In a move that clearly illustrates its ignorance of causality, CNNhealth.com asks the question, “Should Americans banish the burger?”
Hell fucking no.
If U.S. residents made a conscious choice to kick the bacon cheeseburger to the curb the ramifications would be severe. Of course, hardworking cattle raisers (like my cousin in West Virginia) would be put out of business, bun bakers’ revenue would vanish and half my diet would have to be replaced. But worse and simply put: banish the burger, and watch hangovers get the upper hand on a daily basis.
The article references a recent Larry King Live round-table discussion in which a group of people (selected because they either know something about the argument or have an opinion regardless) discusses the pros and cons of a meat-inclusive – specifically ground beef – diet.
Two panelists avoid delicious hamburgers because they’re scared of Escherichia coli, which apparently is not an essential part of a wholesome diet because it sickens, paralyzes and kills some people.
“What happens in hamburger is the E. coli bacteria is in the guts of cows. And during the slaughtering process, those guts are nicked or there’s fecal material on the hides. It gets on the red meat,” explained Bill Marler, a food-borne illness litigator since the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak in 1993.
“And when you cook a steak, assuming that steak hasn’t been penetrated, you can kill the bacteria that’s on the outside of the meat. It’s not on the inside of the meat. But when you ground that meat up, that E. coli is in there,” he said.
Taking a pro-vegetarian diet stance, a Cornell University professor said, “The closer we get to consuming a whole foods, plant-based diet, the healthier we’re going to be on all accounts.”
Perhaps, but I’m going to have to side with a true bon vivant: Anthony Bourdain, the chef-turned-novelist-turned-television host who pointed out it’s not a fucking coincidence that humans have forward-facing eyes, fingernails, long legs and sharp teeth.
“We were designed from the get-go … so that we could chase down smaller, stupider creatures, kill them and eat them,” he said. “That said, we may be designed to eat meat. We are not designed to eat fecal choliform bacteria.”
- Texas produces about 7.6 billion pounds of beef annually, half of which will make its way to the food-service industry, according to the Texas Beef Council.
- The National Cattleman’s Beef Association reports U.S. residents consumed 11.9 billion hamburgers in 2007, 9.6 billion of which were consumed in restaurants. Hamburgers also account for more than 40 percent of all sandwich sales in the United States.
Delicious hamburgers, much like white miniskirts on women and mid-’70s funk, are my weakness. I eat more hamburgers than anything else, although Wingstop’s chicken wings are a close second. I’ve eaten a cheeseburger four of the last seven days. Not only does a patty of ground-up cow meat, burned and slapped between two buns with the works, ensure that I’ll never look like Christiano Ronaldo when shirtless, it also soothes me when I’m at my lowest. Nothing cures (or marginally placates) a raging, vicious hangover like a hot shower, double espresso, two Excedrin, a bottle of sparking mineral water, two pints of beer and a delicious bacon cheeseburger. Without hamburgers, I can kiss my fucking productivity goodbye if hungover.
So sure, maybe bacteria transmitted from a cow’s ass to its annihilated flesh and into your body can be harmful – and kind of gross when I think about it – but my desire to kick a hangover in the balls before it kicks me will always supersede a fear of sickness or death.
Now drinking: Keystone Light