Food: Fast Food
Open Sauce   (+2)  [vote for, against]
Sorry, couldn't resist the pun

No more secrecy to the Colonel's blend of spices, no more Special Sauces - release the recipes of the major fast-food empires into the public domain, and let cooks all over the world tweak it and improve upon it (in terms of taste, simplicity of preparation, cost, nutrition, etc).

After a few iterations, and a little open-mindedness on the part of the restaurant magnates, the global dining experience could be tastier and healthier (hurray for us), and at only a minimal cost, with potentially significant savings (hurray for the Mc Chicken Hut King).
-- friendlyfire, Dec 20 2002

(??) McDonalds recipes as leaked to eDonkey by a disgruntled McDonaldite http://www.halfbake...ere any other kind? [friendlyfire, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

[Blissmiss] Thanks for the link - I was thinking less of leaked instructions from disgruntled burger-flippers, and more of the McBosses making more of an effort to improve the quality of their food. I think we can assume that they won't do this all by themselves without a court-appointed gun to their heads, this would be a slightly more realistic way to get them to do so.

I don't think people go to fast-food restaurants because their own cooking is worse than a Happy Meal, they go for the convenience. Thus, the onus is not necessarily to take get people to eat less fast food (again, not gonna happen), but to improve the food they do eat.
-- friendlyfire, Dec 20 2002

There are plenty of amateur cooks out there trading recipes right now, but the conditions and incentives of the fast food industry are substantially different than those in your kitchen. You want something tasty; they want something that can be reproduced regularly, is easily taught, minimizes labor, uses inexpensive ingredients, saves shipping costs, remains edible despite delay and reheating, and so on. "Cooks all over the world" won't be particularly excited about making an almost-as-tasty Egg McMuffin for a few cents cheaper, but that's what McDonald's is all about.

Fast food isn't about taste (and heaven knows it's not about nutrition), it's about convenience and efficiency, and that's probably best done by the corporate food engineers employed by these companies.

Pun aside, I don't see anything about the fast food industry that's any more receptive to an "open source" type effort than any other industry in the world. Open source fast food -- why not open source hotel management, open source shoemaking, open source investment banking?

[-] Overspecific application of uninteresting general principle.
-- egnor, Dec 20 2002

//Fast food isn't about taste (and heaven knows it's not about nutrition)//

Forgive my whiny idealism, but it bloomin' well should be! And we should be doing all we can to discourage food that, as you so succinctly put it, "remains edible."

It just seemed like one way to improve fast food, given the following truths:-
1) The fast food industry is ultimatelly indestructible - people will be shovelling Whoppers down their unprotesting gullets until the end of time.
2) The McLords would love to be able to say how marvellously healthy their food was, if only it were true.
3) But they don't want to spend any money making it healthy.

(For the record, the idea came before the pun - honest!)
-- friendlyfire, Dec 20 2002

Unworkable. These formulae constitute extremely valuable intellectual property and the owners aren't about to give it away. If you could make a McDonald's hamburger at home, why would you spend money at their so - called restaurant?

As for waugsqueke's link: I can't believe those people aren't getting the pants sued off them.
-- snarfyguy, Dec 20 2002

Top secret recipes aren't protected in any legal way. The Web site folks are just reverse engineering the food. There have been several books out about the same subject but I have found the books to go into much greater detail offering exact cooking times and equipment and unusual (commerical) ingredients.
-- bristolz, Dec 20 2002

This would kill McDonalds.
<jingle>Two genetically modified beef patties, open-source sauce, lettuce, "cheese", pickles, onions - on a sesame seed croissant</jingle>
-- thumbwax, Dec 20 2002

Bristolz: Huh. Roger the reverse engineering thing. Suppose a McDonald's corporate employee "took home" the recipe for their hamburger and sold it to some burger joint. Obviously, he would get caught, fired (originally typed "fried," heh) and prosecuted when a burger joint that claims to use the exact recipe of the place with the big yellow arches (avoiding trademark infringement) opens up.

If secret recipes aren't legally protected, McDonald's would be simply out of luck. That doesn't seem like what would would happen in real life.
-- snarfyguy, Dec 20 2002

Yeah, I should have stated that more carefully.
-- bristolz, Dec 20 2002

These recipes are just approximations, it appears. Notice how so many of the chocolate shake-type drinks use Nesquik? So what, McD's buys Nesquik buy the truckload? Nah.
-- RayfordSteele, Dec 20 2002

I doubt the success of McD's et al is due to their magic secret recipe. It's not like there aren't plenty of local burger joints that make stuff just as good for just about as cheap. No, it's all about branding and advertising and nationwide consistency and so on.
-- egnor, Dec 20 2002

random, halfbakery