it just me or has every major food
magazine in the country had a hamburger
its the cover this summer? One of
the magazines asked the question,
"Did you have a happy meal?"
and goes on to report how McDonald's
had experienced a state of "Mc
Emergencies". Seems the good
people out there who frequent their
establishments are getting a little
One: "The lettuce and tomato
will no longer be heated."
Item Two: "The burger bun must
now be toasted."
Lordy" I muttered just as Old
Miss Kitty would have in her smoke
and honey drawl back at the first
diner I ever flipped a burger in.
It was Joe's Fireside
in the rural, comfortable, conservative
town of Libertyville, Illinois. Miss
Kitty was among a stellar group of
women who carried the plates at Joes.
Shed been there about 25 years
when I checked into the joint. But
she was only somewhat ahead of some
of the other gals in terms of tenure;
Alice, Claire, Doris, Evelyn had all
worked at least 15 each.
with breakfast orders still piling
in one, of us three cooks would have
to break off and get lunch prep done.
Jerry, the owner (Joe had gone to
the great diner in the sky), would
be cooking down in the basement. If
it were a Wednesday hed be making
his famous country ribs and sauerkraut.
with slicing onions til we cried,
tomatoes til we "bled,"
and pickles til we puckered-slapping
and shaping the patties was one of
the chores. I still make them the
sort of gently throwing
the cold, raw meat back and forth
between my two hands until the beef
just holds together when you grill
burgers held Joe's own secret seasonings
mixed into the freshly ground chuck.
We weren't allowed to make the patties
until the morning was half over so
that the spices didn't "go to
sleep" in the meat.And we didn't
call them quarter-pounders cause they
weren't. It was seven ounces, not
four and took a full 8 minutes to
char-grill since we formed them tall
and fat, not flat and skinny.
course, we toasted the bun and
kept the tomato and lettuce cool.
We made them like we liked them. Any
good cook will do that.
Norman Van Aken and thats my
word on food.
Copyright © by Norman Van Aken,
consulted: Memory Lane.