The Food of Summer
An Ode to the Veggie Burger
Without a doubt, the perfect food of summer is the veggie burger; it’s just the thing when the casual picnics of spring give way to the sizzling cookouts of summer. This change in seasons means hot nights, cool swimming in the family pool, coconut-scented sunscreen, weekend that feel like they go on for months, and all watched over by the scorching sun, tempered by a gentle breeze pushing the windchimes, smell of cut grass hanging in the air.
The veggie patty has charcoal seared smoky taste, crisp on the outside, buttery and delicious on the inside. The juice seeps into the bun and whets the appetite when you eat it. The salty bright tomato makes up for the juice the patty lost. The buns are caked in sesame seeds, toasted with garlic butter, hardened to provide structure to this culinary perfection. The lettuce gives it a crisp, refreshing crunch. A long and luscious pickle delivers a kick of briny goodness. Onions, normally willy and tear-inducing, are somehow tamed when thrown into the mix. The secret concoction of ketchup w/ mayo baffles the palate and invites curiosity as to what the “secret sauce” could be. And that’s just the basic experience. Any number of oddities can be added; radish, blue cheese; kiwi, lox. The limit is the cook’s imagination.
Every burger done right has many different flavors, all interacting and complementing each other. And washing it down with the elixir of lemonade on a hot day is the epitome of perfection.
What do you want on the side? Chips, fries, watermelon, churro bites? Its hard to find something that doesn’t go great with them. Burgers are one of the most versatile food on the market.
Although the icon of summer is the hamburger, a veggie burger gives you all of the joy with none of the guilt. Hotdogs won’t do the trick either. The long, thin, wiggly meal is as basic as they come; a truly mono-faceted food that’s made with who knows what. For some reason they can only ever support one flavor at a time; boring, greasy and lackluster.
The guardian of this staple is dad at the barbeque. He employs a time-tested method to it. A way to make sure that the patties are cooked just enough to eat, but just raw enough to love. Flip once, wait eight minutes. Flip again, another eight. Slather on the BBQ sauce, then flip it for two minutes and coat the other side too. Adding a slice of cheese brings an extra dimension to the meal, whether it’s the sharp bite of cheddar or the subtle elegance of Swiss.
Long days of water gun fights, impromptu soccer matches and swimming in the family pool is sure to work up an appetite that only the veggie burger can satisfy.
And the most important part about this one is that you feel great afterwards. This semi-healthy vegetable reassures us that indulgence is okay, because this is not just delicious but healthy too. No bloating or guilt like you would feel with a regular burger. The contents of this one are only the result of water, soil and sunlight.
While drying off from a water gun fight, the smell of the grill lures children to eat. Parents need not harp on the matter. The delicious combination of fire, charcoal, grease and BBQ sauce combines to create a sneaky and scrumptious invitation to gather around the table. As the burgers get served up and passed around, the sun begins to set, but the heat of the day remains. Long live summer. Long live the veggie burger.