Hamburger vs Chateaubriand

October 9, 2017



[Originally written May 19, 2006]


Yesterday’s reference, “Instinct attracts us, but intellect bonds us”, sat on my mind like a fat Buddha for most of the day. There are many interpretations available for this one, and my brain ingested, digested, and engaged in mental reverse peristalsis several times before I put it to rest…quite happily, I might add. Another Sagittarian quest to seek truth, analyze, and decide…completed.

I stumbled across another quote that I found rather remarkable…but “remarkable” in the sense that it, to me, is remark-worthy. But since remark-worthy isn’t really a term, “remarkable” is what I came up with. I digress.

“You can choose hamburger or Chateaubriand. Either way, you get a piece of meat.”

This one, like yesterday’s, rings in my ears like a death knell. Again, it is wide open to interpretation, and application to just about any facet of your particular current situation. Breaking it down in my personal elucidation, I find it eerily provocative, like the moth’s obsession with white-hot light; drawn to beauty that will inevitably lead to certain death.

Culinarily speaking, I’d lean toward the Chateaubriand route…it’s a hell of a piece of meat. Even if the chips are down and I can’t particularly afford such a luxury, it’s not necessarily just about the taste at that point.  Rather it’s about the quality of said product, and the pure blissful enjoyment one would come to expect from such a succulent delicacy. Maybe it’s what one would feel one deserves, for being a.) a non-professional yet passionate culinary student, b.) raised to appreciate, not expect, the finer things in life, and c.) like Heather Locklear used to tell us, hey, "I’m worth it."

This is not to say I don’t enjoy a tasty burger here in there. Even from Big Kahuna Burger, at 9:30am. Its tasty, it’s beefy, it’s a burger. What’s not to like?

So what’s the main difference? Quality? Enjoyment factor? Appreciation? Condiments?

To me, a delicately and masterfully cut piece of Chateaubriand is simplistic, yet rustic. Elegant, yet classic. Cared for, and matured. Delicious, but not pretentious. I guess my preference comes from the very basic nature of it.  There's truth to it. Just pure, real, unadulterated beef. 

Whereas the burger, well we all know there’s not much of a standard of quality for the meat grinder…Lips, hips, and assholes can pretty much make their way in. Scraps, fat, cheap cuts, whatever’s left over and questionable can make it through the ol’ food mill. Not much truth behind a smattering of drippings left on the cutting board, now is there?

This is also not to say that Chateaubriand is the only way to go. It is simply saying that if you are searching for real, unequivocal, no nonsense, quality-aged meat, it’s a safe bet you’re going to get what you paid for. 

However, if you’re satisfied with the status quo, although questionable and unreliable, it’s probably still going to taste okay. And again, you get what you pay for. You may have better odds of contracting diphtheria, e-coli, encephalitis, or gangrene, but none-the-less, it’s going to serve its purpose for the three to four minutes it takes to inhale.

As a bonus, red wine goes well with both. It’s just easier to tolerate the burger when you’re drunk.

In the end, you’re still gonna get a piece of meat. Depends on what you’re looking for.

So from one Grade A USDA Choice Kobe filet to another, “Sante”.

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