I fear my faith in Disney World -- that holiest of holy purveyors of Americana -- might have been shattered!
Someone representing their Portobello Restaurant this very evening posted on Facebook that "burgers are out." According to this subversive propaganda, which I think somehow links to an as-yet-unidentified international conspiracy, meatball sliders are replacing burgers on the restaurant's menu.
Deep breath... Count to ten, slowly.
Okay, shake it off. It must be a mistake. Meatballs?
Now, I love meatballs as much as the next man, maybe even more. It's no mistake that I married an Italian, and while I didn't marry her just to get her Mother's meatball recipe, it did sweeten the pot. What also sweetens the pot is the homemade tomato sauce my Mother-in-Law taught us to make. Throw in a few sweet Italian sausages and you have yourself a party in your mouth!
Meatballs have every right to be on every restaurant's menu. They've earned it. They're yummy, and fattening, and they make you happy.
But to suggest these delectable Italian lumps of ground meat and seasonings should take the place of iconic American lumps of ground meat and seasonings is, well... It's un-American! That's what it is! And for this to happen at Disney World, the mecca of American capitalism and overindulgence, is sickening.
I say, let the meatball take center stage for a little while before it joins the ensemble cast of a menu. I'm fine with that. The burger has no ego to protect. It's unassuming and gracious.
Just look at all the other foods that get along so well with burgers: pickles, coleslaw, chili, cheese (too many kinds to list), onions, breads & buns of various backgrounds, bacon, ham, lettuce, barbecue sauce, mustard, mayonnaise, special sauces made of wildly different ingredients (but mostly just a mix of mayonnaise and ketchup with some relish thrown in), relish, and bleu cheese dressing.
And don't forget that staple of Italian cooking itself, the tomato. The tomato loves burgers so much it can go on sliced or processed into ketchup! I don't see it double-teaming meatballs like that, do you?
Come on, Disney, quit screwing around!
You want to have your luau feast at the Polynesian? Go for it! You want to feature cuisines from around the world at Epcot? More power to ya! You want to serve me a turducken and tell me it's the latest craze in Portugal? Well, that would be a little strange.
But when you think you can topple the greatest, most beloved representative of American culinary culture from its rightful place at the top of the mountain and then boast about it to the world on the internet, you have gone too far.
ⓒ 2010 Mark Feggeler