A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hamburger love

   Why such fascination with hamburgers in restaurants around the Twin Cities? A couple of local critics have taken note of this phenomenon, and not very kindly. Yes, hamburgers have long been wildly popular. Look at how McDonald’s took off decades ago. But the explosion of “handcrafted” and “gourmet” burgers around here might suggest that something else is going on besides the fact they taste very good (but many other things also taste very good); besides the umami thing (but many other foods communicate to the palate and the brain similar stimuli); and besides the relatively low cost and higher profit of ground cow. Hmmm, maybe those are, in fact, the reasons for their wild popularity. Nevertheless and notwithstanding, it seems restaurants here in the Twin Cities – and I refer to venues in a whole different category than Red Robin – are carrying this latest food fad a bit too far. Food web sites and local magazines have even featured articles on “the best hamburger”. Take a look at last August's issue of Mpls-St Paul Magazine.     http://www.mspmag.com/dining/features/theyearoftheburger/default.asp
   I suppose the same phenomenon can be found elsewhere, but if this continues in the Minneapolis-St Paul area, it may be time to make the hamburger the Official State Food. Now that would enhance our national culinary reputation.
   In fairness, we do have local chefs whose culinary creations transcend ground cow, and some of them are garnering national recognition: A very recent example is Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma and Brasa won the James Beard Best Chef Midwest award, and last year Tim McKee of La Belle Vie was the winner in this category. Of course, the fare at their restaurants runs a bit higher, fiscally speaking, than most hamburgers. If there must be a food fad, though, how about declaring the competition over in the case of hamburgers and start another one for sausages? There’s much more variety in the case of sausages (no pun intended, until I typed that).

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