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Rick Bayless and Burger King - Part 3


mtdew
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How many were you, and how do you think that would compare to what you would have spent at BK?

It was just the 2 of us. We easily could've gotten away with one less appetizer but I wanted to try as many things as possible as it is a new spot. With one less appetizer, it would have been $14-15.

I don't ususally eat BK myself but if I did, it would probably run $11-12 for the 2 of us.

I don't want to come off as preaching here because I believe everyone is free to do what they like and I admit to allowing my daughter to occasionally eat BK and McD. I also use McD a fair amount when I am traveling and getting in late and don't feel like going out.

I just wanted to make the point that I don't believe it is too hard to eat more healthy, better tasting food for the same or not much more money. Frankly, I think the hardest part is standing firm and not giving in to our kids.

As for time, it probably took a grand total of 10 more minutes to get our food than it would have at BK.

And for whatever it's worth, I agree with MatthewB. :smile:

Edited by sammy (log)

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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Well, I've wavered on this issue -- my libertarian half says, "Bailfull has a right to make money any legal way he wants, and so does BK... If you don't like it, don't eat there...". My commie half says, as usual, "Arrest him without a warrant in the middle of the night." But bourdain's point about everything contributing either to the good or the bad in the universe is an undeniable truth (one which the ancient Hebrews were mindfull of, as well), and forms a sturdy basis for a moral code. In that light, everything is a moral issue. You can choose to ignore it, but it's there: RB did a bad thing. He contributed to the ill, rather than the good. He should be called on it by his peers.

So, by discussing this situation on the web, bourdain settled the issue in my mind, which is certainly working toward change.

Ivan, you probably know better than I that the ancient Hebrews did not live a milieu that split the body & the mind.

The Hebrews wrote of the *heart.* Change was expected to reveal itself via a person's actions, not a person's thoughts.

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Well, I've been monitoring this discussion for a while and thought it was time to add my $.02.

I must say that I am glad that the general level of maturity in the discussion have ascended in the last day or so.

I think to most of us (eg bourdain) it's not so much that we hate anyone who shills for BK or any of the other chains, but that the hypocrisy of Bayless shilling is more apparent to us than any good he may have intended to do with the new sandwich. That he had no role in the development of the product seems to support the position that it is rank hypocrisy.

I myself have few compunctions against working for/purchasing product from unpopular companies/industries. Hell, I used to consult for petrochemical and pharmaceutical companies. I'll even admit that I love fast food french fries. But then again, I never claimed to be the second coming of Alice Waters. Would I rather be able to find a place where I could get a burger and fries of a higher quality -- sure. I love Five Guys (best burger joints around DC), but the closest one is 15 miles from my office. Can't quite make it for lunch.

My problem with fast food and society really revolves around 2 interrelated things -- parents and choice. I cringe whenever I see parents bringing small kids into fast food joints. I poison myself with that stuff occasionally because I DECIDE TO AND I LIKE FRENCH FRIES. These kids, don't know what their choices are. Like any craving, it comes about through habitual exposure. That's all they want and that's what their parents give them all the time (often, from what I see, just to shut them up). I know enough to at least follow up with a healthy (and if I may say so myself) damn good home cooked meal.

The more disturbing aspect for the society is when you look at poor areas of US cities. Drive around parts of the Bronx, the SouthSide of CHicago, SE in DC, and it is tough to see anything BUT fast food. No grocery stores, no options for good eats, just McD's. These are the only obese people I really feel for, they have no choice. I agree 100% with Ivan when he says his libertarian and communist sides are at war over fast food. I'd love to force Whole Foods or Sutton Place Gourmet open up a store in these neighborhoods and sell at a loss or force McD's to serve food with top quality healthy ingredients, but in my mind the libertarian side wins out here.

The fast food joints act like they do because this is a capitalist system and that's how they make money. I like capitalism. I do not expect them to have a consciense, organizations can't, people can. To me what needs to change here is people. I agree with Tony on that point. I look at my nieces and nephews who were taught not just what to eat but WHY and they know what the deal is. Kids are a lot smarter than people give them credit for, the battle is over their impressionability.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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Ivan, you probably know better than I that the ancient Hebrews did not live a milieu that split the body & the mind.

The Hebrews wrote of the *heart.* Change was expected to reveal itself via a person's actions, not a person's thoughts.

Thought governs action. History's most world-changing revolutions were born in someone's heads, and were discussed to death before any action was taken.

I've personally done little to support the fast food industry, although without abstaining completely. Unfortunately for my opinion of Mr. Balefull's endorsement, I consider Burger King sort of bottom rung on a not very tall ladder, but I tempered my judgement and tried to be objective. Reading through this thread, however, pushed me off the fence. Now I think RB's endorsement is not a good thing.

I'm nobody famous, so a PSA featuring my humble mug would elicit little more than shrugs, but I am a chatterbox after a few glasses. I'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and before you know it, we'll be eating cheeseburgers in paradise, if I have anything to say about it.

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ID

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I'm nobody famous, so a PSA featuring my humble mug would elicit little more than shrugs, but I am a chatterbox after a few glasses. I'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and before you know it, we'll be eating cheeseburgers in paradise, if I have anything to say about it.

Go for it! :biggrin:

Actions speak louder than words. :wink:

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Thought governs action. History's most world-changing revolutions were born in someone's heads, and were discussed to death before any action was taken.

Just FYI . . .

One prominent revolutionary/philosopher stated:

"The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Humanity must prove the truth -- i.e. the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking that is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question."

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Go for it! :biggrin:

Actions speak louder than words. :wink:

Yes, and sometimes words are actions. I've been preaching about the evil of fast food, and the benefits of from-scratch (as opposed to frozen entrees) cooking for many years. I can be insufferable at times. However, I've hit chords and inspired people, as well.

The most unfortunate aspect of RB's endorsement is that it comes at a time when it is easier than ever before to eat well. As eaters, we are more informed, and as consumers, we have broad horizons of ingredients opening before us. This also goes for inexpensive and convenient restaurants -- little ethnic joints are springing up like mushrooms in suburbs everywhere. I can buy a Banh Mi and coffee for $3 at strip malls that, just five years ago, had little more to offer than a Popeye's and a Denny's.

I think chains like BK are feeling the pinch, and need to position themselves within this broad food movement. Bayless somehow rationalized himself into becoming their patsy. This is especially heartbreaking, because I like and admire him, and share his enthusiasm for Mexican cuisine.

Which is why it was hard for me to take a stand on this. But now, after reading this thread, when someone says to me, in awed tones, "Woah -- Rick Bayless says those BK sammiches are good," I straighten my back, level my gaze and reply, "Rick Bayless can..."

Well, you know the rest.

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ID

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I'm glad that we've (mostly) gotten back on topic here.

I think, once we get past the bluster, that Mr. Bourdain has a good point. People won't, or don't, change overnight. "Pissing and moaning" are actually part of the process--they are only pointless when nobody is listening. And someone in Tony's position (remember, he's primarily a writer these days) isn't under any kind of special obligation to lead a rebellion, but he IS in a position to be a pundit whose words might inspire that gradual change.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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One prominent revolutionary/philosopher stated:

"The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Humanity must prove the truth -- i.e. the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking that is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question."

I think he's right.

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ID

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I have a question that I do not believe has been addressed on the 42 pages (on my setup anyway) of this fascinating give and take-How many customers who know who Rick Bayless is are going to, just after seeing the ad, jump up from their recliners and rush out the door all the while screaming, " Hey, boy have I been missing out. I usually eat good food and have followed Rick's interesting career and if he says this thing is good, then by God I'm going to Burger King for the first time in years"?

Not many I think. In fact, I think that he is a very poor choice to shill fast food. While all of us food folks may have a good deal of knowledge about his career and what it has previously stood for, (incidentally, I believe he washed most of his respect down the drain when he jumped to Burger King's call and, while I agree with most of Bourdain's above post, I do take issue with his new found respect for Bobby Flay. He may have some self respect, but he still seems like the most annoying jerk on TV and is terribly condescending with almost everyone he interacts with. Whoops, I am digressing. Sorry) I don't think that there are many of us who, beyond going out and trying the thing for conversational purposes, are going to start skipping a decent meal for BK.

My point is this-Most of the people that are fairly familiar with the otherwise extremly respectable career of Mr Bayless are of an income and education group that is not going to be enticed into BK on a regular basis no matter how swell the sandwich. Some of you are like me (I think). I take great pride in telling coworkers that I have not been in a fast food place in months (in fact the first time I have been in BK in about 5 or 6 years was a couple of months ago to try this sandwich which I kindly reviewed above) and that if they would like some alternatives to traditional fast food I would be happy to give them some. After all, I live in South Louisiana and you can swing a cat around here and hit 5 decent places to eat that are no more expensive (often less) than traditional fast food.

I am not so sure about Rachel Ray. She is cute (although I am compelled to change every time I see her as I think she is annoying) and seems to have more general appeal with some groups. Perhaps she is good for sandwich sales. Who Knows?

But I am willing to bet that RB is doing them no good and if the thing is selling it is selling on the basis of POS in stores and word of mouth among the BK dining set.

So, I think, this discussion is really about two things.

1) Is Rick Bayless a sellout? (yes says I)

2) Is Rick Bayless a sellout? (yes says I)

The rest of this is fascinating, but perhaps it should be carried over into some new, individual threads concering the various side topics (like the one I brought up above- Do you think that BK is going to be effective using someone who is not well known to the general BK public as a tool to sell their new sandwich? Or maybe- do you think it is possible that a lack in demand for their current fare could force fast food outlets to offer healthier and more interesting choices?)

I will stand back now and watch for another ten or so pages while you folks continue to slug it out. :wacko:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I'm glad that we've (mostly) gotten back on topic here. 

I think, once we get past the bluster, that Mr. Bourdain has a good point.  People won't, or don't, change overnight.  "Pissing and moaning" are actually part of the process--they are only pointless when nobody is listening.  And someone in Tony's position (remember, he's primarily a writer these days) isn't under any kind of special obligation to lead a rebellion, but he IS in a position to be a pundit whose words might inspire that gradual change.

Perhaps & perhaps & perhaps.

But I doubt that the eGullet crowd needs much of Tony's preaching. ("The Choir," remember?)

My immediate reaction to this Bayless/BK incident was that it wasn't a "good thing." I just didn't go along with the need to string him up.

And I doubt this "Incident" is much of a factor in the overall problem to which Bourdain has pointed.

The issue remains: If fast food isn't a positive thing, what would be better? How can we contribute to something more positive--even if we don't achieve it? (Rabbi Hillel had more than a few thoughts on this type of approach.)

In other words, "pissing & moaning" are pointless when nothing more than "beliefs" change. (Do we need to drag out Freud now to help address how what we believe doesn't always have much to do with how we behave?)

Edited by MatthewB (log)
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I have a question that I do not believe has been addressed on the 42 pages (on my setup anyway) of this fascinating give and take-How many customers who know who Rick Bayless is are going to, just after seeing the ad, jump up from their recliners and rush out the door all the while screaming, " Hey, boy have I been missing out. I usually eat good food and have followed Rick's interesting career and if he says this thing is good, then by God I'm going to Burger King for the first time in years"?

Not many I think.

i think the audience isn't those who are very familiar with rick, and particularly his association with the CC. i think, rather, the audience is the people who might know that he's "sort of famous." as in, "hey! i think i saw that guy on some cooking show once. he knows what he's talking about!"

fast food companies, and most companies one might argue, don't advertise, and one could even argue that they don't *have* to advertise, to the educated consumer. Sy Syms is the obvious exception.

edited to spell "educated" correctly. :biggrin:

Edited by tommy (log)
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I have a question that I do not believe has been addressed on the 42 pages (on my setup anyway) of this fascinating give and take-How many customers who know who Rick Bayless is are going to, just after seeing the ad, jump up from their recliners and rush out the door all the while screaming, " Hey, boy have I been missing out. I usually eat good food and have followed Rick's interesting career and if he says this thing is good, then by God I'm going to Burger King for the first time in years"?

Not many I think.

i think the audience isn't those who are very familiar with rick, and particularly his association with the CC. i think, rather, the audience is the people who might know that he's sort of famous. fast food, and most companies one might argue, don't advertise, and one could even argue that they don't *have* to advertise, to the educted consumer. Sy Syms is the obvious exception.

Tommy,

I agree exactly.

But perhaps I got a little too wound up and didn't put a fine enough point on my point which is (drum roll please)......How many people are even passingly familiar with this guy outside of a fairly small hardcore food community and viewers of television food shows (which is not exactly the biggest audience out there demographically)? I just don't think that many people are going to rush out and try this thing because of him. I think Rachel Ray, in keeping with someone in the TV food community, is a better choice to hit the people they want to hit. After all, she is on the side of every Dannon Yogurt container around and people at least will recognize her as somebody who might be able to reccomend a decent sandwich.

As to whether he traded what I thought he stood for (and what he said he stood for) in exchange for money? Hell yes he did and he knew it when he did it and those apologists are wrong. You do what you do and you live with it. We all do.

Edited because I forgot to tell Tommy it is not the spelling I have trouble with, it is the typing. I go real fast and edit really badly unless I put it on the printed page and when all of this is going fast and furious that is just not possible. :raz:

And I have had a rediculous amount of edikashun :laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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How many people are even passingly familiar with this guy outside of a fairly small hardcore food community and viewers of television food shows (which is not exactly the biggest audience out there demographically)? I just don't think that many people are going to rush out and try this thing because of him.

in advertising, it don't matter. they could put *my* face up there and with the line "tommy, great cook, knows good food", and it would probably have similar results. that's half the advertising battle. but they didn't call me, they called rick. but it doesn't hurt to have someone that actually *is* famous up there.

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Do we need to drag out Freud now to help address how what we believe doesn't always have much to do with how we behave?

If Freud were alive today, he'd endorse Burger King.

You doing an Andre Breton imitation now, Ivan? :unsure:

No! Andre Breton adored Freud. I don't, although if Freud were to endorse a Burger King sandwich, I'd deffinitely try it on account of Freud being so famous.

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Do we need to drag out Freud now to help address how what we believe doesn't always have much to do with how we behave?

If Freud were alive today, he'd endorse Burger King.

You doing an Andre Breton imitation now, Ivan? :unsure:

No! Andre Breton adored Freud. I don't, although if Freud were to endorse a Burger King sandwich, I'd deffinitely try it on account of Freud being so famous.

That's why you're such a lovable character, Ivan.

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Egad, I hate to admit it, but Mr. 13,000 posts up there has a really good point, Brooks. Sometimes its enough to fool people into thinking that someone matters to make them matter. Indeed, logically they could have taken an actor and made the thing into some sort of dramatization with a title card which read "famous chef", but then they might have been the ones accused of being fraudulent instead of Mr. Bayless. People (maybe only stupid people, but people nonetheless) assume that if a famous chef tells them food is good, then its got to be good. They don't have to know, or care, who it was.

Rachel Ray is differently entirely. People have seen her books sitting on the Times Best seller list, they've seen her scantily clad in Maxim, and she has enough energy to wake up a dead person. Those things are likely enough by themselves. Plus, most of the public doesn't pick up on comments she occasionally makes about not being a serious food person. They aren't really paying attention to anything except how much she enthusiastically bounces up and down.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Tony,

Quite seriously, why don't you offer to appear in a PSA that encourages people to eat non-fast food?

Or something along these lines?

Cook's Tour wasn't a series of public service announcements? If nothing else, Tony has very much done something along these lines.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Tony,

Quite seriously, why don't you offer to appear in a PSA that encourages people to eat non-fast food?

Or something along these lines?

Cook's Tour wasn't a series of public service announcements? If nothing else, Tony has very much done something along these lines.

You really think the crowd that eats regularly at fast food joints has been effected by Tony Bourdain?

:wacko:

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Tony,

Quite seriously, why don't you offer to appear in a PSA that encourages people to eat non-fast food?

Or something along these lines?

Cook's Tour wasn't a series of public service announcements? If nothing else, Tony has very much done something along these lines.

of course tony has done a lot to raise awareness of food and travel: of a particular segment of the population. you can draw your own conclusions as to whether those folks are frequenting fast food restaurants.

edit: it seems matthew beat me, and included a wacko face. damn that wacky matthew.

Edited by tommy (log)
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