06 Dec 10 Reasons Hamburgers Are Addictive
Though I own a burger store and love a juicy burger like any American, sometimes, I am awed by how dumbed-down as a food the burger actually seems at first glance. The Japanese have their carefully sliced and fresh sashimi.
The French have their escargots and foie gras. The Indians have their spiced, marinated and smokey-succulent tandoori chicken. Us Americans have meat or fish patty, tomatoes, lettuce, pickle, mayo, ketchup and/or mustard slapped between two buns.
That’s the basic burger, without going gourmet. Doesn’t sound all that special. Not until you’re face-to-face with a tower of discrete ingredients that come together in such a drool-worthy burst of flavors and textures when you take a bite, that you can’t not have another. And another. And…just another one, no more, I promise.
So what is it about burgers that makes them so addictive? Do you want the foodporn version or the straight version? Let’s start with the straight.
1. It’s not cocaine. It may be fats, salt and sugar.
Some scientists will tell you that too many burgers, rich in fats and sugars (from the buns) are addictive. Others will tell you it’s not; it’s just food that’s addictive. Whatever the case, as long as you’re not having burgers everyday and you’re working your indulgence off at the gym, you’ll be fine. Heck, no food is good for you if you have too much of it! And there are plenty of emotional and gastronomical reasons we keep going back to the burger from time to time.
2. Fried meat patties take the cake.
Many of us love our meats boiled, broiled, poached, stewed, roasted, etc. But when meat hits the fat it’s a whole new world altogether. The explosion of flavors created by the Maillard reaction, which browns the meat, is the stuff dreams are made of. At least, for many of us.
3. Yummy umami.
I love this word, drawn from the Japanese. It describes the addictive flavor of the hamburger perfectly. Umami means savory. It’s not salty, sweet, bitter or sour, but has that indefinable taste you’ll find it hard to describe. And like the flavor, the burger is so simple, it’s addictive nature is hard to describe. But I’m still trying here.
4. First-class combos.
Of course the ground meat hamburger is important, but so is what goes with it. Tangy tomatoes, umami cheese, crunchy lettuce, sweet-sour pickle, a hit of mustard and a savory, juicy burger slid into a soft bun is a genius combination.
Of course there are other genius combinations as well, from all over the world, which brings us to the next point.
5. It’s versatile.
These days, they put everything from tuna to hummus to turkey to soy with olives, miso, bacon or oyster sauce in burgers. The choices are truly endless.
6. It’s quick-and-easy.
When you’re hungry, you can bite into a burger quicker than having to microwave Mac-n-cheese. You place your order at the drive-thru and in two minutes you’re digging into your cheeseburger.
7. It’s cheap.
Well, mostly. Not if you’re digging into the most expensive burgers in the world.
8. It makes our brain happy.
Burgers have carbs, which helps the brain release serotonin and makes us happy and relaxed. Of course, too much of them is bad for the waistline and the heart if you don’t work it off.
9. It’s easy to carry.
Burgers are super mobile. We all love mobile these days.
10. It’s everywhere.
You can’t turn a corner in America without bumping into a burger joint. Plus, hamburgers are getting really popular in the rest of the world. Even the French are eating it more often.
What makes burgers addictive for you?