving nearly 69 million a day.