McDonald's French fries are notorious, in taste and in their reputation as an unhealthy yet addictive snack.
Yet the recipe we all know well has not always been how it is.
From its beginnings as a franchise in 1950s, the recipe went unchanged until one fateful day in July 1990.
That day the company stopped frying their (well) fries in beef tallow, and started using vegetable oil instead.
Journalist Malcolm Gladwell, the host of the Revisionist History podcast, dedicated an episode to the watershed moment in fast food history.
Gladwell explained that the recipe change was brought about because of one man, Phil Sokolof, an American businessman who poured millions of his money into funding adverts that explained McDonald's French fries were harmful.
Sokolof reportedly suffered from a heart attack age 43, in 1966, and the event turned him into a crusader against high cholesterol diets, and founding the National Heart Savers Association 1985.
In a full-page advert in 1990, Sokolof accused the chain for 'poisoning America' and loading their fries with fat.
McDonald's denied the accusation, but on 23 July that year, the franchise 'folded', in the words of Sokolof.
The era of vegetable oil cooking commenced, which for many born in the last 27 years, is the only fry they have ever known.
According to the autobiography of Ray Kroc, the man who bought the franchise from the original McDonald's brothers, there were strict instructions for cooking the fries, such as not re-using fat used in another part of the process.
On Gladwell's podcast, he makes the claim that vegetable oil used for almost three decades is worse for your health than beef tallow.
It turns out to be false that vegetable oil is healthier for you than beef tallow.
So not only did they destroy the French fry, they gave us something that was worse for us from a health perspective.
So everything about it was a mistake.
If they had any balls at all, they would turn around and say, ‘We were wrong, and we’re going back to fries the old way.'
Proponents of beef tallow, argued that if it were responsible for the high cholesterol and heart disease epidemic, why has the epidemic continued after the majority of Americans opted to stop using beef tallow.
HT News Au