Junk food guns down the burger

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - John An­der­sen john. an­der­sen@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

HEART at­tack food . . . all that yel­low and brown deep-fried stuff made from bat­ter, fat, gris­tle, and body parts that pigs, cat­tle and sheep use for see­ing, hear­ing, ex­cre­tion, se­cre­tion and pro­cre­ation, is in my hum­ble, an­thro­po­log­i­cal opin­ion, re­spon­si­ble for the demise of the ham­burger.

Yes, the burger we once knew and loved lies six foot un­der in Take­away Land’s Boot Hill, gunned down by the mer­ci­less killer, Joey Junk Food.

I have a the­ory that junk food in all of its evil and be­guil­ing man­i­fes­ta­tions made the take­away food in­dus­try lazy and op­por­tunis­tic.

Look at it like this. A guy runs a servo on the Bruce High­way. What’s he want to do? Cook you a burger for $ 6 or sell you the Sum­mer Spe­cial Chiko Roll and large chips ’ n’ gravy pack­age with a ‘‘ free’’ can of Coke thrown in for $ 7.49? You don’t have to be Gyro Gear­loose to work out he wants you to roll to­ward the Sum­mer Spe­cial. It’s eas­ier for him and he makes more moolah.

You buy a burger now, what’s in it? A mi­crowaved frozen pat­tie is what’s in it. And what’s it taste like? It tastes like a mi­crowaved, frozen pat­tie. You ever asked your­self what’s in a frozen pat­tie? I got one word of ad­vice for you. Don’t.

Dead, too, is the chicken sand­wich. Gone the same way as the ham­burger. Now we get frozen cubes of menopausal, bat­tery farm hens whose best egg lay­ing days are be­hind them. When they stop lay­ing eggs, it’s head­soff time for these old boil­ers. There’s no glory ride to hen heaven for these old girls. They en­ter the af­ter-life as grey cubes of flesh be­tween two slices of three day old bread.

Gone, too, is the toasted ham, cheese and tomato sand­wich. The thin, shiny ‘‘ ham’’ can only be a blend of of­fal and mem­brane scraped from abat­toir floors by first-year ap­pren­tice butch­ers. And the cheese, surely, was never made from any­thing milked from a cow.

I un­wrapped a toasted, ham, cheese, and tomato sand­wich one night out­side a road­house near Bowen. I was in my car and the cheese glowed yel­low in the dark. It wasn’t a cheese yel­low, it was a chem­i­cal yel­low and it glowed. It was like a sand­wich from Cafe Russki in down­town Ch­er­nobyl, ex­cept there I was, not far from Bowen. And, as any­one with a rea­son­able grasp of ge­og­ra­phy knows, Bowen is a fair gal­lop from Ch­er­nobyl.

Vi­sions of golden burg­ers made with home­made ris­soles on toasted rolls with lash­ings of fried onion and grilled cheese, bring back mem­o­ries of sunny days at the beach, and of long drives home, tired, beat, and a bit hung over, af­ter fish­ing week­ends with mates.

It’s all over now, burger, old friend. It’s time to let go. It’s time to say good­bye.


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