Monday, August 15, 2011

Gang Of Four - "Cheeseburger" (1981)

Make friends quick. Buy them beer.

T-Rex - "The Slider" (1972)

White Castle would've alleviated Mark Bolan's sadness.

White Castle Microwaveable Cheeseburgers: The New Scud Missiles

Shawn Abnoxious, my fellow member in the B.A.G. (Blog Alliance Guild), lives within smelling distance of a White Castle from his home in Fairfield, OH. Accounting for other locations in the Greater Cincinnati area, he guesses there are at least five more of the slider-serving spots in a seven-mile radius from the B.A.G. outpost. One of the penalties for the South losing the Civil War must've been the illegality of White Castles beneath the Pennsylvania border, because I've never seen Robert E. Lee or his understudies munch on the little cheeseburgers. Many longtime residents of Tidewater Virginia would swear to dining at a Norfolk-based White Castle some 40 years ago, but that restaurant was actually a WC imitator (litigation as far back as the 1930s said as much) known as White Tower. I envy Shawn, Harold and Kumar, for I haven't tasted a proper White Castle burger since Herschel Walker was dominating the gridiron in the USFL. The New Jersey General scored touchdown after touchdown that summer, and I tried keeping pace by wolfing down just as many sliders in several forgotten En-Jay townships. Though it's been almost 30 years since my last White Castle visit, I still recall the experience like yesterday's lunch. The softness of the bun. The sizzle of the onions. The draping of the cheese. The steam of the patty. The tastiness of the whole damn thing. Taken together, it almost makes a man want to jack an Amtrak and ride the rail towards his WC-fortified friend in Fairfield.

What Shawn just told me would make a conductor double-back the crazy train to the Bad Newz terminal. Even though the man is smack-dab in the middle of a pool filled with the post-smoke sustenance of Cheech and Chong's bongwater dreams, he prefers the microwaveable White Castles -- the very ones I can easily obtain at Food Lion and Dollar Tree -- over the small, succulent sandwiches from the restaurant itself. Shawn's reasoning? Every time he gets a sack of sliders from WC, the burgers are cold by the time they arrive at B.A.G. headquarters. Because of their change in temperature, Shawn has to heat the fast-food purchases in the microwave. By buying the store-stocked counterparts at Kroger and from filled vending machines at work, he's able to skip a step. Shawn, have you ever heard of DWF? (Not Divorced White Female, though I'd like to take this opportunity to express an interest in meeting one. My mom's 60-year-old friend said "Yes"to a meal/movie invitation three weeks ago, but I haven't heard back from her. Interested and semi-interested ladies are encouraged to apply within.) I'm sure there are no laws on Ohio's books forbidding Driving While Feasting. Wasn't White Castle your grub of choice while planting pink flamingoes in friends' front yards? Shawn, I'll (finally) review the microwaveable cheeseburgers in a second, but I'm perplexed by your preference. Not long ago, the Rally's on Main Street in Suffolk closed its doors. Wanna know what it turned into? A freakin' car-title-loan operation! Those places are scummier than certain relatives' picks for male companionship. Why couldn't it have become a White Castle? For that, Shawn, I'd see your uphill objection and raise you four feet of snow, being shoeless, being sockless and being blindfolded. Next shopping trip, please consider what a Virginia gentleman would do to enjoy a slither of your spoils.

Bellyaching aside, White Castle Microwaveable Cheeseburgers are a more-than-adequate substitute for restaurant-deprived citizens the nation over. Packaged in pairs, the sliders heat from freezer to plate in 60 seconds. Sure, you can cook the burgers in a conventional oven, but it's best to avoid the kitchen calculus of broiler pans, steaming hot water, aluminum foil and Rachael Ray's plastic surgery. Opening the microwave door emits a rather pleasant beef 'n' onion aroma that faintly takes me back to a Piedmont jet seat en route to Newark. I've read several negative points regarding the moist bun, but I'm more forgiving due to a feigned understanding of evaporation and condensation laws. Three minutes and six sliders later (an outtake from the Gettysburg Address, perhaps?), the food is plated and the first bite is taken. You might not use the term "yummy," but I do. And often. It applies here. The 100% beef square rings true to my tongue. Even though I'm not a washed-out grit who listens to 98.7 WNOR, I would've gladly accepted said percentage number as the meat mixture. I'm a huge fan of onions (and onion rings!) on burgers, even ones of the dried variety like the kind I once prepared at McD's whilst listening to the Psych Furs' Mirror Moves on tape circa 1989. Take away the tear-inducing bulbs from WC's preparation station, and the sliders' juju would be forever flushed. There was a time where I wouldn't eat cheese on a burger. Fortunately, I turned 10 and realized that I'd made a huge mistake all along. Cheese is an extremely important component, and the slice presented in this slider melts well and tastes good. Rather than pouring ketchup (Heinz and only Heinz, brother!) on each patty, I use it as a dipping sauce for the burger in full. This is also helpful for the fries or tater tots you should have as side items. Price points for WCMC have ranged from $3.99 to $5.49 in Tidewater grocery stores. The high end probably isn't too far from what the burgers cost at the restaurant. If you're an epicure of microwaveable cuisine like myself, don't hesitate in launching an under-$4.49 box of WCMC ordinance in your cart's direction.

Shawn, please pull up to the Crave Zone. The attack will commence at our convenience.