Sunday, May 09, 2010

Irradiated Beef!

Oh, maaaan, I wish we had it around here: irradiated ground beef! Asuming you follow normal food-prep standards, you can now cook burgers to any done-ness (or lack thereof) you like, with no frets over what the next few hours might bring.

Between that and shelf-storage milk,* there's some mondo-kewl things out there and more on the way, thanks to, you know, Science. And it makes hippies cry! Win. (Money quote: "Whether you're a meat eater, a vegetarian, or waiver somewhere between the two, this renewed push for food irradiation should concern us all." D'ye suppose they sell "vegetarian waivers" at the same counter as carbon credits?)
* Despite which, I still stock and generally prefer powdered milk. It's low-fat, I like the taste and it keeps well-nigh forever. What's not to like?


Montie said...

I dig the irradiated beef. Nothing like being able to prepare your burger medium rare without fear.

I must however take exception to the powdered milk. While I could probably deal with it in a suitably deperate situation, I disliked the taste enough as a child to know I don't want to drink it on a regular basis as an adult.

Oddly enough, I do have some on hand however 'cause you never know...

rickn8or said...

Roger that, Montie; come the next Zombie Uprising, you'll drink powdered milk and LIKE it.

And reminding everyone once again that Hitler was a non-smoking vegetarian.

Montie said...

BTW Roberta, I was going through some boxes as I am cleaning out a storage I had rented. I have a great deal of literature from early oil field days that I kind of inherited.

One of the brochures from "Tillinghast Oil Field Specialties" depicts a D.C.& U.convertible gas and steam cylinder. it states "When equipped with this cylinder any standard oil country steam engine can be operated at will by either gas or steam. The change is made in less than five minutes." When operated on gas this cylinder eliminates the trouble and time of firing up the boiler."

It also says: "As a steam cylinder the D.C.& U. is of the slide valve type-known as the most simple and serviceable. With gas it operates on the two-cycle principle, receiving a power impulse at each revolution."

I thought this might intrigue you, knowing your penchant for such. I had never heard of an engine which oculd run interchangeably on gas or steam using the same cylinder, piston, etc.

Montie said...


A bit of Hitler trivia that I delight in revealing to my hippie friends.

Roberta X said...

Goodness, me -- I was just reading of steam-diesel combo locomotives (as a sidebar in an article on the various gear-drive locos, which I got to following a link to the logger's steam donkey engine of the preceding century but one); in loco application, the dual-purpose cylinder was rare indeed and it cannot have been much less so for oilfield apps!

I wonder when it was steam gave way to IC as a prime mover for an oilfield "power" -- early or late? Good argument can be made either way -- I know in PA, some skipped straight from steam to electric.

In re powdered milk: I didn't like the taste as a child, either; now I prefer it, at least for breakfast cereal. I don't do well with overmuch dairy, however, and that may be part of it. (Only some of my ancestors were milk-drinking mutants, after all).

Anonymous said...

Question is, how was it irradiated? I don't know if beef even contains anything which could be activated enough to make it at all dangerous, and they're probably using x-rays from a tube anyway.

Anyway, even better if it gives the hippies something else to get hysterical about.


KurtP said...

Food is irradiated using radioactive gamma sources, usually cobalt 60 or cesium 137, or high energy electron beams.

Does that mean I'm supposed to like, not get X-rays taken too?

Data Viking said...

The 'to your door' food delivery company Schwan's has been selling irradiated ground beef for at least a decade, first as pre-made patties and now in three pound bulk packages. I believe spices were the first irradiated food product widely available, first for commercial use only then moving into the consumer sphere. Irradiation is usually by either an electron beam or a low intensity gamma source which penetrates the food but does not cause secondary radiation thus leaving the food non-radioactive while killing most if not all of the bacteria resulting in an extremely long shelf life along with the benefits you have already mentioned. I researched it's history quite a bit when first presented with irradiated meat by my local Schwan's representative and discovered it was first researched in the 50's and authorized for food use in the 60's but is only now making a toehold into the wider marketplace.

As for powdered milk, I had it far too often when I was a child to really enjoy it now as an adult (that and creamed chipped beef - SOS!) but I too have some in my emergency supplies.

Off-topic - I hope MomX has a nice Mother's Day and you a pleasant day with her.

Stranger said...

Well - powdered milk is a lot better than it was. From talking to WWI vets, the first was truly foul. By WWII it was merely bad. Now, it's like the "Cunnel's Christmas whisky."

"If it had been any better you would have drunk it, and if it had been any worse I couldn't a drunk it."

As far as irradiation is concerned, I'm for it. Back in the early 1940's a nice freshly butchered and ground raw hamburger patty on home made bread with a slice of onion was a rare treat. These days "fresh" means it is uncertain whether or not it will make you sick.


Roberta X said...

Stranger: Ah, yes, "cannibal sandwiches," the memory of which still brought a gleam to the eyes of the OTs at the small-town ham radio club!

Every reputable source I have read indicates irradiated beef is a-ok -- and as I know the Data Viking, his research would have been far better than my own. (And I so totally did not know Schwan offered it -- I have really got to look into those guys).

DV, here's wishing you and your Mom have a good Mother's Day, too!

og said...

Drank a lot of irradiated milk in Africa. There they call it "Long life" milk, it's got a shelf life of gravel, spam will spoil first.

And, like Advanced Tea Substitute, it tastes almost, but not quite, completely unlike milk.

Justthisguy said...

Og, they never promised that it is _good_ for you, just that they've zapped all the little critters who wanted to eat it before you got to it.

og said...

I dont' give a crap if it's good for me. I just wanted milk, dangit.

The second thing I did on arriving in America was drink a bottle of real milk.

Joanna said...

Shelf-storage milk? Is that why the gallon of 2% that I'm just now finishing "expired" a month ago? I smell it every morning, and it's still fine.

WV: grump. I kid you not.

Roberta X said...

The stuff I was thinking of is only storable at room temperature before it is opened -- but assuming you have a clean and careful kicthen (and you do), it'll prolly keep better once opened, too.