For the past few years, It's become a distressingly trite verbal triviality; anytime anyone says anything that can be taken in even the slightest of ways as 'anti' something, press releases and news reports will begin to deluge the reader with stories about 'the war on (fill in the blank).' It's been a blizzard, so much so that I'm beginning to feel like a post-Christmas North Texas cattle rancher. As 2015 was ending, we witnessed wars on women, women's health, the male ethic, conservatism, the liberal mind, various religions, big ag, big food, big pharma, big oil, etc. Please feel free to ad your favorite war to the list.
And today was the final straw. I've just read an end-of-the-year story on the hamburger wars or, as I like to call it, the war on hamburgers. Leading the attack are misguided research companies like Technomics that cannot understand one of the most basic tenets of what constitutes a hamburger: it must contain Ground Beef. Not chicken, not pork, not salad fixings, not any other ground and pattied product other than beef. A war on hamburgers has been declared and I'm not about to get all Neville Chamberlain over it by seeking appeasement with the vilest of unbeefed villains and declaring peace in our time.
Technomics claims "Alternative burgers are on the rise in restaurants, as beef burgers give way to leaner meats and vegetarian eats." They have got to be kidding.
Alternative burgers? No, just plain no. (1). Beef is a leaner meat so it can't give way to itself. (2) Vegetarian products are not meat so calling any of them a 'burger' is simply unacceptable.'
Technomics further sinned when one of their egregiously misinformed spokespeople said "Chicken burgers top the list of fastest-growing burgers on menus, rising 23% since 2013 on limited-service restaurant menus"
Once again, no. Chicken sandwich consumption has grown nicely and that's what the segment leader, Chic-fil-A correctly calls them - chicken sandwiches - even though they serve them on a traditional hamburger bun.
Technomics (paraphrasing an ex-president, "There you go again") said "Burger King recently released its new Flame Grilled Chicken Burger, featuring a chicken burger patty, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles and onions on a brioche-style bun."
Oh, hell no! BK is selling a *&6% chicken sandwich!
Compounding Technomics' most grievous error was an even more unforgiveable one by Eric Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer for Burger King. Speaking in fluent 'PR-ese', he said, “We’ve never seen more interest in chicken burgers than we do today, so we’re excited to now offer them to guests everywhere. Our guests tell us they love the taste of our burgers because we fire-grill them over an open flame, so now we’re taking what we do best and applying it to a burger made of chicken.”
Hey, Mr. Hirschhorn, you're peddling a fire-grilled ground chicken sandwich on a hamburger bun. It is NOT a burger.
Note to the editor: Is there a stronger expletive I can use here that you won't delete?
McDonald’s says they're testing chicken burgers in the Tampa Bay, Fla. area. Technomics says turkey burgers appearing on menus in full-service restaurants have risen 15% since 2013. In early November, as a nod to Thanksgiving, White Castle unveiled three turkey sliders featuring Butterball turkey patties topped with ingredients like sweet potato waffle fries, cranberry sauce and Bistro Sauce. It's a misnamed culinary curiosity that fits well with that bizarre veggie slider they rolled out last spring when they filled one of their tiny little buns with a Dr. Praeger’s brand patty made with carrots, zucchini, peas, spinach and broccoli.
Hey, editor, how about (deleted) No? Maybe I could say (deleted)? Or (deleted)?
McDonald's is peddling a ground chicken sandwich on a hamburger bun. I'll give White Castle a pass if they'll please call their products turkey sliders but, if they dare call them turkey burgers, I'll have to throw the flag, picket their nearest establishment and complain long and loudly to the nice folks at the National Turkey Federation (Are you listening, Joel Brandenburger?).
What's worse, Wendy’s launched a Black Bean Burger, featuring a pitiful excuse for a patty that consists of black beans, corn, roasted peppers and spices served on a seven-grain bun. Those ingredients, snatched from the bottom of a well-worn horse's feed bag, are topped with Pepper Jack cheese, spring mix, ranch dressing and a thin slice of tomato. Unconfirmed reports are that the product development team feared Dave Thomas would try to rise from the grave to stop this foul besmirching of his good name.
I used to have friends at Wendy's. They are no longer on my Christmas card list.
Micky D, W.C. and Wendy's have been tried and found guilty of selling grilled salads on a bun, and erroneously calling them 'burgers.' All three are active agressors in the war on hamburgers and they must be defeated.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill,
We shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air,
we shall defend our hallowed hamburger, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender.