Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nostalgia in a bun

For someone who likes to cook (well, for anyone really), I ate a lot of fast food when I was young. And yes, I was chubby. Although I have my suspicions, I don’t know that I could ever say for sure that these circumstances had anything to do with each other. I am tempted to make the claim:

I ate a lot of fast food; therefore I was chubby.

The only thing holding me back from doing so is the error in the following statement:

Zach eats a lot of fast food; therefore he is chubby.

If you have ever met or seen Zach, you will know what I am getting at. I suppose the candy drawer in my room along with my love for goodies like my best friend Anna's mom's bread (like heaven) could have been contributing factors as well. There were also the toaster strudels, Grandy's rolls, the snack machine lance white cheddar popcorn, and the Publix sweet tea. This is all making me very hungry.

When we were young, my brother and I would frequently sit in the back seat together on the way home from school and fight about whether we would go to McDonald's or Burger King that day.

Lindsey: “MCDONALD'S!”
Brian: “BURGER KING!”
Lindsey: “MCDONALD'S!!!”
Brian: “BURGER KING!!!”

Arguments in favor of McDonald's included:
* The toy in their Happy Meal was often a mini plastic Barbie doll, and I needed to add to my collection.
* The French fries were far superior to Burger King’s French fries, especially after Burger King changed theirs circa 1995 (I hope at least one of you remembers that).
* During the month of October, the Happy Meals used to (not sure if they still do) come in plastic pumpkins.
* The chicken McNuggets were crispy and delicious, and one of them was always shaped like a boot.
* The Bar-B-Q sauce was much better than Burger King’s sauce, although both establishments packaged them in a convenient compact little tub.
* The burgers were almost as good if they would take the stupid little chopped onions off of them.

While I only really go to McDonald's these days for their sugar-free vanilla iced coffee and the occasional treat, my general restaurant priorities have certainly changed. I have gone from a chicken-finger-kind-of girl to more of the get-in-my-belly-big-burger type (onions? yes please). I would never pass up a nice juicy burger for chicken fingers at a restaurant of any kind. I still prefer McDonald's to Burger King to this day, but now there are so many more options like In and Out, Five Guys, Fatburger, and Whataburger that specialize in just burgers.

For some of us, summer is in full swing and will be for months to come. For others, it is nearing an end. Either way, NOW is the time for grilling. If you don’t have a grill, you need to buy one. Zach and I got this baby with the gift card to home depot he got from his parents last Christmas, and we use it all the time:



Come to think of it, between the grill and the crock pot his parents gave us last year, I estimate about half of our meals are made thanks to them. This post is not really to provide you with a recipe for summer burgers because less is more when it comes to the meat for me. I just want to provide all three of my confirmed loyal readers some not-that-you-should-need-it inspiration to take a Saturday afternoon to sit outside with a cold drink, some crispy snacks, and a spatula and grill up some thick and juicy burgers. Please do it up right and be sure to add all the fixings! Dress your burgers like they are going somewhere special:

Prom Dress 2009 Burgers:

makes 4 1/4 lb burgers (or 3 1/3 lb burgers)

1 lb lean ground beef
salt and black pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Accessories: Cheese, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, mushrooms, bacon, possibilities are endless...do not forget the buns!

Mold three or four thick-ish patties out of the ground beef (about 4 or 5 inches in diameter)
sprinkle a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and a few drops of Worcestershire sauce on each side of each patty
Be sure to press your thumbs into the center of each raw patty to make a slight dent. This will keep the burgers from bloating up in the center, and they will cook more evenly.



For a gas grill:
Place patties on the grill over high heat for the first 3-5 minutes to sear the outsides, keeping the meat from falling apart.
Bring heat down to medium, and continue until the burgers are cooked to your linking (about 10 minutes for me).
Turn heat down to low, and place a slice of cheese on each patty. Also, use this time to toast the buns. This should take about 3 minutes.



Accessorize.



Enjoy.

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