Sunday, September 2, 2018

Burger Time

After telling my guest to help herself to the ice in my freezer, she opened the door and held her mouth slightly agape for a moment before getting her ice. “You sure must like hamburgers,” she said with an uncomfortable tone.

It just so happened that my local grocery had a sale on 80/20 ground beef recently. The price was low enough that I made the decision to stock up. Once I got the meat home, I portioned it into quarter pound patties sandwiched between wax papers. There were over 50 patties stacked neatly on the right side of my freezer, so I can see where a casual observer might think I was a tad bit obsessive.

Of course if she’d looked at the shelf on the freezer door, she might have also made a similar comment about the pork loin chops and chicken breasts. Somehow the stacks of frozen vegetables next to the burgers completely escaped her perception as well. It’s a carefully organized ice box, and there’s enough food inside to last for months. It’s not a vain attempt to survive the apocalypse. It’s actually economics.

Meat prices tend to be volatile, and they spend more time being too expensive rather than reasonably priced. For this reason, I buy a lot of it whenever it goes on sale and freeze it. After all, food stored in the freezer will basically last forever. and this gives me the ability to enjoy the foods I like, even when the prices are much higher than I could justify spending.

So yes, Michelle, I do like hamburgers. In fact, I like a wide variety of foods. What I don’t like is spending more money than I have to, and that’s why I stock up on volatilely priced goods when the prices are low.

But this wasn’t over. Next came the comment about how “GFS has really good frozen hamburgers”.

Now I’m not a fan of store bought premade frozen hamburgers. I’ve tried about a dozen different brands from the budget to the gourmet over the years. They always say “100% Beef” on them, and I’ve never seen any other ingredients listed. While they do taste like a meat patty, and some are almost enjoyable, they don’t taste like a normal burger. No matter how you cook them, there is always a slightly rubbery texture, the smell is gamey, and the fat seems to have a much lower viscosity when it melts.

And here’s the kicker with store bought frozen hamburgers: If you thaw them, things get really weird.

“Thaw them?” she remarked with palpable disgust.

Yeah, like if you want to make chili, tacos, sloppy joe, meatloaf, or anything that uses ground beef that isn’t in the shape of a disk.

OK, at this point her brain was about to break. She understood the idea of buying ground beef to make these things. She even understood the concept of freezing ground beef and thawing it out later to make these things. The problem came with the idea of using frozen hamburger patties to make a meatloaf, and couldn’t grasp why anyone would even think to do that.

Because it’s ground beef?

Her head couldn’t wrap around the concept. If I need a pound of ground beef for a recipe, I take out four of my home pressed ground beef patties and let it thaw. I can then break it apart to make brown ground beef, or mix it with ingredients to make meatballs or some other dish.

“If you’re going to make something else out of it, then why make it into a hamburger [patty] to start with?” she pointed out.

Because when I buy the ground beef, I don’t exactly know every meal I’m going to make with it. It’s easier to just turn them all into 1/4 pound patties, freeze them, and go from there.

She shook her head in bewilderment. This was just too much for her brain to wrap around. Apparently in her version of reality, you’re supposed to know exactly what you’re going to make with the ground beef before you buy it, and not buy more than you need over the next week. Changing those plans after that point somehow violated the sanctity of the food. And using a raw hamburger patty for anything other than making a hamburger was definitely a bizarre notion only a madman could conceive.

But when it comes time to make a meal, it’s easier to turn four frozen home pressed hamburger patties into a meatloaf than it is to turn a frozen pound of ground beef into four hamburger patties. When I buy the meat, I just portion it and press them all, so later on I have easy options available to me, and I buy in bulk so that whenever prices go up, I’ll still have great food choices available to me for many weeks to come.

It’s not a hard concept, Michelle.



P.S. Another special thanks to Glenn and George for this week’s jokes. People who contribute the jokes to this site are truly the best people in the world. You can contribute jokes by going here or by emailing them to

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