Hamburger Month: The baseline hamburger

(Baltimore Sun photo/Richard…)
May 02, 2012|By Richard Gorelick | The Baltimore Sun

Remember the hamburger? I'm talking a plain old hamburger, the kind that says nothing about its local sourcing, its prime ingredients or its house-made toppings. This is not the kind of hamburger that could headline its own boutique or draw the attention of food and travel shows. And not a fast-food fantasy burger either but just a hamburger.

Think of it as a baseline hamburger.

I found such a hamburger, right across the street from the Baltimore Sun offices, at Kim's Deli Express, which is kind of like the de facto staff lunchroom. Kim's sells fried chicken, and wraps, and subs and sandwiches and breakfast, all day long. The people there are super nice.

The hamburger at Kim's sells for $2.79. It's grilled fresh and put on a soft bun. If you want mustard or ketchup, you say so when you order it. Available toppings are shredded lettuce and deli-style tomatoes.

It's not so great, this hamburger. It has neither the perceptible "real-beef" flavor of an upscale burger or the dissolve-on-your-tongue pleasure of a fast-food burger.  But for $2.79, it's not bad, and eating it, you might find yourself remembering all of the hamburgers you had before hamburgers became the thing that they are now.

Sometimes a hamburger is just a hamburger.

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