Why Pickles on a Burger Are the American Dream

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In the past, I have had strong food opinions. In fact, I now write a weekly newsletter on the side that has original news/commentary AND a recipe of the week. RedState is no stranger to my opinions, as I maintain the fact that Donald Trump eats his steaks well done with ketchup makes him ineligible to be president.

However, an argument between a couple of friends on Facebook today reminded me of my most important food opinion.

I’ve known both of the guys since college, and I worked with one at a small community paper in South Louisiana several years back. We would go to this Tex-Mex place down the road from the paper that sold arguably the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. He would consistently order his without pickles, though. I questioned him on it one day, and his response was “I don’t like pickles. They’re just wrong.”

He defended the choice, which I can respect, but gave me a questioning look when I informed him that pickles on hamburgers are as American as you can get.

“Pickles on hamburgers are America,” I explained.

“You cannot convince me that pickles are America,” he countered.

The challenge, as the kids say, was accepted.

You see, many, many years ago, America was a cucumber that we got from Britain. Like all things British, it was cold, unfeeling, and was very bland. It was not what America wanted or needed. It offered us nothing.

During a long, bitter period of time in our history, it slowly began changing into something else. It retained that core that was the cucumber, but its flavor changed. It grew into its own flavor. Every slice is unique, and much like a federalist government, the whole is usually far too much, and the real power lies in the taste of the original slices.

Now, take those slices, cultured as they have become. Put them onto the sandwich, which has bread, representing the breadbasket of America, the base of our agricultural system. Between those buns, it joins the lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, onions, and whatever else you put on there, each condiment representing the variety of American life. Add the cheese, made from milk, the first nourishment we get in life.

All of this surrounds the beef, the core of America’s being, where it is cooked to your specifications. Do you like your burger with a little pink inside, young and exuberant, with a little risk? Do you prefer it cooked thoroughly, as well done as anyone’s life could be?

You put that all together, and you take a bite of your burger, the one you ordered “your way.” It is yours. It is an individual item representing the American Dream: If you want it, you can have it.

After I explained this to my friend, he just stared for a moment and said, “Son of a… You did it.”

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