FRIDAY REPORT: Expect the unexpected
July 29, 2011
At lunch the other day, my wife put this incredible-looking hamburger in front of me. It was nestled in a breathtaking mound of artisanal-looking fries. The bun was perfectly toasted with melted cheese broiled in a crispy ring around its edges. I gasped. The Ultimate Cheeseburger, ripped from the cover of Gourmet magazine but astonishingly, right there in front of me. In the flesh. So I thought.
My eyes welled at my good fortune in marrying well. I brushed away a tear and watched its shimmering path in slow-motion as it fell to the floor, bursting into exquisite glistening droplets. It was a dream that was somehow real. With a deep breath, I picked up the magnificent creation with both hands and took a huge bite.
That’s when the trouble started. Something was not right. In fact, something was downright wrong. In the center of the bun, directly where the cow part should have been, there were gray lumps and white lumps and red stringy things. I stared at it in horror.
My wife wrinkled her brow, “What?” she said.
“Whadizis?” My mouth was full.
“It’s a veggie burger,” she replied calmly.
“The red stuff would be beets,” she said, eyeing me now with a steely glare as if daring me to say something, or perhaps daring me not to swallow. We stared. I swallowed. It tasted like beans. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t something to hide underneath a hamburger bun either.
“Veggie burger?” I said. “Don’t you see a little contradiction in the name? Veggie is short for vegetable and burger is short for hamburger, and there is no hamburger in a veggie burger.”
Her glare hardened further. “So,” she said, “you’re opposed to healthy eating?”
“No, no,” I declared, “I’m opposed to duplicity and fraud and a veggie burger is both of them.”
The wrinkle in her brow turned to an ominous furrow, “Colorado is the skinniest state in the nation. Don’t try to wreck it for everyone single-handedly.”
“But it was so unexpected! It was like, ‘WHAM’ out-of-left-field type of surprise. I was expecting a normal hamburger, then all of a sudden I had a mouthful of lumps and stringy things. For a second I thought you were trying to pois . . .”
“Don’t even tempt me,” she interrupted, “What is the matter with you? A veggie burger never killed anyone. What could you possibly object to in an alternative to steroid and antibiotic-laced, flavor-injected beef?”
“Stop!” I said, “you’re making my mouth water.”
“Take another bite.”
“You mean like, right now? Of this?”
“Yes. Right. Now.”
So I did. Not expecting cow this time, I’ve got to admit that it’s nothing I’d ever order off a menu, but it was okay. I looked closer at my plate then back up at my wife, “The fries?”
“Yes?” she said.
“They’re not potatoes, are they?”