On Eating and Loving Food

A burger and some fries, please

That’s all. Just a burger and some fries, thanks!
Posted:  Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 8:45am

I know I’ve written about burgers and fries before, but some things never get old. That combination is the most popular lunch in America, plus I had one of the best burgers I’ve ever had last weekend. The fries were pretty spectacular, too.

And if John T. Edge can write a book about it, “Hamburgers & Fries: An American Story,” well, I guess I can write a couple columns.

How often do you go out to lunch and just want a hamburger and some fries? Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. I just Googled “America's top 10 favorite foods.” The first site I clicked on said this: 1: Hamburgers; 2: Hot dogs; 3: French fries.

It went on to say: “(Hamburgers are) considered a ‘high risk’ food because of the poor health standards under which they are manufactured ... making processed meats creates high bacteria counts and putrefaction of the meat which need to be treated with chemicals. Putrefaction causes meat to turn green which is then dyed with red chemicals to appear fresh ... Hamburgers are the single biggest food item that inflicts the most damage on the American diet.”

“Putrefaction and green meat.” Gross. You don't even want to know what that site said about hot dogs.

And french fries? “French fries are very toxic ... they must be cooked at high temperatures which cause the chemical acrylimide to be released. Acrylimides are a known cancer causing agent that also causes nerve damage ...”

The website was islandgrownfoods.weebly.com. Don’t Google it if you like hamburgers and fries ...

The next site “the balance” was more uplifting, stating that the burger is, indeed, America's favorite restaurant food. That site also reiterated something I stated in an earlier column, “Hamburgers and Dirty Pete,” about the earliest versions of the hamburger being attributed to Genghis Khan and his Mongolian soldiers placing scraps of meat under their saddles, tenderizing it as they rode. Talk about gross.

Another website had this to say: “A burger and fries is the most uniquely American pairing this side of hot dogs at the ball park ...”

Anyway. Hamburgers are becoming the number one best-selling menu item all over the world. I’ve read that the popularity of hamburgers in the U.S. is second to that in Australia, followed by England, France, Russia, Germany, Japan and Spain, with Italy lagging far behind. That may have something to do with all the ridiculously awesome food in Italy, in trattorias and roadside food carts.

I will admit, though, that after a couple weeks traveling around Italy several years ago, I came upon a McDonald's, in Milan. It was delicious. Sorry.

In my first column, published a little over a year ago, I talked about my love of food, and how I love detailed descriptions of food being consumed in a novel, and scenes of people eating food in a movie. I mentioned the scene in “Bonnie and Clyde” when Faye Dunaway took a big bite of a greasy hamburger. I wanted one then, and I want one now!

Okay so now that we’ve established that hamburgers are coveted by pretty much every non-vegetarian in the world, I’ll tell you about the one I had last Saturday, March 18.

It was at a food cart that was parked in Damariscotta for the day. I had seen a post on Facebook about “Burgers & Freys,” Frey being the last name of the owners. I stopped by for a burger, some fries and a story. Of course.

I'm not kidding. It was one of the best burgers I've ever had. It was BIG! Colin Frey, who owns the business along with his wife, Dawn McKenna Frey, told me the beef is 100 percent grass-fed, and fresh-ground. No red dye needed. And the fries? OMG. And they come with! You don't have to order a side. All for 8 bucks. The food truck is based in Gardiner, but thankfully it has wheels. Keep an eye on its Facebook page to find out where it will be, and when. Then just pack up the car with burger-loving friends, and hit the road. Seriously.

I'll be writing a story about Burgers & Freys. Look for it on the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper websites soon.

See ya next week!