Burger: Eat it right side up or upside down?
If that’s your response, right away I know you have a problem with this concept. Or, possibly, you line up with my wife, Carol, who thinks I’m a bit eccentric when it comes to some things, among them being that proper consumption of a burger—or a sandwich, for that matter—is to eat it right side up, that is, holding it so that the bottom half of the bun is on the bottom and the top half of the bun on the top.
Eating it otherwise is to eat it upside down and thereby eating it in the wrong manner. How crass! Besides, if eaten upside down, the burger or sandwich likely will not have the same flavor as when eaten properly, which is right side up.
For those of you who know this, what I’ve said is perfectly clear and sensible. You readily accept and understand that when burgers and sandwiches were invented the intention was that they be eaten right side up. I think that was written in stone; you just have to find the right cave wall to see it for yourself.
However, those of you who, like my wife, shrug your shoulders, affix a smirk on your face, and mutter some off-handed comment like, “Well, whatever…,” it’s time to sink your teeth into a little burger-and-sandwich enlightenment. Some of this will be self-evident or simply stating the obvious, but that doesn’t take away from the validity of the truth being here presented.
With burgers, the first necessity is the bun. Of course, you know that a bun has a top and a bottom. The bottom is the flat portion, and the rounded part is the top. When the bun is sliced and separated into two parts, the bottom is the portion with the flat side. Actually, the bottom now has two flat sides, the one created in the baking of the bun and the one created when the bun was severed into two parts. The baked bottom flat side remains the bottom of the burger, and the new flat side of the bottom bun portion becomes a key part of the inside of the bun and a foundation on which the inside of the burger is built. Is that clear? If not, perhaps reading it again more slowly will help.
The severed portion of the bun that was the rounded part before the bun was sliced is the top. Of course, it now has a flat side, which is the bottom part of the top half of the bun and is key to topping off the top of the burger when the insides are in place. Clear? If not, repeat instructions above.
A sandwich, like a burger, has a top and a bottom, a truism that some of you may never have thought about. Whereas the initial form of a bun makes the top and bottom clear, the same is not true for a sandwich—at least, not for sandwiches made with two slices of bread rather than on a bun, as is sometimes the case in a restaurant. For a sandwich made with two slices of bread, the top and bottom are determined by the sandwich maker, who has the right to designate which slice is the top and which the bottom. From there, though, top and bottom become critically important.
Not only are burgers and sandwiches intended to be eaten right side up and not upside down, they are to be made with the meat—burger patty, sliced turkey or chicken, tuna salad, whatever—placed on the bottom bun portion or bottom slice, not on the top. If cheese is a component, it goes on top of the meat. Then come the other ingredients: onion (a necessity for any real burger or sandwich), tomato, pickle, and lettuce.
When those are in place, the top half of the bun or the top slice of bread is placed on top, and the burger/sandwich is ready to eat. Notice, at this point the burger or sandwich is right side up, the natural order. One then picks up the burger or sandwich maintaining its right-side-up status and eats.
Obviously, that’s the proper and intended order of building and pattern for eating burgers and sandwiches. Why would one be considered eccentric for holding to a firm conviction that this is the intended manner of eating these two life staples?