Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.

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Self Flipping Hamburger

A perfect barbecue experience -- everytime
  (+2, -5)
(+2, -5)
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Those frozen, prepared hamburger patties should come with a series of specially engineered protein strands embedded horizontally across one side of the meat. The frozen patty is tossed on a hot barbecue, strand side up. When the protein strands warm up to a certain point, they begin to contract (at one end first). This causes the burger to curl over onto itself into a quasi tube shape. Now the strands are facing down. The greater heat they are exposed to causes them to break. The hamburger now "relaxes" flat, onto the opposite side from where it started. The cooking process now completes, the barbecue chef having been saved the annoyance of having to flip the burger him/herself.
fritiquoff, Jul 22 2002


       I think they're a little undercooked if they can still make noises bliss.
kaz, Jul 22 2002

       I envision very bad things happening when you give your (already dead) food intelligence and the power of movement.   

       Although, I guess once you eat this engineered protein, you'll never get sun burnt again. When you fall asleep on your back and get too warm, you'll automatically roll over on to your stomach.
dag, Jul 22 2002

       I dont see the burger as having intelligence, dag. It is more of a mechanical motion. Everything is driven by the proteins reaction to the heat. The proteins are destroyed when the process is complete.
fritiquoff, Jul 22 2002

       This would be extraordinarily difficult and time consuming to develop. The protein needs to contract slowly enough that the burger is thoroughly cooked on one side before it flips, irrespective of the temperature of the heat source. Furthermore, the burger needs to be treated in some way so that it does relax flat(ish). Finally, the protein needs to be added to the burger to ensure that the flip happens in one direction (i.e. without a half-twist).   

       I'll readily admit that I know nowt about proteins but it does seem like a lot of R&D money will have to be spent, money which will needs to be recouped through sales. Does the advantage warrant the expense?   

       Plus, what if it's windy?
calum, Jul 22 2002

       and besides I bet if you have a self flipping Hamburger you will get so blasee about it you wouyld burn it on the flipped side....
The_Englishman_Abroad, Jul 22 2002

       You are right, calum, the strands would definitely have to be parallel to one another. Otherwise, you would get scrunched up meatball things. I am not sure what to say about the expense of developing this. It didnt strike me as that overwhelming, since I believe that there is plenty of bio-chemical/protein research going on anyway. Just throw some of it on the grill! Windy? I dont think there would be any more wind problems than for, say, a sausage.
fritiquoff, Jul 22 2002

       I was thinking about the burning problem. I first thought that a whistle activated by internal temperature or something like that would work. But then I thought that everyone would have to remove these whistle devices before they ate the burger. Spitting them out, breaking teeth if they forgot about them, or god forbid, choking to death in the process, were all possibilities that led me to reject that idea. I suppose the problem remains.
fritiquoff, Jul 22 2002

       Well, heck, why stop at self-flipping burgers? Put the right combination of proteins in, and I'm sure you can manage self-cooking.
DrCurry, Jul 22 2002

       Self flipping burgers....aren't Mcdonalds already working on this idea? There in eliminating the need for the angsty, teenage, burger flipper getting paid minimum wage for the privilege.
Fink, Jul 22 2002

       Somebody still has to put the patty on the grill, and remove it. The job of "flippin' burgers" might have to be renamed, however.
fritiquoff, Jul 22 2002

       well maybe if the patties were packed with enough proteins they could flip themselves over and then flip themselves onto a bun, or a timing device attached to a minute amount of TNT inside the pattie could do the final task...hehe.   

       Mcdonalds wouldn't be happy about this idea though, because then they would need to hire a rocket scientist to watch the burgers flip.
Fink, Jul 22 2002

       Hmm - let's think of the tasselations here for a second.   

       In order to be reasonably sure that a burger would flip onto an empty space, let's say that all the surrounding burger spaces are empty (assuming that burgers more or less tasselate in hexagons, which they more or less do). This means (ignoring edges for now) that the grill is only one third full. Even if we know which direction the burger will flip, we'll only fill one half of the grill.   

       Conclusion: you'd either need a bigger BBQ grill, to invite less people, or to eat less. None of the options appeal to me.
yamahito, Jul 22 2002

       Wouldn't this significantly increase the price of the burger? I'll have a non-flipping steak instead, thank you very much.
bookworm, Jul 22 2002

       yamahito, i think that these burgers would essentially flip "in place".
fritiquoff, Jul 22 2002

       Actually, if you knew which direction they were flipping towards, you'd only need to keep the rightmost/leftmost spaces free. one burger would flip onto another's spot, but that burger would already be flipping onto yet another's spot, and so on.   

       How about Mexican Jumping Burgers?
nick_n_uit, Jul 23 2002

       If you place lateral slits along one side of a hot dog, it will curl up when heated so as to be usable with a hamburger bun.
supercat, Jul 23 2002

       Think about the amount of redundancies in the burger flipping industry. The preserve of young people who want a few quid to buy CDs, clothes etc and those with no other career prospects ahead of them will all be added to unemployment figures. I have a friend who has a Saturday job working at McDonalds in Woking, Surrey (about 25 miles from London) and he won't have anything to do.
smokeyjohnson, Aug 20 2002

       How about just sticking a small amount of explosives inside one side of the burger (with a small blast-shield to prevent a burger-ectomy) and when it heats up enough ****BLAMMO!**** flipped burger!   

       Of course, double and triple flips might be a bit difficult to control, as is the need to have a non-stick surface on the bottom of the BBQ lid!
Cedar Park, Jan 02 2003

       I'm wondering if there is a particular way to align each burger so they flip in unison. You see, if they didn't, they may flipe over on top of each other and then you lose some of the quality.
markr, Jan 10 2004


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