Published on October 9th, 2013 | by Heather Carr


October Unprocessed 2013 – Week One

Boiling French Fries

October Unprocessed is a week old. How have you been doing?

I find the first week of October Unprocessed to be pretty easy. It’s like a New Year’s resolution. I’m gung-ho and I’ve done the planning and everything is just great.

I hit my first snag yesterday when I was with friends and they wanted to grab something from a fast food restaurant. I wanted some French fries, too. French fries are sooooo tasty! And surely they’re only potatoes, oil, and salt, right??

Here’s McDonald’s list of ingredients for French fries:

Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*, Citric Acid [Preservative]), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt. Prepared in Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to preserve freshness), Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

It’s a lengthier list than what I would use at home. I’m not surprised by the chemicals in there; most restaurants use ingredients containing flavor enhancers and preservatives. Just the “natural beef flavor”. How odd. Why would I want my fries to taste like beef?

Even more interesting is that the natural beef flavor is derived from chemicals derived from wheat and milk, but not beef. That means their fries are still vegetarian, despite the “meaty” flavoring. Just one of the many interesting things I learn when I check the ingredients lists.

We didn’t eat out that night. I made lemony chicken with potatoes in the crockpot instead. Still I have the craving for something salty and crunchy, so I will have to get some Russets and make some french fries at home soon.

Why October Unprocessed Only in October?

I was asked a really good question on a previous post, which I have taken way too long to answer (sorry JR!) Why just October? Why not all year long?

The short answer is that October Unprocessed reminds me to pay attention to what I’m eating. I use it as a sort of tuneup for the diets of everyone in my house. It’s easy when we’re shopping to grab the brands we’re familiar with or the one that’s on sale that week.

One example is Hunt’s ketchup. A few years back Hunt’s announced a switch from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to sugar in their ketchup. Our neighborhood grocery store stocks the Hunt’s with sugar and the Hunt’s with HFCS (they’re still making it). I don’t eat much ketchup, but when I started planning my French fries, I checked our ketchup and found that it was the one with HFCS. I’ll pay more attention next time I shop.

How are you doing on October Unprocessed? Any big revelations in your food? Found any “natural beef flavor” in your veggies?

Boiling French fries photo via Shutterstock

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About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .

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