If for some reason I was living in a situation in which there was only one type of food I could eat, my choice would be cheeseburgers.
Yep, good ol’ hamburgers with cheese. Of course, when you start with some top-quality beef on a nice specialty bun of some sort, and then add lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and a generous portion of cheese (I prefer cheddar, but Swiss, American or pepper jack work well, too), you have a meal that includes your meat, veggies, dairy and grain, and plenty of vitamins and protein. Top it off with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise or whatever other condiment seems appropriate to reach a desired goal, and you have a mouth-watering conglomeration that – as Food Network star Guy Fieri might say – offers a fine example what’s possible in Flavortown.
For many years, I’ve enjoyed consuming cheeseburgers at various places in many of the 42 states I’ve set foot in. During those beefy adventures, I’ve sampled fantastic examples at cafes in California, taverns in Tennessee and an amazing fair in Washington State. My ongoing research has led me to devour fine specimens at drive-ins in Georgia, sit-downs in Michigan and greasy spoons in the Carolinas.
And on most occasions, my taste buds went away happy and my gut was filled with joy. Sure, there have been a handful of overcooked patties, a few dry buns and a leaf or two of limp lettuce. But for the most part, the cheeseburgers that have come my way have been OK at worst and wonderful at best.
Over this year’s Memorial Day holiday period, my wife Wendy and I took the subject to another level by embarking on a “cheeseburger weekend” and setting out on a quest to eat cheeseburgers on three straight days. When it was over, we agreed that the result was excellent.
We started with a Saturday lunch at the Whispering Pines Café in Houston and were well pleased with the big, juicy burgers we were served. We continued by grilling our own on Sunday evening, using local Taylor Angus beef and lettuce grown in our own garden. Man, that was some serious eats! We finished the cheeseburger trifecta with dinner Monday night at the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse location in Willow Springs. Again, total satisfaction with a nicely prepared half-pound beauty.
To me, it’s hard to beat a cheeseburger, but it’s virtually impossible to beat a really good cheeseburger.
In the early days of NBC’s long-running show, “Saturday Night Live,” original cast members John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Laraine Newman were hilarious as members of a Greek family working inside the fictitious Olympia Restaurant, where the only items available were cheeseburgers (pronounced “cheeburger”), chips (“cheep”) and Pepsi (“no Coke!”). As silly as those sketches were, the truth is I’d probably find little to complain about if that was the only restaurant I had access to.
In all seriousness, to all of you who work at a place that makes and serves cheeseburgers, I’d like to recommend that you take your jobs seriously because there are customers who take don’t their cheeseburgers lightly. I’d also like to say thank you, because a good cheeseburger can offer an unrivaled and downright blissful eating experience.
Anyway, if you ever see me “stranded on a desert island,” I’ll probably be sitting in a wooden rocking chair watching a “Seinfeld” rerun and holding a cheeseburger. And hopefully it will be a really, really good one.