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Renegade Chef: Cheeseburger, cheeseburger!

I'm supposed to know something about cooking. I've bluffed my way through more kitchens than I can count on my hands, including one-and-a-half thumbs.

Some people assume "haute cuisine" is my passion. I would love to tell you how to baste New Zealand prawns in fermented coconut milk, but I can't. I don't know how, nor do I want to know. I also wouldn't mind admitting a deep desire to master the art of sushi. That would be pretty cool. I would love to say all that.

But I'd be lying.

For some strange reason I once found myself stuck at a table with several food and wine aficionados, A.K.A. snobs.

"Very oaky, but not too much," said one, as he lifted his glass into his face, sniffed and swirled then sniffed and swirled again.

"Nice tannins," said another, as she mimicked the sacrament. "There's a nice smokiness to it that barely traces the back of your tongue. It would be wonderful with the local pheasant."

"Graphite - undertones of graphite - that's what I taste," said the fat guy sitting next to me. "And maybe just a hint of hazelnut and Vermont honeysuckle. This will be perfect for my prune-stuffed suckling pig."

"I can take that even deeper," said the lone vegetarian. "Graphite, yes ... but exactly what? I say a No. 2 pencil, perhaps yellow. It might be interesting with my adamame tofu surprise."

"It's not graphite and it's not hazelnut," said the first snob. "It's cherry and lavender mixed with just a trace of OFF! Insect repellent. Very subtle bitterness in your back taste buds, salivary glands and larynx, yet a rather surprising tart-sweet-bitter-chemical taste to the primary palette of the front tongue, lower cheeks, lips and ..."

"Cheeseburger, cheeseburger!" I interrupted with my best John Belushi. "No Coke - Pepsi!"

And no one laughed, except me, because I thought it was pretty darn funny considering the circumstances.

The moral of the story is best described by Confucius' brother, Ed, who said: "If one cannot laugh at oneself, then one needs to be funnier."

Ed also said: "A cheeseburger in the hand is worth a five-course wine dinner in the bush." Man, oh, man, those Confuciuses were smart!