The Perfect Burger 

“What a perfect day it is. Are you guys ready to run hard for an hour?” Dean’s six friends nodded ‘yes’. “Are your muscles good and stretched?” Dean saw six thumbs-up. “Let’s get started, then!”   

 Even though it was early May, it felt like a summer day. The seven friends would stick to what they did each day, even though it was hotter than normal. They’d run together, in a group, for the first half-hour. Then, after they had loosened up, they would race each other, as fast as they could go. They all knew that this exercise was really good for their health.    

No one was talking. Dean asked, “Why’s everyone so quiet? Dexter, what are you thinking about?” Dexter flashed a big grin and said, “Hamburgers. I saw an ad on TV last night. McCarthy’s has three special new meals. They’re putting crazy stuff on their burgers. They look incredible, but I bet they’re not so good for you if you eat them too often.” They all knew that they had to stay thin in order to run cross-country track.  

Dean said, “Now that’s a fun thing to talk about. What would everyone’s perfect burger be, just for an occasional treat, of course?” Burt was the first to speak up. “Easy answer for me. Quarter pound juicy patty, loaded with bacon. Extra-sharp cheddar cheese. Lettuce, tomato, and ketchup. You just can’t beat that!”    

Dean said, “That sounds good, all right. But that’s a pretty boring recipe. Would any one of you go for something a little more different?” Trevon spoke up. “I’d go for spicy German mustard. And I’d pile mushrooms and crispy fried onion rings on top. But the best part would be the sliced hot peppers!”   

Dean shouted, “Now you’re talking! Oliver?” His friend thought a minute. Then Ollie answered, “A ‘corny’ burger. Thin slices of corned beef on the patty. Topped with Swiss cheese. Then sauerkraut and thousand island dressing. I’d be burping for a day. But it would be so worth it!” Everyone laughed.   

Ollie looked at Glenn. “So what about you, Mister Health Nut?” Glenn said, “A veggie burger, of course. A slice of tender cooked eggplant. A black bean patty. Roasted red peppers. On wheat bread. Oh yeah, and topped with sliced cucumbers. And I’d finish it with lemon juice and olive oil.”   

Ollie shouted out, “That’s disgusting. Where’s your courage, man? That sounds like a wussy burger to me.” Connor then interrupted them. “It’s got to be a fish burger for me. Thick, deep-fried white fish. Then loaded with tartar sauce and cole slaw. And a chopped mix of both dill, and bread and butter pickles. Kind of a sweet and sour flavor.”   

Burt then called out, “Dexter, we haven’t heard yours yet. You’re the one who got this started.” Dexter smiled. “Wait till you hear this, guys. Pretzel bun, buffalo, fried egg, and pepper jack cheeseburger. Mayo, yellow mustard, and sweet relish. Let’s see, some crisp sliced red onion. Oh yeah, and with pepperoni and barbecue sauce.” At least three of the guys yelled, “Whoa!”    

Dean was the last one to talk about his perfect feast. “Hawaiian burger. On top of the beef patty, I’d have Canadian bacon and pineapple. Then a sweet sauce of some kind.” Glenn spoke up, “And you guys laugh at what I like to eat? That’s just gross!” Everyone but Dean agreed with Glenn. 

Practice was finally over. The teammates were cooling off in the school parking lot. Dexter blurted out, “Guys, you know we’ve got to go there, just once in a while, as a special treat. I’m for going right now. McCarthy’s, anyone?!” His friends cheered, and off they went to their favorite burger joint.   

The evening’s winner, special recipe number two, was the Fiesta Burger. It was a two-patty burger, topped with grated cheese, spicy salsa, guacamole, and crunchy tortilla chunks. For three of the seven friends, they were sure that they’d just eaten “the perfect burger!”   

Having learned the hard way that it wasn’t healthy to be overweight, Glenn had the last word that evening. “Guys, that dinner was a splurge. You know how heavy I used to be. It’s because I ate like this EVERY night. If I hadn’t finally gotten my eating under control, I couldn’t be running cross-country with my best friends!”   


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O v e r w e i g h t
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C o u r a g e
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E a r l y
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F a v o r i t e
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S u r e

1. What did Dean and his friends like to do?   
   a) run and race
   b) walk and talk
   c) eat chips and watch TV

2. What was Dexter thinking about?   
   a) going to the movies
   b) hamburgers
   c) pizza

3. What did each one of the boys describe?   
   a) the perfect place to eat hamburgers
   b) the perfect way to grill burgers
   c) their own idea of the perfect burger

4. What was Glenn’s idea of a great burger? 
   a) a burger that included sauerkraut and Swiss cheese
   b) a fish burger that included tartar sauce and coleslaw  
   c) a black bean patty that included eggplant and cucumbers

5. Glenn told his friends that because he used to eat big meals every night, he:  
   a) had a lot more energy
   b) used to be overweight
   c) was a very fast runner