Special Sauce on Whatever Kind of Burger
everyone makes their own magic
things you’ll need: a burger (made of meat or not meat), personal toppings, and a bun (if you so choose), then mayo, ketchup, pepper, sweet relish or chopped pickles (I love Wickles in this), pickle brine and/or vinegar, your special twists which may include: hot sauce, dill, smoked paprika, adobo, mustard, more sugar, Worcestershire, garlic, lime, sweet chili sauce, sour cream instead of mayo, vegemite (someone does this), old bay, so on and so forth forever and also some fries and more pickles on the side.
I watched a video about how to make smash burgers and couldn’t stop thinking about special sauce, so I made it. There are a million versions out there, but you should make a couple of concoctions, taste them all, and have a good time finding your perfect sauce.
incidentally vegetarian (if you eat it on a plant-based burger or portabella mushroom), vegan if you swap for Vegenaise, and gluten-free if you eat it all with a knife and fork or like a salad which is also a perfect solution if you don’t want to buy a bunch of hamburger buns when you know that most of them will become penicillin before you remember to use them for sandwiches or French toast or whatever bargain you make with yourself when you buy an 8-pack, knowing you will only use 2… or whatever.
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You aren’t entirely sure that the science checks out, but you believe that everything will be ok. Sometimes you know it will because you are the one making it ok, you are really good at being fine, and you are definitely some kind of sorcerer. You’ve been fine this whole time, even when you were so very not ok, you always found your way back.
You aren’t the best at optimism, so it’s surprising to hear that song playing in the back of your mind as you look upon the landscape of Now. Sure, we are living through plague and another war is beginning. Yes, you have started writing several dystopian novels in your head (you just call them memoirs) but you’ve also made a freezer full of magic, some made from trash while others required your whole heart. They have helped you make your way back to ok over and over again.
The first potion that you ever made was maybe dirt, puddle water, and make-believe in the backyard. Pretty soon you were trying your alchemy on the refrigerator’s condiments and dipping nuggets or fries or pancakes or just your sticky fingers. For some reason, this mostly sunny disposition takes you back to that condiment magic and makes you want a burger. Maybe it’s because the algorithms decided to sell you burgers today. The joke is on them because you don’t need their name-brand special sauce when you have plenty of ketchup, mayo, and pickles at home.
Mix mayo with half as much ketchup. Add a dollop of relish or carefully chop your favorite Wickle’s Original Pickle Chips because they are sweet but also spicy and so are you. Stir together with a splash of pickle juice straight from the jar.
Add a little of this (like garlic powder, dill, smoked paprika, and/or old bay) and a little of that (like Worcestershire, hot sauce, sweet chili sauce, or mustard). Stir it up and give it a taste. Hate it? Try again. This kind of magic doesn’t always come easy.
Once you get it right, make yourself a burger (made of meat or not meat). Top it with your favorite things. While you are at it, toss some crinkle-cut fries in the oven because they have always helped make things a little better.
Smear special sauce on your burger. Dip your burger in sauce. Get sauce on your sticky fingers. Listen to that song whispering its optimism like prophecy. You have trusted the science over and over. You have made so much magic. Everything is going to be ok and you always find your way back.
As always, thank you for reading!
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