Hamburger Heresy: A Traitor to My Tribe
Posted October 6, 2012on:
New Yorkers believe that ketchup always goes on hamburgers, and never belongs anywhere near a frankfurter. (New Yorkers also usually do not call this same sausage a “Wiener” or Hot Dog” or any other variant than by its first name, “Frank”).
I’ve started avoiding ketchup (or catsup) altogether except on french fries, unless there’s a bottle of brown sauce available in an irish pub, or malt vinegar.
Traveling outside of New York City when I was a kid, I encountered a weird habit that I and my family thought was disgusting: putting mustard on fast-food hamburgers. When we drove on summer vacations, McDonald’s and Burger King topped their burgers either with mustard-only, or with a squirt of the both mustard and ketchup. New Yorker food neurotics, who don’t like different foods touching each other on the plate, would not do well here.
Mustard on anything except a hot dog or a ham sandwich was weird. New Yorkers do not like their normal foods to be made weird.
I made a huge dietary change this year. I tried mustard-only on a burger (which I got at the tiny Steak-n-Shake outpost in Times Square) on a whim. I just had a thought. The counter-actress gave me a choice, and I chose mustard.
Oh my goodness.
Mustard on a burger was… amazing. The tiny grains of mustard brought out all of the flavor of the crusty meat.
I tried it again at a diner the other night known for their perfect burgers. The counter guy handed me a an unlabeled squirt bottle of deli style mustard he used for sandwiches.
I also believe that a genuine Chicago-style hot dog made with a genuine Vienna Beef wiener has one or two advantages over a New York frank with sauerkraut and mustard, unless that sausage is from Grey’s Papaya or Papaya King and is covered in onion sauce, accompanied by a Papaya drink. Papaya always wins, just like you know the Samoan wrestler will always pin the other guy, wherever he hails from, to the mat.
I also really like deep-dish pizza when it’s executed correctly (not available in New York City). I like New Haven-style pizza, too.
So shoot me. Line me up against the wall and shoot me for the traitor to my City that I am. I have embraced the common sense of Other Places.