Sunday, August 5, 2012

Can we really have a cheeseburger?

I read the article about how impossible it is to make a real burger.  And about all I can say about THAT is that if you are going to use a cheeseburger as the gold standard recipe, and all the stuff you put on it identifies it as a California burger, it might be a good idea to try it in California first before declaring that it is impossible.

I am sure the typical hamburger can easily be made in the fall.

Although I don't have a steer to slaughter this fall, I am sure people could butcher a goat at any time.  Of course, with goats being about the only local livestock, one would expect an abundance of goat milk in the spring and summer.  No need to wait a year to harvest some rennet.  Goat cheese can be made in a couple of hours with plain ole goats milk and some lemons.  Now if you insist on that square orange stuff, there is no hope for you anyway, and it is probably best that it is impossible for an average person to make just so you don't hurt yourself.

Cucumbers come into harvesting from June to September, giving any cook ample time to make pickles and store them hassle-free until the rest of the ingredients are ready.

Lettuce grows extremely well in the fall, and people here harvest lots of lettuce right about the time when the last of the summer tomatoes are harvested.  Of course, the tomatoes can be picked and the vine hung up right out on the patio, and you can have a fresh sliced tomato up to and including New Years day.  (Ask me how I know this....)  If that isn't good enough, you can grow tasteless winter varieties that will mimic the one they put on your fast-food meal perfectly.

Mustard is just about the easiest condiment to make.  My mustard seeds would be ripening by now, had the goldfinches not stripped the plants clean of all seed pods and flowers.  If I really had to have mustard, I would have planted more.  If I hadn't gotten around to fermenting last fall's apples into vinegar, I'd just make mustard with sauerkraut or pickle juice.  It works really well.  The reason I didn't get around to planting more mustard for seed is that I grow plenty of hot mustard plants in the fall, and a nice hot mustard leaf can do double duty on the hamburger instead of the mustard and the lettuce.  And it is much easier since after the goldfinches get into all the seed, they toss it all around and it reseeds itself everywhere and all I have to do is sit around and marvel at the efficiency of laziness.

The hardest thing to duplicate is the bun, but that is easy for me since I don't eat that stuff much anymore and would just leave it out entirely.  But in earlier times I have actually planted, harvested, winnowed, ground and baked wheat.  Believe me, the people who say our diet should be based on healthywholegrains and other seed foods just don't know diddly-squat about growing and securing their own food.  It is really hard to grow seeds.  You might plant a whole row of something, and then have mice come by and take much of it at the last minute, or have it shatter all over the place.  Even for something super easy like amaranth, gathering even a cup of the seeds takes many hours and it tastes like red poi.  (Ask me how I know this...) There is good reason why the Chumash put a much higher price on chia seeds than on acorns.  If you have actually tried to harvest chia or basil seed or acorns, you will immediately notice the difference in time needed to get a cup of seeds vs. nuts.

Around here, I might be able to make a steamed pile of acorn flour, and this would take quite a bit of time.  I don't know how it would taste because every time I attempted to make food from acorns, it was a failure.  There is a good reason why the Chumash acorn-grinding stones were near the ocean.  They could have just grabbed more seawater for soaking, bypassing the moldy stage that my acorn mess got into.  And they did.  Acorns made up around forty percent of their diet.

Actually, the hardest food around here to replicate in a fast food meal is the potatoes.  They only grow in the spring, and are usually rotten by summer.  I grow a few of them, but mainly it is "you want sunchokes with that?"  And if you want to supersize THAT, well there is still no hope for you.


  1. yeah, his article is nonsense. ;-) we CAN eat cheeseburgers!

  2. Actually, I didn't have one for dinner. But a bowl of crock-pot chuck roast with my home-made pickles and chopped tomatoes was just fine.

  3. sounds good! :-) my husband, back in town at last, cooked us up a rack of grassfed lamb -- heaven!

  4. So, is it time to go ballistice on this article?

    The SAD describes the golden arches cheeseburger (hereafter referred to as CB) with all that STUFF on it.

    A CB, is a burger pattie, cooked, with cheese on it. That bun can go. Tomatoes, Lettuce? That would be a CB with Tomato and Lettuce. Pickles? That is a CB with pickles. You get my point.

    So in the strictest sense of the word the CB is: The patty and the cheese. BOTH of which would be REALLY easy to make in the fall. (Mozzarella is a cheese, so it counts.)

    Now. Yes, this article points out that our society is based on a division of labor that allows us to climb out of the trees and live on the ground with others. Yay our society!

    So, for a CB:

    Ingredient: Brisket, cow. Nummy. Actions: Kill cow. (something I have not done but really want to. I R a high level predator and meat-a-saurus.)Hand grind. Done. Form patty and cook over charcoal which I made myself. Done and done.

    Ingredient: Farm fresh milk. Actions: Milk cow. Done. Make cheese. (I have started to do this, but have not completed finished product.)

    Now, let's look at the other 'ingredients'.

    Tomatoes: Easy to grow and harvest. Done.
    Lettuce: I like bib on my burgers. Easy to grow and harvest. Done.
    Mustard: I haven't grown my own, but you can. I suggest inside so the birds don't get to it. I HAVE however, purchased seeds, ground them, and made my own mustard from 'scratch'.
    Ketchup: Tomatoes mashed with a ton of sugar isn't food. You shouldn't eat this.
    Pickles. Easy to grow, harvest and ferment. I have done all three. Canning was the biggest pain in my pickles.
    Mayo. Hmmmm. Grow the olives or coconuts, press them for the oil. I have not done any of that. The eggs would be farm raised. (I wanted to do that, my wife said no.) Whisk to combine. I have made home made mayo. It was nummy.
    Chipotles for the mayo. (To make chipotle mayo, NUMMY!) Grow jalapenos. Done. Smoke Jalapenos. Done. Mash and mix with home made mayo. Done.

    That covers it. Yes it would be difficult and time intensive. Get over it.

    But if you are going for the classic, plain CB, then the meat and cheese is all you need.

    Big Daddy T.

  5. Hey Scott! U R so funny, but Oh so wrong! The mayo would have to be made out of pure arterycloggingsaturated bacon fat, unless one wants to wait 20 years for the olive trees to finally put out fruit. Some of mine are on a three-year cycle and then there is the oil press I have to build. Bacon, OTOH, is easy to render. I know I joke alot about bacon, but in the real Hamburg, a real hamburg would be more likely to be pork cooked with bacon and topped with an egg and some sauerkraut. Maybe a bit of chow chow if you had it, but probably not tomato. If cheese was available, it wouldn't be eaten in the fall because there is too much other stuff to eat already and the cheese would be needed more in the winter.

  6. Mmmmmm...bacon fat mayo....DELICIOUS! I stand corrected!

    I was wrong, you are right....I think I need to go make some right now!!! (that sounds just kick-my-fat-behind-down-the-STAIRS-good!!!!)

    I AM OFF!!!!

    Big Daddy T

  7. I hope you have a good immersion blender