I like involved but…C’on

August 28, 2011

Random Thoughts

I find I like involved recipes, I like the challenge of them to see how it pans out in a normal every day kitchen.  For the most part they are fair as far as the process with the end product being completely dependent on the cook’s ability to find the off beat items. Usually the massive amounts of ingredients outweigh the end result for me.  Do I really want to spend big $$ on outlandish things like micro greens or 15 year balsamic…well the balsamic I might waver at but micro greens…nahhh not so much.

I was surfing over on Serious Eats yesterday and came across an entry for what the writer has termed The Blumenburger.  Touted as “the perfect burger” I had to wonder if the burger was all it was said to be so I read on with interest.  The farther into the article the more I though Mr Blumenthal, of The Fat Duck,  was completely off his rocker!  The writer of the article, Kenji Alt from America’s Test Kitchen, listed the following interesting facts concerning the build of “The Blumenburger”~

  • Number of ingredients to make a cheeseburger: 3 (meat, cheese, bun)
  • Number of ingredients to make a Blumenburger: 32
  • Cost of average homemade half-pound cheeseburger: $3
  • Cost of Blumenburger: $9
  • Time required to make average cheeseburger: 7 minutes (3 minutes of prep, 4 minutes cooking time)
  • Time required to make Blumenburger: 30 hours, 4 minutes (30 hours of prep, 4 minutes cooking time)

Oh and 12, yes 12 pages of instructions!  And ya’ll thought I got long-winded at times!  Just looking a those stats makes me want to pass right on by the “perfect burger.”  I love spending hour upon hour in the kitchen making my own ragu or baking various cakes but there is NO WAY I am spending 30+ hours on a hamburger.  I mean does it really matter that when you grind your beef that you align all the strands as they come out of the grinder…not to me it doesn’t.  Do you really have to use 30 day dry aged short ribs…um not to me.   Oh and let’s not forget making your own cheese slices that, in the words of Kenji Alt, never actually set up. Thanks but no thanks, I will stick with deli slices.

One of the other things I noticed in the article was the mention of the waste this recipe had.  Now I can understand there be some waste when cooking, I usually have a pile of skins and seeds when I do Ragu (which H.N. and i debated on leaving out or leaving them in), but buying pound upon pound of quality tomatoes to only making use of the seeds and jelly discarding the remaining pulp just to make a few tablespoons of ketchup…that I can’t wrap my head around.  Blanching onions for 15 seconds??? Really??  Only 15 second?  Why not longer or for that matter why at all?  One of the other items that caught my eye was the contortions one must go though to not only make your won buns but to butter the tops of the homemade buns…browned butter, well I guess if we are going to go all out then we must needs have browned butter.

So in the end I guess I would have to say one person’s idea of “perfection” varies vastly from the next.  I am sure that in a restaurant setting this recipe would work well as there is more room for going way over the top, I mean when you have a brigade to do the prep work  you can get this involved, but for the average home cook I think I will be passing this one by.  I will stick with my old stand by burgers made from fresh ground chuck with a nice cheese (Stilton for The Husband, Swiss for me) buried in the middle, but that’s just me.

So if ya’ll see me heading in the direction or Mr Blumenthal please “Gibbs Smack” me in the back of the head and tell me I am getting full of myself!

Now go play with your food.



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