I watered the vegetables after dark last night, during what Howard and I have been calling “peak lightning bug season.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many lightning bugs as I have in my yard this past week, not even out by the Cowpasture River when I was a kid.
Walking through them as they rose from the warm grass made me feel saturated with the mood of summer. As my mind does, it wandered to food: Grandma’s mustardy potato salad, watermelon, Cool Whip pies, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, and of course, burgers.
We’ve eaten burgers about every weekend for the past two months, it seems. Every occasion in summer calls for them. But the best, in my opinion, are those prepared on my own grill and constructed in my own kitchen with my entire ‘fridge and garden at my disposal.
If I’m building the perfect burger for myself, I follow these detailed steps:
1. Burger medium-well with American or cheddar cheese.
2. Bun toasted on grill.
3. Heavy mayonnaise on bottom bun.
4. Four dill pickle chips sealed on with the mayo to form a perfect platform for the burger (the wavy aspect of the pickle chips create a non-slip surface).
5. Burger mounted on pickles.
6. Thick tomato slice on top of burger (preferably one wide slice, of course, instead of little pieces).
7. Two crunchy lettuce pieces (this is the only time I prefer iceburg).
8. Thin, even layer of brown mustard on top bun.
9. Massive slathering of ketchup over mustard.
10. Cut burger in half.
11. If the mood strikes, dip in additional ketchup.
I’m sure some of you are thinking things along the lines of “Medium-well? Ew!” or “Ketchup and mayonnaise? Ew!”. Obviously, this is a very individualized set of preferences. How do YOU build the perfect summer burger?