There is no food more American than a cheeseburger. Reportedly first created in 1926 by Lionel Steinberger, who at the age of 16, topped a sizzling hamburger with a slice of cheese in his father’s Pasadena sandwich shop, The Rite Spot. The rest is history! Americans now consume on average 3 hamburgers per week, or in total 50 billion per year. And with the popularity of the cheeseburger, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to assume a majority of those 50 billion burgers are of the cheeseburger variety.
Ohio based AdvancePierre Foods, known for lines of products serving the food service, convenience store, and school lunch industries, has taken the humble cheeseburger and packaged it into an inexpensive frozen meal. On the face of it, this seems like a great idea. Many foods can be conveniently frozen, shipped around the globe, and re-heated to deliciousness.
Out of the box, the pre-cooked cheeseburger comes in a plastic wrapper designed to not only protect the food, but work in aiding the reheating process. The unopened wrapper contained a fair amount of condensation, particularly around the slice of “cheese product.”
Per the instructions, I opened one end, and microwaved for the requisite 80 seconds and cool down period of 1 minute. The heated burger smelled of old grease, much like you would expect to find in a stove’s grease trap on a sweeps week featured Kitchen Nightmares episode.
While the cheese product had melted on the burger, it did not really change state from solid to liquid as cheese typically does. Instead, it mutated into something more firm and orange than it’s original appearance, while managing to fuse itself to the bread and meat.
As expected with microwaved bread products, the bread felt moist and dense. Cutting in half revealed the grease from the burger had soaked into the bread in places where the cheese had not fused itself, and gave the bun an almost uncooked look near the meat.
The burger itself tasted like musty old bicycle tires and last nights regrets. At times though it seemed it lost flavor as I ate it. I don’t know if it actually did lose flavor, or much like a victim of trauma, my brain was compensating for the assault of shame in my mouth.
The meat (if that’s what it actually is) was tender, but the combination of microwaved bread and cheese made for a taffy like chew while still being soggy due to the built up condensation in the packaging. My mind struggled to reconcile this dichotomy of soggy and chewy. How can two such different experiences be experienced at the same time?
Notably, this cheeseburger has inspired what may be a new foray into jingle writing as I’ve penned this catchy number about the Fast Bites Cheeseburger…
One questionably-beef patty, no sauce, just cheese (product) – on a microwaved sesame seed bun
America’s fondness for the hamburger coincide’s with a fondness for convenient foods. And while someone with a busy life style may reach for the Fast Bites Cheeseburger, they’re better off making a trip through the McDonald’s drive through.
Overall, the idea here works, but just barely… so it saved some points on the execution side of the score. The appearance and taste however could have faired much better.