Monday, October 22, 2012

A loss of burger innocence

At some point I stopped enjoying hamburgers as much. I think it was about the same time I turned on my critical faculties each time I ate one and started using silly foodie words like "mouthfeel." The more hamburgers I ate, the less I found an average hamburger appealing. Where before I could forgive imperfections, because I never cared to notice them, when I eat a burger now all I can taste are the imperfections. Maybe there's a good patty, but the bun isn't soft enough, or toasted well enough. The lettuce and tomato are good, but there's not enough of them to taste. The cheese isn't melted. The patty is cooked unevenly. The patty is cooked to medium, not medium-rare. On and on and on. None of the flaws I've just described are fatal to a burger's flavor, but they might as well be for how much they turn me off.

I am very good at cooking hamburgers
Once upon a time I ordered hamburgers all the time. For lunch, for dinner, for special occasions, for no reason at all. Those were happy times, when burgers were a source of great joy. Now I stay away from the burger unless I have a compelling reason to think it will be good. I'm describing a loss of burger innocence. I've gained discerning taste when it comes to burgers, and I've learned a lot about how to prepare them well. But never again will I be able to pull off a top bun to reveal a sad disk of grey meat without writing a tiny burger eulogy in my heart even before taking a bite. Before I wouldn't have noticed, and now I can't help noticing.
These pictures aren't good, but I include them because they remind me of good hamburgers.
When I'm out to dinner with my parents, they always make a point to mention if a hamburger is on the menu. They still think I love hamburgers. And I do. But I'd rather not eat one.

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