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February 24, 2009

Worst Burger-Maker Ever

I never saw it, so I can’t be sure, but I suspect that my mom’s hamburger recipe went something like this:

NO MORE COMPANY HAMBURGERS:

Take 2 pounds of hamburger meat and leave it on the counter all day.  Make sure the meat is segregated from all available seasonings so the cardboard flavor of the ultimate product is preserved.   Form thick patties and grill the hell out of them for one minute.  Serve.

I remember taking a bite of one of her hamburgers.  It was protesting cow flesh encased in crunchy carbon, pressed between two buns from the day-old bakery.  I ran outside and spit it into the bushes and earned a spanking for my efforts.

While I’ll happily cook Thai Chicken, Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta and Feta Cheese, Bowties with Peas and Prosciutto and  Korean barbecue,  I’ve never made hamburgers for my kids.  I don’t believe in torture.

Bill, on the other hand, can make a burger.  We’d been married for years before I agreed to try one, but it was delicious.  He pats the meat as if sculpting a masterpiece, marinates it in a combination of Dale’s sauce and exotic spices, and tends the grill while I prepare pillowy buns, sliced red onion, several kinds of mustard, cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes.  It’s a fabulous family meal, but Bill is the key ingredient.

Every Sunday I sit my Type A butt down and plan all my meals for the week.  Last week the boys requested Bill’s hamburgers and I penciled them in for Thursday, thrilled to get a night off.

Thursday I was home from work and watching Messer and Montana flirt on CSI when Bill called to say he’d forgotten that the baseball draft was that night.  He wouldn’t be home until after eight.

“Honey, your boys will starve.  I need you to come home and make dinner before you go,” I said.

“Can you say that again?  I think my Blackberry is on the fritz.  I thought you said you needed me to fix dinner.”

“I do.  It’s hamburger night.  I haven’t made hamburgers in my life, and you know the story about my mom.  She–”

“I remember.  Live cow inside a carbon crust.”

“Well, it clearly gave me emotional scars, and I don’t want to do that to the boys.  I’d rather feed them cereal,” I said.

“I’ll see if I can run home before the meeting and get them started,” Bill said.

On CSI, Stella had subjected the mysterious substance on the debutante’s dress to an array of scientific tests before identifying it as Cheese Doodle dust.  Then I heard Bill dash in and call Drew.  They puttered for a few minutes and Bill left.  The charcoal was lit, the patties were marinating, and I didn’t have the vaguest idea of what to do next.

I called Bill.

“When do I know the fire is ready?”

“The charcoal will be white around the edges.  Then you put the hamburgers on and cook them until they’re done.”

“Roger.  How long is that?” I asked.

Bill sighed.  “You just cut into one and look at it.”

“Dude, give me an estimate.  Is it more like five minutes or thirty?”

“I’d say fifteen,” he said.  “But that’s just a guess.  I can’t believe you cook these fancy dinners and don’t know a grill from your ass.”

“I can buy a grill.  I’m from the Tiny Kingdom.  I just can’t use one,” I said.

We hung up and I headed outside to face my nemesis.

Drew was at the grill, tongs in hand, carefully spreading out the charcoal.

“I think it will be at least five more minutes before the fire is ready,” he said.

“Hey, do you know what you’re doing with the fire?” I asked.

“Yes ma’am.  I watch Daddy.  I know how to grill the hamburgers, too.  Can you reach a cookie sheet for me to put them on?  It’s too high for me.”

“No problem.”

I returned with a cookie sheet, tongs, an oven mitt and the patties.  I hovered over Drew for a bit, feeling like it would be child neglect to leave him with a sizzling fire and a plate of raw meat.

“Hey Mom, I can do this myself.  If you want to finish your show you can,” Drew offered.

I took him up on it.

The hamburgers were the best ever.

The look on Drew’s face as we applauded his culinary skills wasn’t bad either.

dow

*****************

One year ago in My Tiny Kingdom: The Mysterious Disappearance of Feathers

***************

The theme for this week’s Flashback Friday is “What I Was Doing X Years Ago, Where “X” = Any Positive Integer”

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 10:33 am • Boys To The Rescue,Let's Eat: Meals and Recipes   

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21 Responses to “Worst Burger-Maker Ever”

  1. Don’t feel bad. I’m the same way when it comes to the outside grill. I can cook ANYTHING as long as I don’t have to go outside. I have grill-angst and it makes no sense. I’m from Kansas City where barbecue is King and I’m scared to go outside and grill anything for fear of screwing it up. You’re not alone!

    Moxie Mama’s last blog post..I guess I suck as an Obama Mama

  2. And the passing of the Man Torch has begun! My Dad was big on “man skills”, grilling was not one of them.

    Russ’s last blog post..Don’t Mess with Taxes 08 by Russ

  3. The end of your story is so cute it made me tear up a little. Seriously. I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I am six months pregnant and if one of those burgers (with cheese!) were to spontaneously appear on my desk at this instant (9 AM PST), I would burst into great heaving sobs that would only be interrupted by me shoving the entire burger in my mouth at once.

    Peeved Michelle’s last blog post..Chase, Can You Fix This?

  4. Related: I am absolutely getting a cheeseburger for lunch today.

    Peeved Michelle’s last blog post..Chase, Can You Fix This?

  5. Congrats to Drew! I’m really impressed. But, what is that on his shirt? It looks like one of his brothers just egged him!

    Mary Frances’s last blog post..Cream of Broccoli Soup

  6. Love it! My hubby is the better cook in our house, but I am learning. The other night before I was willing to feed him the fish I made, the poor man had to come check to see if it was done….

    I’ll be having a burger for lunch – no question!

    Rebecca’s last blog post..Fast & Swift

  7. As for the culinary skills in my home, my cooking style could best be compared (but not favorably so) to the Cajun style: blackened beef, blackened seafood… blackened corn flakes.

    No, no, despite my heritage as a Boy Scout, and with the exception of some rudimentary camp cooking (which no one has either raved about or died from … yet), I am not allowed near the stove in our house.

    Charlie on PA Tpk’s last blog post..There is a disturbance in the Force (a/k/a President Obama)

  8. Funny! Our household is very egalitarian, hubby does most of the cleaning, washes laundry, I fold, I do most of the cooking. But grilling is something that has totally eluded me. When I got my first apartment, I tried cooking my favorite beef and mushroom kabob recipe on a hibachi. First and last experience grilling.

    Bhamdining’s last blog post..Root Vegetable Rhapsody

  9. Good for Drew. He’s a smart kid. Just out of curiosity, what happened to his shirt? Was he egged?

  10. Hooray for the tiniest cook in the tiny kingdom!

  11. You & Bill raise such independent young men! I’m actually somewhat afraid of the grill. I probably shouldn’t admit that. I should also probably keep it to myself that I hate cooking in general. If my husband didn’t give me this song and dance about it being a mothers job to hand make nourishment for her children I’d only use the kitchen for decoration.

    Erin’s last blog post..Snow girls

  12. I want to marry Drew when he grows up.

  13. Yay for Drew. Tell him chicks dig guys that can cook and watch the expression on his face. (unless you think this will prevent him from ever picking up a spatula again.)

  14. Yay Drew!!

    And yay mom for now having another substitute for dinner making. Anytime someone else can cook is a VERY good day.

  15. I’m one of three or four who want to know what happened to Drew’s shirt? Does it need to be analyzed by the folks at CSI: Tiny Kingdom?

    Oh man, I would take a burger right now too. Our grill is in storage until we get back to the States and Germans don’t really grill out.

    MamaD4’s last blog post..The GLoD (or German Look of Disapproval)

  16. My dad ruined burgers for me, much like your mom did for you. When my mom had to go to the hospital for whatever reason when I was 9, my dad made us burgers. The poor man didn’t know how to make grilled cheese sandwiches, let alone burgers, and I bit into a very raw piece of meat–though browned on the outside, disguising the terror within. I didn’t eat a burger again until I was in college.

  17. Yeah, I want to know what happened to Drews shirt too.

    Oh, and we loved the beef balls in burgundy sauce and the pork lo mein. Thanks for the recipes.

  18. on a totally different note, Drew has great teeth. Has he already had braces?

  19. Aaaahhh…how does that song by Jimmy Buffet go again? We are having cheeseburgers this evening.

  20. Are you ever going to tell what is on Drew’s shirt, or is that one of the secret ingredients in the burgers?

    Sir Nottaguy-Imadad’s last blog post..Brooks & Dunn going their separate ways

  21. I betcha that’s mustard on his shirt, from those fabulous burgers! How cute, and how proud he looks!

    baseballmom’s last blog post..I’m goin’

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I'm Anne Glamore, wife, mother, lawyer and blogger. I have three boys, and I'm desperately trying to train them to become Southern gentlemen, but that may be an unrealistic goal. At this point I'd be ecstatic if they'd quit farting at the dinner table. If you're new here, check out the Readers' Favorite Posts below or browse through the Categories. I write about my attempts to teach the boys about peckers and sex (which we call "making googly eyes"), my struggles with hepatitis C and spine surgery, the boys' adventures with fire and pets, my mom's death from ovarian cancer, my love of cooking (with plenty of recipes) and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me on Twitter or StumbleUpon or Email me. I'm happy to speak to your group or club.

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