For me (and I’m sure many of you), a trip to McDonald’s is one of life’s underrated pleasures. Sure, it’s costly enough that you can’t exactly make a diet of it, but there’s enough variation in the delicious food on offer to keep you coming back for more. I tend to alternate between Chicken McNuggets, a Big Mac and the Filet O’ Fish, but one thing that remains constant in every one of my orders at McDonald’s is the side of fries.
French fries are one of those things that are consistently delicious. Dipping strips of potato into boiling oil is a pretty tough thing to mess up, but even so, McDonald’s are way ahead of the likes of KFC or Burger King when it comes to the delicious potato snack. If you let me, I could seriously much on French Fries all day without so much as a second thought. It’s like they’re addictive, isn’t it? If you took a look at the ingredients of your average container of McDonald’s fries, however, you would realise that’s probably not an accident.
As we all know, KFC’s original recipe chicken has 11 herbs and spices which are kept tightly under wraps, but what’s the secret to the deliciousness of McDonald’s fries? To better understand what makes McDonald’s fries so darn delicious, perhaps it’s best to take a look at what goes into making those delicious spud snacks.
On the McDonald’s website, a list of ingredients for french fries springs very few surprises; there’s vegetable oil, salt, as well as the most important thing when making a potato side… potatoes. One thing that jumps out at me, however, is the “natural beef extract”, which goes a long way toward explaining why McDonald’s french fries are so far ahead of those of their competitors, but dig a little deeper, and things get way more interesting.
According to McDonald’s, this natural beef extract uses “hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as its starting ingredients”. If you can cast your mind back to high school chemistry, you might remember hydrolysis as the process where water is added to a chemical compound, splitting it into its components.
When this happens to wheat and milk, the hydrolyzation process allows for the meaty and savoury flavours to be released inside the compounds, resulting in a burst of flavor that just makes those fries so darn delicious.
It undeniably helps to enhance the taste of the world’s best french fries, but there’s one small catch. If you’re a vegan, when it comes to eating at McDonald’s, your limited options are even more limited; those french fries are now off limits because of the milk extract.
For all the rest of us, I would declare three cheers for the deliciousness of McDonald’s french fries, but that’s french fry-eating time that we’re wasting for no reason. All the same, whenever you tuck into that succulent potato, you now know the science behind that foodgasm!