Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So. Let's talk about food.

Let's talk about food (bay-bee).

Too often people eat without thinking about it. I don't mean in as much as they aren't concerned with what's sandwiched between the top and bottom bun of whatever they picked up at their fast-food joint of choice, moreso that they eat because it's necessary without actually thinking about what they like about their food.

Take the prototypical fast-food cheeseburger. Its ubiquity belies its construction - such a burger is a work of genius.

In its most fundamental form, you've got a bun, some beef, a slice of cheese, onions, ketchup, mustard and pickles. Not exactly rocket science - I could make some variation of that burger at home in 10 minutes flat that would have the added advantage of not having lived under a heat lamp for any length of time. For reference (and to give me the chance to show off a little) it'd look like this:
The purpose of the fast-food burger is to provide a buck's worth of caloric intake in its simplest form. Of the seven ingredients, the omission of any of them leaves you with something less than ideal: Forget the pickles and you lose the crunch; lose the ketchup and you lose the sweetness necessary to support the tartness of the onions and the bulk of the beef. Not a penny is wasted in its delivery. It's an intricately thought-out, edible wonder which, in my head, deserves the same level of thought on its eater's end as was expended in its construction.

I like to talk about food, and food prep, and food theory. I like thinking about why I like what I eat, why I cook how I do and how I can make my cooking better. I'm not about to tell you that you shouldn't go to Wendy's. I love Wendy's. But it's probably worth stopping every once in awhile and thinking about why you occasionally wake up a 3am in the throes of a vanilla frosty craving.

Or is that just me?


mkb said...

i'm not terribly fond of this 'crunch' nor the sourness of the flaccid pickles of a fast food burger. If you use lettuce instead, you get the crunch without overwhelming the rest of the burger.

Jack Thompson said...

To each his own, but I've tried the "order a McDonald's cheeseburger without pickles so it's made fresh" trick, and discovered that, without that crunchiness, the burger lacked anything close to an interesting texture.

Then again, it wasn't like the thing had all that much going for it in the first place.