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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

So what exactly is in this burger again?

I HAD some Tesco burgers last week, and my voice went all croaky afterwards. I was definitely a little horse.

EM Peter Grenville column
Peter Grenville

I expect you’ve heard all the jokes by now, since the startling discovery that Tesco, and various other supermarkets, were stocking products that were a higher percentage of Shergar, rather than burger, than you’d generally think reasonable.

The brilliance of Twitter shone through, with jokes and Photoshopped pictures doing the rounds before most people had even had time to look at their burger and chips and think “Ooo – should I? Maybe if I put more ketchup on.”

This reminded me of a great story that an old boss of mine told me, in the 90s, when I worked for BT, having somehow gained employment with them as a computer operator, when I didn’t own one, or, in fact, had ever actually used one.

Anyone under 30 is now trying to imagine how that could even be possible. A few people I worked with wondered how it was possible I got the job, too.

Anyway, the story goes like this: Whilst at university, my boss went for a fine night out with some chums who were studying Biology, and having consumed the usual excessive amount of beer, headed homeward, only to undergo that frightening mental condition that makes normally sane, intelligent, rational people, suddenly think that it would be a really brilliant idea to buy a kebab from a van.

A teenage right of passage is definitely the moment when you’re stood outside a kebabmobile, peering beerily at the large chunk of meat whilst fumbling for change, and your cloudy brain manages one frightening moment of clarity, and you find yourself thinking “Exactly what IS that meat, and how did they get such a large chunk of it? What kind of animal has a body that shape anyway?”

Shortly afterwards, you’ll forget such universe-altering questions, accept some salady bits without knowing why (you won’t eat them anyway), and try and out-macho your mates with the chilli sauce.

On this night though, one of the students recollected the questions on the weave back to their digs, and decided it was of such extreme importance that the world needed an answer, and that they shouldn’t go to bed, but go to the lab and figure it out. For the betterment of humanity. And because it would be a laugh.

Some ungodly hour of the morning later, the results were in... kind of.

Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be several types of meat – pork, beef, even chicken, and something else they couldn’t quite identify. After poring over the books, and consuming enough coffee to awaken a coma case, the closest match they could come up with was... seagull.

Hungry now? Thought not.

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