Burgers: A Method For

I’ve posted several times before about cooking. This will be the first time I post anything close to an actual recipe; unless you count the post about my son and his recipe for “gummy sour”, which is not a viable recipe for any edible substance at all.

My wife and I (I more than she) love burgers. There are times when I crave a burger specifically and when I get one there’s a bit of a high involved. I don’t know what an illicit substance high feels like, so the closest thing I can relate it too is the time mom gave me a little too much cough syrup, back in the days when cough syrup had some sort of happiness mixed in, and I went on to get to level three of Paperboy on Super Nintendo. A unprecedented feat, I proudly add, that lived in infamy amongst myself and my two brothers and one that they were never able to replicate!

Burgers make me happy. I don’t know why. They don’t give me superpowers like the cough syrup did, but they do make me feel like everything is just right for a few fleeting moments after I eat one. It can’t be just any burger, though. A fast food value menu burger usually doesn’t quite cut it, although there are exceptions. I don’t know exactly the requirements for an addictive burger but, after years of experimentation, my wife and I got it right last night.

Here’s what we did:

I separated the meat into two bowls and seasoned them. She doesn’t like some of the seasonings I like. In hers I put salt, pepper, BBQ sauce, shredded cheddar and butter. In mine; garlic salt, pepper, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cooking sherry, shredded cheddar, French fried onions, French fried pickles (apparently a new product and an amazing one) and butter. I mushed all of this together and put the meat back into the fridge for close to an hour.

When it came time to cook, I heated the cast iron griddle. As it was heating I made an onion patty by slicing a thick chunk of onion, placing it in oil on the griddle and letting it caramelize, weighted by a small cast iron skillet. I weighted the meat patties also so that they were very thin and I let them caramelize some as well.

They cooked very quickly and I melted cheddar cheese over each patty and served them on toasted brioche buns.

I’ve heard the arguments about not pressing a burger because you lose the juices, which are mainly fat, and fat is flavor. I used to adhere to this but after last night, I’ve found that, even if you press them nearly flat, they cook quickly enough that they are still quite flavorful and have that “melt in the mouth” quality.

My wife and I have sworn off grilling burgers. The grill is for steaks and vegetables now. Burgers in our house are henceforth flattop only items, smashed flat, not steamed, and a little crunchy on the outside. This, my friends, is a very legal form of crack. While it may clog an artery here or there, at least it won’t land you in jail or make you go berserk and chew people’s faces off.

Aren’t these qualities we should all be looking for when we select a drug of choice?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try this burger method, or a similar one, at least once. I know this method didn’t originate with me, just like cocaine didn’t originate with the guy selling it on the street corner, but this is definitely a “drug” worth trying. Don’t forget to add the butter or some similar fat. I think that this might be key to retaining moisture when pressing the patty flat.

A don’t…do illegal or dangerous drugs. They are called things like “illegal” and “dangerous” for very good reasons.

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Interview With the Highlander

 

I’m fully aware that I have, as recently as last night, made a post about this topic. However, I felt compelled to post again because I spent the night tossing and turning, worried that I had been unfair to the Highlander. So I got out of bed, quite early, and climbed to the peak of a mist-shrouded mountain close to my home. Not owning a sword, I held aloft a large bread knife and, as lightning flashed, screamed “There can be only one!”

Almost instantly he appeared and the storm that raged above us raged also upon his face. The thunder-heads that were his brows were knit furiously together and when lightning flashed across the sky it danced also in his eyes. The effect was unnerving as I’d come to expect the cheesy sort of sight I remember from old movies and t.v. shows. Seeing it in person, I couldn’t tell whether a natural storm simply reflected in his visage or if it was a storm within himself that was somehow also playing out in nature.

I thrust my bread knife at him and he parried the blow easily. He swung his blade around and up, then brought it swiftly down in a killing blow that I caught on the edge of my much more ridiculous weapon. We stood eye to eye, each straining with the effort of keeping the other man’s blade out of his insides.

Thunder crashed.

Lightning flashed.

We stared one another down, our teeth gritted, lips wrought in a sneer made necessary by the extreme effort we each exerted. “Stay your sword, sir!” I growled through a film of spittle. “I am unable to harm you. I am merely a man.”

A doubtful look crossed his face then, and the lightning began to assuage. His brows un-knit themselves. He looked almost friendly, then, as the sun crested the peak and the clouds and mist rolled suddenly away. He said, “Then why did you summon me?”

“To speak with you, of course. I find you to be quite a paradoxical creature. Would you accompany me to my home where I may speak with you candidly about the ridiculousness of your existence?”

“Of course,” He replied semi-non-threateningly, “I, in my immortal stature, quite often grow bored of hunting others of my kind. I find fulfillment in the mundane these days. Please, lead the way.”

So I did. When we had descended the mountain and alighted upon my couch I committed a neighborliness and offered him a beverage.

“I have tea.” I stated, “Or coffee. These are quite mortal and American, though. I could procure Scotch whiskey quite easily.” I paused for a moment, sure he would be offended enough to slaughter me. “I suppose,” I said nervously, “that such an offer is stereotypical. My apologies. What do you, as an immortal as well as a Scotsman, prefer to imbibe?”

“It’s still quite early,” he said softly, “How about ice water?”

“Sure.” I was disappointed as I filled the glass from the tap. I handed it to him and listened to his immortal tongue slurp at it.

“Have you considered”, I asked, “that you are more immoral than immortal?”

“What?”

“You spend your lifetime, which you claim is unending so long as another immortal doesn’t stab you, hunting and stabbing other immortals. Is this not murder? And for no other reason than that you feel you alone amongst your peers should exist? Not only is this murder, it feels suspiciously like genocide. How do you justify this?”

“It is the way of things. It is not murder if it is fate. I must live. To make sure I do, they must die. They are competition. It is nothing short of the American capitalist business model on a much more mortal level.”

“And you see nothing at all wrong with this?”

“As I say, it is the way of things.” He sipped his ice water, indulging its mortal plainness.

“Say one of your fellow immortals met you on a foggy, lightning-accosted mountaintop and asked for a truce. Say he had realized that you both were acting like lunatics and he offered a chance for both of you to live in peace. Would you spare his life?”

“His weakness would be uncharacteristic of our kind. I would cut off his head and sip his life-blood and, as it congealed, I would thin it with spinal fluid and sip it all the more.”

“You take no issue with the fact that you claim to be immortal but can be killed?”

“Only other immortals can kill me. So, if I kill all the others, I am immortal.”

“I see. And how many others are there?”

“There are always more.”

“But there can be only one?”

“Yes.”

“I see…”

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…pause and shed a tear for the Highlander premise that, as my decapitated head, sits on a shelf collecting dust.

A don’t…allow me to re-hash it again. If you catch me speaking of Highlander, slaughter me with your sword on a misty mountain in a lightning storm. The paradigm has shifted. “There can be none at all, and no discussion of any of it!”

 

 

Let’s Conspire! Here’s a Theory to Get Us Started

I present to you a real cake-taker of an idea. This idea was presented to me as a truth, or at least as a perceived truth. It has some flaws, but my reason for posting it is so that perhaps a dialogue can be started to iron them out.

The theory goes something like this: Hitler was on the verge of creating a gas that would only kill Jews. I already asked the first logical question; “How?” The answer was that the gas isolated some genetic…bit, for lack of a better word…that was specific to Jewish people and then, somehow, killed them with it. Hitler never got to use his gas, as it was still nearing completion near the end of the war.

In case all that wasn’t quite enough, the theory goes on to state that a certain environmentally conscious former Vice President got his hands on the formula, modified it to only kill cows and then procured several crop dusters. He is planning to fly these over every cattle operation in the U.S. so that, with cows extinct, we must all become vegetarians. More questions arise here. So I asked them. First was “If he only kills the cows won’t people just resort to filling their pastures with deer or bison?” Burger lovers like myself could certainly make do with another form of burger as long as it included meat of some sort. Beef is preferable but not necessarily necessary. Second was “Once the people realize what’s going on won’t they simply keep watch and shoot all crop dusters out of the sky?” The first question was never answered, although I assume the answer is he’ll eventually kill all those too. This of course implies that he doesn’t care for the environment at all, as mass extinction is not extremely environmentally friendly. The answer to the second was that it would be so well coordinated that all the ranches would be hit simultaneously.

You’d think that would be enough. It wasn’t. The next stage somehow has the has-been V.P. owning the only car in America and going door to door confiscating every gun in the country. And that, finally, was enough.

Now, there are those out there who wouldn’t stand for such things and there are those who would shrug their shoulders and live on. If you wish to participate in any discussion you should probably decide which side you’ll be on.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…keep an open mind. Stranger things than this have turned out to be true.

A don’t…judge me for sharing. This is a theory held by at least one person that I know. There may be other believers out there somewhere.

End of the World Prophecies End, The World Survives; A Possible Solution to the Age-old Conundrum

Perhaps you’ve heard the most recent Doomsday report that claims the world will end Saturday. If you haven’t, the end of the world has been predicted for Saturday, September 23, 2017. Get ready.

Or don’t bother. We all know that it won’t happen (not all of us, I guess. Most of us). The Mayans were wrong. Perhaps more fairly put, the people who “interpreted” an ancient calendar with no surviving users were wrong. Nostradamus was wrong, (I’m no expert on Nostradamus but surely he’s prophesied on this) web bots were wrong. Biblical scholars, Jewish scholars and crack-pot prognosticators have all been wrong. It isn’t because they are stupid or uneducated. Perhaps it is simply because the world has already ended and we are already in some sort of after-life.

It’s very simple to throw out theories like this. Rest assured, I have substantial evidence to back my claim.

Let’s consider technology. High-end tech labs continue to churn out products at a pace that is nearly as unbelievable as the products themselves. I heard on the radio the other day about a phone security app that gives access to you only after scanning your face to be sure you are an authorized user. Apparently this even adjusts itself over time so that it continues to recognize you even as your face droops with age. Amazing! Slightly scary. Fraught with bugs? We should know the answer to that in about ten or twenty years. I also heard about a pair of pants that will vibrate one leg or the other to notify you that you need make a turn as you progress toward your destination. That’ll be off the market as soon as someone allows their pants to lead them into the path on an oncoming train. Maybe the pants are smart enough to detect trains. At the very least you could call someone smarty pants and literally be correct. It’s about time. Thank you, techno geeks. But I digress.

The unbelievable nature of these products and the speedy  jumps of technological history could be attributed to the fact that the world has already ended. This would go a long way to explaining why these unrealities are realities. They could simply be mass hallucinations inspired by something in the atmosphere we believe we are breathing in.

If we were already in an after-life setting this would also explain Bigfoot, UFOS, ghosts, ESP and every other new-age idea and supernatural experience. People don’t die, they just leave behind their “body” and become invisible.( Or maybe there’s some after- life after the after-life. I hadn’t considered that until just now.) Some people have really seen Bigfoot. Some people have actually been abducted by aliens. People can really read minds and make the Statue of Liberty disappear and keep their teeth white and do any other unbelievable thing because the science we profess to understand doesn’t apply here like it did before the world ended.

Anyway, just food for thought.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…think about it.

A don’t…overthink it.

Multiple Burnings; Perhaps I Should Be Concerned

About a week ago I nearly burned down my house. It wasn’t purposeful, despite Freud’s input on the subject of accidents. I had the grand plan in mind of making a Halloween decoration. I bought a plastic skull on a pedestal at the dollar store with the idea of putting a candle in the top and answering the door for trick or treaters while holding it and offering an Alfred Hitchcocky “Goood Eeev’ning” before dispensing treats (and bookmarks depicting my children’s book. A shameless marketing ploy, forgive me).

“Here’s a nice led candle!” My wife wisely stated as I fantasized about the most spookiest time of the year.

“Real.” I dumbly asserted. “I want to be authentic.”

So we bought real candles. The tapered kind. I decided I wanted wax dripped all over the non-authentic skull. I carefully cut a perfectly sized hole in the skull and placed one of my candles inside. I (dumbly) waited until the next day when my wife was at work and set the thing on the kitchen counter. I lit the candle and let it burn while I did dishes. After dishes, I cooked breakfast and ate while watching documentaries on YouTube. After this I checked the candle, saw that it was nearly halfway burned down and thought to myself I’ll go to the bathroom and then blow out the candle. 

Only, I didn’t blow out the candle. I went to my room, sat in my bed and played Fallout. A guilty pleasure I sometimes engage in due to my obsession with survival skills and post-apocalyptic living. Several times during my foray into fantasy I considered going to get my glasses. They were on the kitchen counter. Several times I decided that not getting up was preferable to reading the dialogue on the screen.

After a while I began to smell something. I wondered absentmindedly why someone would be burning plastic.

The smell got stronger, and I absentmindedly wondered why they were burning so much plastic.

I didn’t become concerned until my English Mastiff, Stella, burst through my bedroom door, whining. She hid as well as she could under my bedside table, which wasn’t very well at all. She’s a monster. Basically she hid her nose under the bedside table. Several things clicked in my brain then, and I sprang from my bed uttering words I am normally loathe to use. I tripped over my blankets, my dog, my own feet. I ran to the kitchen to find a flaming puddle of molten plastic on my counter and, somehow, another on my floor a couple of feet away. The house survives but I’m going to replace a countertop and a good chunk of floor.

Unfortunately for my wife, she decided to keep me.

Last night I was attempting to light a candle the authentic way, with a wooden match. My wife was standing nearby, to her detriment. I’ve realized she loves me to her detriment. As I struck the match, the tip caught fire then broke cleanly from the…handle?…of the match and landed, flaming, on her shirt. We both stared at the tiny conflagration for a moment before I punched her in the stomach to save her life. Not hard, mind you, just hard enough to save her life.

In less than I month I’ve nearly burned down both my house and my wife. It seems it runs in my family. My dad has had some very close calls with fire most, as are mine, of his own making.

My poor mom. My poor house. My poor wife.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…avoid me. Just avoid me. If you value your life and the in-charred status of your home, body and belongings avoid me.

A don’t…judge me. Pyromania is a genetic trait.

Living Jack-O-Lanterns; In Answer to Why I Say Why Not.

The picture above is of a budding pumpkin. It is the first to have appeared in my garden and is of a variety that boasts the ability to grow to upwards of half a ton if properly cultivated. I don’t hold any misconceptions about my first attempt being successful at growing it to maximum size, but my research shows that this variety of pumpkin consistently produces fruits that weigh a few hundred pounds. If I can successfully grow just an average pumpkin of this variety, which I now realize I haven’t mentioned is called Dill’s Atlantic Giant, it should be sufficient to satisfy my goals.

Goal one is to make a living Jack-O-Lantern. I’ll hollow it, carve it, coat the inside with something to control the slime factor, then place my kids inside with flashlights. Not only will I have the first ever (as far as I’m aware, anyway) living Jack-O-Lantern with the potential for responsive lighting, I’ll also have the first Jack-O-Lantern that I know of with intuitive sound effects. I think that the kids will enjoy this greatly. They can pop out and scare people and just have a generally entertaining Halloween experience.

Goal two is to figure out what to do with the pumpkin shell after the holiday. I need an idea that doesn’t involve carrying it anywhere. So far I’ve entertained a few ideas for using it as a planter. I could either coat it with some sort of resin and attempt to make a permanent pot or just fill it with dirt and let it serve as a planter that will also provide some food to the plant I plant in it as it rots away.

Perhaps, if my neighbors don’t begin to complain, I can turn it into some sort of time lapse art project. Or it could serve as a combination bird bath/street side urinal for the homeless. This is the least desirable of all, so I hope one of the other ideas will work.

I likely wont have to worry about any of this at all because my green thumb is more brown with a greenish tinge.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try new things even if you expect only very limited success.

A don’t…pee in my pumpkin if I am somehow successful.

It’s Only August. Let’s Talk About Halloween.

I know it is early, but I went to Big Lots and they already had a whole section of Halloween stuff out. Some of it was pretty neat and we almost bought a few things. But…It’s so early. Still, I feel something creepy stirring in my soul and it is darkly wonderful. So here we go.

My wife showed me a post of a Tombstone pizza truck that crashed and spilled what looked like thousands of pizzas all over the freeway. I laughed about it and commented on how it would’ve been much more ironic had the incident occurred near a cemetery and you’d have graves covered in Tombstone pizzas. It may sound disrespectful, but if I have any sense of the mortal realm after I’ve passed and someone finds a Tombstone pizza on my grave, I’d laugh my dead hindquarters off. I suggested to my wife that our Halloween tradition be that we eat Tombstone pizza on the grave of a loved one on that hallowed eve. She disavows knowledge of our marital vows. As well she should. I didn’t bother to finish my thought by suggesting that we bake the pizzas not on a pizza stone but on a tombstone.

We apparently started decorating for Halloween a bit early. Also quite accidentally. I tried to take a picture but my phone is closer to a dumb phone than a smart one and so it has a poor quality camera. Since I can’t show you, I’ll paint a picture with words. My children were throwing dolls in the front yard as I weeded the flower beds. They were having quite a time laughing and chasing plastic people. On more than one occasion I pulled a doll down from a low-hanging branch. I began to tire of this distraction and advised them that the next doll that got stuck in a tree would become sole property of the tree to have and to hold until the next violent storm shook it loose. As is often the case, they ignored me and before they knew it my seven year old’s favorite Moana doll was hanging by a few strands of hair from a rather high branch of an ugly tree quite close to the street. It looks very Halloweeny. The doll’s legs are raised halfway and it faces the street looking quite like the victim of some ritual murder. Like the leprechauns found out she was a witch or something. Right out there for all the neighbors and passersby to see. I’m disinclined to remove it and not only because of the promise I made to the kids. I’m also entertained by the fact that my neighbors won’t understand. You see, they also don’t understand why I’m perturbed when their dog gets over the fence and bites my dog. Who cares what they think?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…celebrate Halloween whenever you feel like it. It is a state of mind as much as it is a holiday.

A don’t…celebrate it enough that it loses its special magic.