International Hamburger Day
By its name, “hamburger” would suggest that it is a burger made of ham. But as we all know, though generally made of beef or bison, burgers can be made of many, many things, which generally speaking doesn’t even include ham in its long list. (Unless, of course, you want to include “Spamburgers,” which boasts “…two prime cuts of pork shoulder and ham, perfectly tender, spices, and water, packed in tasty goodness…” or something like that. I know. I’ve been to the SpamFest and the Spam Museum, in Austin, Minnesota. Spam helped win World War II you know. I saw their war dioramas and watched the museum movie. And have you ever had the Spam-kabob? Or Spam pizza? Spam fries? Spam bake? But I digress….)
Anyway, hamburgers come in many varieties. Even we vegetarians have our veggie burgers, our quinoa burgers, black bean burgers, and so on. If you can find a way to hold ingredients together, it can become a burger.
A few years back, my family and I went to a particular burger place and ordered dinner. Fortunately, this particular place had “veggie” burgers available, so after discussing it at length with our server to determine what kind of veggie burger they used (there is one I avoid because of allergies) I ordered one. When our plates were delivered, I took a bite—and froze! I did not have vegetables in my mouth. I could tell. I grabbed a napkin and spit it out, horrified that I’d just taken a bite of flesh (that’s how we vegetarians perceive it, since well, that’s what it is. Carnivores have different, more palatable names for it, which I can understand since you want it to be, well, more palatable, because you’re putting it in your mouth and chewing it and swallowing it and everything). I called the server over and opened my bun and showed her the meat burger on my plate. “I didn’t get a veggie burger,” I said. “This is meat.” She was impatient with me, miffed that I would bother her. “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” “I can’t eat this,” I said. “I don’t eat meat.” She reluctantly took away the plate. “Well, pick something else then.” I couldn’t even think of eating after that. I settled on a salad or something, which she didn’t bring until the rest of the family had finished their dinner, so all-in-all it was a failed experience of dining out, which was really sad since we got to go out about once every three months.
So bothered by the lack of care I was shown, I wrote to the corporate office and tried to explain how upsetting the ordeal was. The best I could do was paint a picture for Mr. President as if he himself were sitting at his table, enjoying the company of family and friends, and bit into his burger and found something odd, so inquired from his server and learned that he’d just taken a bite of Border Collie, or German Shepherd. I hoped that would convey my distress to him.
Apparently he got it. He sent his apologies. With several coupons to the same restaurant to have some more veggie burgers.
So on this international day of hamburgers, and this Memorial Weekend when grills are fired up all over the nation, maybe try something new, a unique burger you haven’t had before (a plethora of ideas is on the Spam website). Enjoy your loved-ones, have a tasty meal, pause for a time of remembrance for those who have lost their lives in service, and have a safe and meaningful weekend together.
And I mean it. Check out the Spam ideas, say, one with Bacon. How can that miss?
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