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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

 

 

 

 New Sandwich Takes the Cake

Let us pause to consider the latest attack on the American diet: Denny’s new Mac ‘N Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt.

Erp.

Excuse me. I got a little nauseous just typing the name. The Mac ‘N Cheese Big Daddy Patty Melt is not exactly sitting light on my stomach. And I haven’t even eaten one.

What we have here, folks, is a full-blown, three-pronged assault on the waistline, the cardiovascular system, and common sense. It’s a hamburger patty topped with macaroni and cheese, melted cheddar, “Frisco” sauce (whatever that is, and I don’t think I want to know), served on grilled potato bread.

And it weighs in at a mere 1,690 calories.

Wow. You scarcely know where to begin with a mess like this.

I do know where NOT to begin, though. I refuse to accept this, as some have suggested, as a metaphor for American culture – bloated, greasy and really, really bad for you.

It’s just an exceedingly bad idea of a sandwich and another insult to the hamburger, which can be glorious when prepared properly (which, of course, lets out most hamburger restaurants).

I am a true fan of the good hamburger, and was pleased to see that a recent poll of Americans agreed with my assessment of the Five Guys burger as about the best you can get from a chain restaurant. I like Five Guys because it’s a straightforward burger – not fancy, just really tasty. Perhaps this is why they don’t feel the need to shovel a load of macaroni and cheese in between the meat and the bun.

Most of the time the best hamburger, in my opinion, is the one you cook at home on a grill. Of course, you have to go about it properly – no mystery meat, for one thing. I’ve had some homemade hamburgers that I am fairly certain were not 100 percent beef. In fact, I’m not convinced they were ANY percent beef. My best guess would be walrus.

I have also had an extremely expensive hamburger made from Kobe beef, the high-end stuff. And you know what? It was just a burger. A ridiculously high priced burger, but a burger just the same. And not as good as many I have had at home. If you have a good fire, quality meat, fresh buns and condiments, and a competent cook handling the spatula, the backyard cookout hamburger can be one of the best meals ever.

I have also had extraordinarily good hamburgers in dives, which are pretty much the opposite of a backyard cookout in every way imaginable. One of the best I ever ate was cooked on a grease-blackened grill in a dingy bar by an evil-tempered man who wore long sleeves winter and summer because the meat he cooked was so full of suet. It had a crunchy crust, a juicy interior and so much flavor that I ate three. Which you would think might have improved the man’s mood, but nope.

Anyway, the point is, a macaroni and cheese melt is not only dumb, even though it is only a gimmick, it is also an affront to the whole notion of simple, plain, wholesome delicious food, like really good hamburgers, and to the people who care about them and prepare them.

Even those of long sleeves and evil temperament.

 

 

 

© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.