I have so much more to say about so many things, but I'm finding it difficult to commit some of the things I'm thinking to internet perpetuity. When that happens, I revert to writing about three things. Golf, which is in a bit of a lull now and, frankly, I've done a lot this summer. Movies, which I'm working on. And food. So here goes.
One of the dangers of becoming what I would call... marginally competent... in the kitchen is that you can lose your taste for some of the finer indulgences of modern life.
It's finally happened to me. I'm not a chef by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I aspire to be one. I've taught myself a tiny fraction of necessary cooking skills, and I read about ingredients and watch some cooking shows. Last Sunday, though, I lost my love for fast-food hamburgers, and it's made me pretty sad.
For background, I have always loved McDonalds. Up until now, I would have to say that 2 quarter pounders, large fries, and a vanilla shake would be on the short list for my final meal. I've been eating Elevation Burger since they appeared in our area. A little overpriced, yes, but still good, and they've got the whole "organic" thing going. And I've had Five Guys once or twice before.
It wasn't some pink slime-creation that finally did me in. This was a primo Five Guys regular burger with my preferred toppings, ketchup and raw onion. This isn't a knock on Five Guys at all. The double patties were good. Tasty, not too greasy, flavorful. The fries, which I don't ever make at home, were awesome. Thick cut, partially crispy and partially floppy, salted and served in a paper cup. Washed down with a freestyle mix of Cherry Coke and Lime Ginger Ale (a Ginger Coke Cherry Lime Rickey) there was nothing wrong with my lunch.
I just kept thinking about the last time I made burgers at home, which was several months ago.
85% lean ground beef, lightly handled, sprinkled with salt and fresh ground black pepper over the top three separate times while mixing, then lightly formed into small balls that get pressed into a screaming hot cast iron skillet, cooked thin and layered on a squishy potato roll with slightly charred onions and ketchup. Yeah.
I'm not a thick burger guy. I like them thin and slightly loose. I like a nice browned, slightly crunchy and slightly salty crust. It's the kind of taste that just can't be duplicated unless it's how you intend to cook them from the beginning.
It's also the kind of taste that makes me a little sad, because I know that I'm destined to be disappointed by 90% of the burgers that I can buy to satisfy a craving. Don't get me wrong. It's not like I'm never ordering a burger on the road again. It's just that I won't feel that joyous satisfaction anymore after I've eaten it. Or the second one.