50 Pounds of Hamburger – The Great Hamburger Experiment

Early one Monday morning, after my 6 kids had all gotten on their respective school buses, I grabbed my cup of coffee and began going through the major news websites before I started my work for the day.

On article on the ABCnews.com site in particular grabbed my attention. Written by Scott Mayerowitz of the ABC News Business Unit, it was called: Recession Bargain or Fool’s Challenge? Meet the 50-pound Burger: Oversized Eating Could Be Your Ticket to Free Meal or ET.

Just how many meals can you make from a 50 pound hamburger?

Just how many meals can you make from a 50 pound hamburger?

Always interested in finding ways to cut our food bills I anxiously pulled up the story and started reading. Instead of finding any sort of food bargains, though it was an article about restaurants that offered enormous food challenges, the implication being that it was a good deal if you could complete the challenge as most restaurants would then wave your bill.

Mayerowitz described 72 oz. steaks served with a baked potato, salad, dinner roll, and shrimp cocktail free if you could finish all of that in 60 minutes (apparently the record for consuming this was 8 minutes and 52 seconds).

In the article there was a picture of a 21 scoop (scoops as big as baseballs) sundae and a “serving” of 5 extra large 1 inch thick pancakes that get you the meal for free along with a t-shirt and a hat.

Not wanting to lose out on the experience, Mayerowitz along with a super-sized friend decide to take the challenge of the 50 pound burger. With its homemade bun and a carpet of cheese, it also includes a full head of lettuce and several tomatoes. They had 3 hours in which to finish the burger.

They only made it half-way and got the rest boxed to go. The bill? A mere 159.95.

After I finished this article, I left the following comment and started my day.

If there is one thing this economy is going to show us is that this kind of gluttony and wastefulness has no place in our lives anymore. Buy what you need, eat what you need to and let nothing go to waste. I have 6 kids; do you know how many meals I could make with 50 pounds of Beef?

At a writer’s group meeting, the story still haunted me and I my friends about the story. I was just floored at the sheer waste of food and the comment that these sorts of food challenges made about our obese and over-indulgent society.

I started to imagine how I could feed my family of 6 children and 2 adults with those 50 pounds of hamburger. Our food budget is frugal as it is, with our weekly food bill rarely going over 140.00, but if I had 50 pounds of beef to supply some protein? I wondered how long I could make that stretch, and then I started to come up with actual meals I could make.

I left another message on the ABCnews website:

I’ve been thinking about this all morning. For my family of 8 total by using stretchers like bread crumbs and vegetables, and making chilies and soups, tacos, and salads. I could create meals for about 6 weeks with 50 pounds of hamburger. When you look at it that way, trying to eat that in one meal no longer seems like any kind of “fun”.

And so a plan was hatched. My children not being new to my history of crazy plans, (we’ve decluttered the house and removed 5,000 pounds of stuff and we’ve had a Holiday celebration on a budget of 0.00) all rolled their eyes. Mom is up to it again murmured the oldest one. But when I explained to them about the article and how that 50 pounds of meet could be used for so much more instead of just being wasted like that on two people they started to get interested.

We could make chili said one, mini hamburgers, add it to red sauce and pasta said the others. Before long we had a list of meals that could be made from those 50 pounds of beef.

So let’s try it I said to the kids. With a small amount of reluctance they and my husband all agreed.

So this is what I am going to do. I’m going to buy 10 pounds of beef at a time and repackage it to 8 one pound and 4 half pound servings which will then be frozen. I can add fillers and of course sides but the burger will be the only meat used in each meal.

I’ll record the recipes, the reactions, and the cost of the meals for each day. It is my hope that my kids and others out there will see how wasteful a restaurant food challenge is and how thrifty a creative mom can be.

 

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5 Comments

Filed under Simple Thrift Tips, The Great Hamburger Experiment

5 responses to “50 Pounds of Hamburger – The Great Hamburger Experiment

  1. Gina

    Love your blog, Wendy!! My fridge would wheeze and die if I tried to squeeze fifty pounds of meat in it. Here’s my new favorite recipe I pirated from someone – take ONE pound of hamburger (or more depending on how many people you’re feeding), add some chopped onions and shallots (eyeball it for amounts) salt/pepper and cook over medium low heat, covered, to let the onions/shallots steam and the meat cook throughout. Add cheese if desired. Fast, cheap, easy and tasty.

  2. 50 lbs of hamburger, even without fillers, would be able to get about 20 meals out it. Heck, a REAL serving of meat is 3-4 oz, not the 8 oz burgers we are used to eating! Recently, I started weighing everything I eat, for better portion control and because I really wanted to SEE what an actual serving looks like. It is amazing how often I have over-estimated a serving in the past!

    Restaurants are notoriously bad for oversized servings and now, whenever I eat out, I automatically ask for half to be brown-bagged. Then, on the way home, I give it to the first homeless person I see. I feel better because I didn’t stuff myself and can keep my pants done up.

    Thanks for a very interesting blog, I only hope to come up with something just as interesting for you to read! lol!

  3. Shirley

    It will be interesting to follow your challenge. For my husband, Rich and I 50 pounds of hamburger would make approximately 67 meals. We only use 12 ounces per meal. Our meal are 2 servings for dinner and 1 serving for Rich’s lunch the next day. I cannot understand why anyone would want to sit and gorge themselves on a 50 pound hamburger.

  4. There are surprisingly thin lines between “Too much,” “Just enough,” and “Not enough.”

    Some of it is objective–if you have a heart attack before 50, you probably had too much–and if you die of malnutrition, you probably don’t have enough, but on the whole, the matter is suprisingly subjective.

    This is just enough of a comment.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Ah and as you’ve read – that burger was far too much. (but then so is my obsession with books of which I have far too many).

      I rather like the Buddhist monk’s way of owning only one set of clothing and a bowl in which to eat and drink. Just imagine how much that would free you up on a daily basis. What shall I wear today? Oh I know.

      As long as I could also own a book or two – it would be a fine uncomplicated way to live.

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