Given a choice between one of those big plates with a little food, a little drizzle and a fancy name or a big, oozing, greasy, char-encrusted cheeseburger, I'll take the latter.
I like mine simple, with a little ketchup, lots of pickle, and sometimes onion. The onion only goes on when I know I'm not going to be working in close proximity with others. And, I really like mine made on a mature, seasoned griddle that creates a little salty, greasy crust on the outside....pure decadence.
To eat a cheeseburger is a relationship. Unlike one of those "fancy" meals, where you can pick with your fork and eat little bites, the cheeseburger requires your full attention. You have to embrace it with both hands, if you've got a good one. You have to pay full attention or it will pay you back with debris on the front of your shirt.
I think my relationship with cheeseburgers started with my dad. He used to take me on trips to Chicago when his work required him to go. He knew I loved to go. We would always stop at the oasis in Belvedere. We always had a cheeseburger.
And, when I was young, cheeseburgers always seemed to be served at places that served the food through a screen and we'd sit down at a table outside, the County Fair, Hap's, Becker's. If there was root beer involved, all the better. Maybe that's also part of the relationship with the cheeseburger, because maybe it reminds me of my dad and the times we had together.
Here's to you, Dad.