September 26, 2013
Burger King Seeks To
Make Fries Less ‘Painful’
AP Food Industry Writer
New York (AP) -- Burger King wants people to feel less guilty about gobbling up its french fries.
The world’s No. 2 hamburger chain is launching a new crinkle-cut french fry on Tuesday that it says has about 20 percent fewer calories than its regular fries.
The chain says a small order of the new “Satisfries” clocks in at 270 calories because of a new batter that doesn’t absorb as much oil. By comparison, a small order of its regular fries, sans crinkles, has 340 calories.
The concept of taking an indulgent food and removing some of the guilt isn’t new, of course. Supermarkets are filled with baked potato chips, 100-calorie packs of popular treats. Such creations play on people’s inability to give up their food vices, even as they struggle to eat better. The idea is to create something that skimps on calories, but not on taste.
Burger King executives say people won’t be able to tell that Satisfries are lower in calories. It says they use the same ingredients as its regular fries - potatoes, oil and batter. To keep kitchen operations simple, they’re even made in the same fryers and cooked for the same amount of time as regular fries.
The difference is that the proportions of the batter’s ingredients are adjusted so that it blocks out more oil, Burger King says. The crinkle-cut shape is in part so workers will be able to easily distinguish them from the regular fries when they’re deep frying them together.
“You need to make things as simple as possible,” says Eric Hirschhorn, Burger King’s chief marketing officer.
Alex Macedo, head of North American operations at Burger King, said the chain worked with one of its potato suppliers, McCain Foods, to develop the lower-calorie fries. He said McCain can’t sell the fries to other fast-food clients and that different suppliers might have a tough time imitating them.
Reporters were given a preview of the fries at a New York City hotel last week. Attendees were each served a carton of the fries that look and taste like any other fries, even leaving the familiar grease stains in their paper cartons.
Burger King led off its presentation by comparing the fries to the “leading french fries,” which are made by McDonald’s. On a pound-for-pound basis, executives noted that the new fries have 30 percent fewer calories than those served at the Golden Arches.
The comparison to McDonald’s may prove to be confusing for some, since fast-food chains each have their own definitions of what qualifies as a small, medium or large.
A small serving at McDonald’s, for example, weighs considerably less than a small order at Burger King. As a result, a small order of McDonald’s fries has 230 calories - which is still less than the 270 calories for a small serving of Burger King’s Satisfries. A “value” order of Satisfries at Burger King - which is closer in weight to the small size at McDonald’s - has 190 calories.
When asked if it had any plans to introduce lower-calorie fries as well, McDonald’s said in a statement that it remained focused on serving the “iconic” fries that its customers love. McDonald’s fries aren’t battered like Burger King’s fries.
Burger King is betting Satisfries will be so popular that people will be willing to fork over more money for them. The suggested price for a small order of Satisfries is $1.89, compared with $1.59 for regular fries. That’s a 19 percent markup.
At the event in New York, Burger King had registered dietitian Keri Gans said Satisfries were about giving people a way to make a small change and still enjoy the foods they love.
“We’re not trying to change the world,” Hirschhorn agreed.
Pirate Ship Which Sank In 1717
Yields Valuable, Rare Booty
By Jay Lindsay
& Rodrique Ngowi
Brewster, MA (AP) He calls it “the yellow brick road” because it’s literally sprinkled with gold dust.
This road runs along Cape Cod’s shifting seafloor, and undersea explorer Barry Clifford believes it leads to undiscovered treasure from the wreck of the pirate ship Whydah.
About two weeks ago, Clifford and his dive team took a trip back to the wreck site, and Clifford returned more convinced than ever that the road he’s exploring is a path to riches.
Barry Clifford, undersea explorer
“We think we’re very, very close,” he said.
The Whydah sank in a brutal storm in 1717 with plunder from 50 ships on board. Clifford discovered the wreck site in 1984 off Wellfleet and has since pulled up 200,000 artifacts, including gold ornaments, sword handles, even a boy’s leg.
But just this year, Clifford learned far more treasure may be resting with the Whydah, the only authenticated pirate shipwreck in U.S. waters.
Colonial-era documents discovered in April indicated the Whydah raided two vessels in the weeks before it sank. Its haul on those raids included 400,000 coins, the records said.
A Sept. 1 dive during what was supposed to be Clifford’s last trip of the season uncovered evidence he was near those coins. That convinced Clifford he had to make another trip before summer’s end. So Clifford and a seven-man crew went back on a three-day trip that ended Sept. 13.
Clifford headed for the “yellow brick road,” which refers to a gold and artifact-strewn path extending between two significant sites at the Whydah wreck that are about 700 feet apart — a cannon pile and a large chunk of wood that Clifford thinks is the Whydah’s stern.
The trove of coins and other treasure likely poured from the stern as the ship broke up and the stern drifted to its rest 300 years ago, he said.
Divers searching the path on the recent trip pulled up several concretions, which are rocky masses that form when metals, such as gold and silver, chemically react to seawater. Diver Jon Matel said one discovery was following another, even though divers were working in “black water,” or zero-visibility.
Matel says several feet of a fine seaweed called mung settled in the excavated pits and it was like diving in a vat of black gelatin dessert.
“You’re going by your feel, your touch, your hands, and the ping of a metal detector,” Matel said. “When that thing goes off, it’s a great feeling.”
X-rays show all the newly retrieved concretions have coins and gold inside. To Clifford it’s more proof of high concentrations of metals and coins being dumped en masse on that spot of sea floor.
Clifford believes two examples that were pulled up on the previous trip are particularly compelling evidence: a cannonball piled with 11 coins and a foot-and-a-half long piece of iron stacked with 50 coins.
“Did all of those coins just happen to fall on this one little piece of iron? Or were there thousands of coins there, and this is just an example of what’s left?” he said.
Clifford has no doubt it’s the latter, but he’ll have to wait until next summer to try to find out.
He’s taken 21 trips this summer at a cost of more than $200,000. But the worsening weather and lingering boat problems after a recent lightning strike make another visit impossible until June.
Clifford doesn’t sell Whydah artifacts, though he knows the treasure, both uncovered and hidden, has monetary and historic value. He anticipates the delay until the next trip will be somewhat maddening.
“I’ll wake up in the middle of the night this winter and go, ‘Oh my God, I know what that means,’ when I’m reviewing something from the Whydah,” he said. “And then I can hardly wait to get back there in the spring.”
Miss Piggy Sets Up House With Kermit & Fozzie At Smithsonian
By Brett Zongker
Washington (AP) — Miss Piggy is finally joining her love, Kermit the Frog, in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of Jim Henson’s Muppets, and Bert and Ernie will have a place in history, too.
Henson’s family, including his daughter, Cheryl Henson, donated more than 20 puppets and props on Tuesday, September 24, to the National Museum of American History to accompany the earlier donations of Kermit, Oscar the Grouch and early Henson creations.
The newest donation includes an original version of Miss Piggy and some of her co-stars from “The Muppet Show,” including Fozzie Bear, Rowlf the piano-playing dog, Scooter and the Swedish Chef. Puppets from “Sesame Street” joining the museum collection include Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and Count Von Count, among others.
Many of the puppets are among the first constructions of the characters.
Smithsonian magazine welcomed Miss Piggy, dressed in a silver evening gown and holding a red rose, with a photo shoot. The museum allowed her to pose with Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” and wearing the real 45-carat Hope Diamond from the National Museum of Natural History.
“She was very well-behaved, considering she wanted to take it home with her,” said Bonnie Erickson, who created the Miss Piggy puppet with Henson and now is executive director of the Jim Henson Legacy foundation.
The gift was made on what would have been Henson’s 77th birthday and shortly after his wife, Jane Henson, died in April.
Since she was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, Jane Henson spent years planning to find permanent homes for each puppet character, Cheryl Henson said. Other puppets are being donated to the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, and to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.
“Many of these puppets have been in boxes for years. They’ve been tucked away in boxes, and we don’t want them to stay in boxes. We want people to see them and to appreciate them,” Cheryl Henson said. “There’s something about puppets. They’re not animated. ... They are actual, physical things.”
Miss Piggy will go on display in March 2014 in the Smithsonian’s “American Stories” exhibit. The original Kermit and Cookie Monster will go on view in November in a special display case, and a puppetry exhibit in early 2014 will likely feature Bert and Ernie, among others, curators said.
The Hensons have a longtime connection to Washington. Jim and Jane Henson met as students at the nearby University of Maryland and became performing partners before they married. They made early television commercials with their puppets and created a local TV show, “Sam and Friends,” which included the first Kermit creation.
The original Kermit, made from an old coat and pingpong balls for eyes, was donated to the Smithsonian in 2010, along with other characters from “Sam and Friends.”
The newest donation includes Boober Fraggle, Red Fraggle and Travelling Matt from the 1980s show “Fraggle Rock.” The Hensons also donated a 1957 puppet called Wilkins that was made for Wilkins Coffee commercials.
Erickson and others who worked with Henson gathered Tuesday at the museum for a donation ceremony and said the Muppets will have a new life among the relics of history. The puppets were never meant to be made for posterity, Erickson said, but “considering that they’re retired, they’re looking absolutely wonderful.”
Fran Brill, the first woman puppeteer Henson hired for “Sesame Street,” who created the characters of Zoe and Prairie Dawn, said Henson had created a puppet family with his many collaborators.
“I’m just looking at all of these characters and thinking this is the puppet family, and yet, I feel like they’re all my relatives,” she said.
Curator Dwight Blocker Bowers said the puppets represent the creativity of “one of America’s great innovators.” He said Henson had extended the boundaries of puppetry, using film and television.
“I love these puppets’ eyes. You can’t walk near them without making eye contact,” Blocker Bowers said. “They’re very much like an oil painting. And they have such an innocence.”
National Museum of American History: http://american history.si.edu