Monday 18 April 2016

Spice Burger

Sunday-eight-days, I was down with Pat the Salt on my reg'lar night cooking a scratch meal with the old man and not insisting that he eat his greens. I try to do my bit to clean up/out the fridge which is always a gallimaufry of pots and tubs filled with a variety of left-overs and over-catering. "Rotate your stock", I mutter as I create something edible&safe with the last sad slice of ham that is approaching its sell-by date.  I am not as ruthless for the bin as some of his other carers and do try to convert things into tasty calories rather than becoming a problem at the landfill.  The previous w/e The Boy had been over from England with his family.  He had been shopping and got unaccountably nostalgic for Spice-Burgers which is, and I quote, one of the most popular foods in the country. That is pushing it on two levels a) it's not food; it's a food product b) it's mainly popular among undiscriminating children and bone-poor students.  If it's so popular, how come Walsh's, the family firm that makes the things, went bankrupt in 2009?  The rump of the company was bought up/out by a Combine and Spice-Burgers are back on the menu across Ireland.  I can't imagine a French family having a few for dinner.

The Walsh family from Dublin have been making these things since 1950; and they are not dissimilar to Wexford rissoles, which at least have the virtue of being made fresh . . . from nameless ingredients found around and behind the fryers in chip-shops.  Spice Burgers OTOH, come in lurid plastic packaging [above R] with a sell-by date a couple of weeks after manufacture. Their contents are also nameless because it is a secret family recipe, which was the subject of a bitter row in 2009 between the company and the son of the founder. ANNyway, The Boy had bought a brace of these food-products and then bottled out of cooking and eating them - possibly because he's no longer a starving teenager and possibly because Real Food was on offer for the whole of his visit home.  So a week later, on the very cusp of the sell-by, I brought the Spice Burgers away home, and shared them, one each, with Bolivar who is visiting from Venezuela.  Viewing the little bread-crumbed patty on his plate, Bolivar asked "¿Que es?" and we were neither of us able to answer.  Although The Beloved boldly stated that they were meat,

That's only partially true because 'meat' is a long way down the table of contents:
Water, rusk (gluten), onion, beef (9%), beef fat, crumbs (gluten), soya protein, wheat flour, beef connective tissue, rapeseed oil, seasoning (salt, herbs, spice, more rusk (gluten), yeast extract, sodium sulphite, flavouring), potato starch, cornflour, modified starch, more salt.
Jaysus! another food product which has more water in it than anything else. How much more?  The maths says that, as beef is 9% and we will suppose that the fat, connective tissue, binder and flavourings total 8% then 83% is left.  Of that at least 10% must be onion and 11% must be rusk (gluten) so water in SBs cannot be more than 60% and might, with more rusk-and-onion be as little as 30% but cannot be less.  They are one of the most popular foods in the country because they were created by a butcher from Finglas who knew that if you lurry in salt, fat, flavourings; package it in a crispy crunchy coating and cook it so it's ready to eat then people will want to eat them.  Especially if you can adulterate stretch out the 'meat' with a lot of cheap filler so the price comes way down.  That man, Maurice Walsh, he was a true food engineer long before that became a job description.

This food ingredients critic felt a little "uneasy in the tum" about half an hour after consumption; which might have been hysteria and soon passed off.  Like Mr Eastcoastman's ice-cream, you have to wonder whether any of the mix get converted to useful protein or calories.


  1. Anywhere I can buy spice burgers online?

  2. Anywhere I can buy spice burgers online?

    1. Hmmmm, I imagine you can order them on-line at Tesco and Centra along with the rest of your groceries and have them delivered to your home (in Ireland). If you're part of the diaspora and want them shipped to Perth, I think you'll have to rely on An Post and your Uncle Jack from Mullingar.

  3. Hi Does anyone Have a recipe for making Irish Spice Burgers

  4. Why sure, Patrick Walsh knows the secret recipe according to the court action of 2009 cited above. . . but he [injunction] can't tell you.