While researching the McRib, I noticed the ingredients in liquid margarine.
Margarine is a chemical solid marketed as an alternative to butter. Aside from its synthetic origin, margarine tastes awful. Seriously, one of the least satisfying tastes ever. But it has three things going for it: Less fat, lower price, and grocery store placement in the immediate proximity of real butter.
Liquid margarine, the fluid version of solidified margarine, is used by many restaurants to sauté ingredients. For example, McDonald’s uses liquid margarine to prepare onions and mushrooms for its sandwiches.
Ingredients in liquid margarine
Liquid soybean oil and hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oils, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color).
That list is terrifying. You’ve got partially hydrogenated oils with a stabilizer, preservatives, and artificial flavor (presumably the butter taste). You’d be challenged to find another additive as chemically engineered as this. I’m grossed out just picturing liquid margarine in my food.
What makes me nervous is that I don’t usually ask, in restaurants, what the cooks are using to prepare ingredients. I have no problem quizzing waitstaff about fresh versus canned peppers, but when it comes to liquid margarine versus butter, that conversation will sound more like interrogation.