a burr on one’s mind

I’ve had some important conversations over the last couple of weeks, but this particular question has been on my mind a lot.

It all started when I went for a run one evening, and then went out to eat a burrito. As I finished my dinner, it occurred to me that my house is approximately equidistant between this Mexican place at which I was eating (Guzman y Gomez) and a burger place (McDonald’s), but I always choose burritos over burgers. Whether I’ve had a late finish at work, I need to refuel after a run, I’m too lazy to cook, or just feel like eating out – regardless of the occasion, I have always chosen burritos. 


I do like burgers too. Maybe if it was a different burger place, I’d choose burgers…?

But then I asked myself, if I had to give up either burgers or burritos, which one would I choose? This put the question not just in consideration of proximity or convenience of respective food outlets, but in a more general context.

My initial instinct was to choose burritos. I’d just finished eating a delicious burrito, so it was an obvious choice. But then I thought of all the burgers I’d miss out on, and the decision became harder.

I think the main trouble is that burgers are more ubiquitous here. Cafes, pubs, refectories, eateries and restaurants regularly feature burgers on their menus. And there are so many possibilities of what a burger could be!

But what of burritos? I feel like they have unexplored potential. We long ago went beyond the standard “meat patty + bun” formula for a burger, but where is the pioneer to take burritos beyond “beans + rice”? Not here, anyway – not here yet.

Being such an important question, I discussed this with various friends. Not surprisingly, I got mixed results; but, also not surprisingly, burgers tended to get majority vote, albeit by a narrow margin. (But I haven’t really been keeping score – it’s more of a general vibe. I know, very rigorous scientific method here.)

People who chose burgers always pointed out that burgers have more variety, filling-wise. And I would always counter-argue that anything you can put in a burger could be put in a burrito, but people just haven’t done it yet.

This brought up the question of “when does a burrito cease to be a burrito?” and, similarly, “when does a burger cease to be a burger?” Surely if you can substitute a burger’s meat patty (arguably the most important component) with schnitzel, grilled chicken breast, or even mac n cheese, then surely you can allow a burrito similar liberties?

And if an “open burger” is still a burger, is a “burrito bowl” still a burrito?

Obviously, if you gave up burritos, you’d still be allowed to eat tacos, enchiladas, etc. Yet, if you give up burgers, what are you left with? Sandwiches? Subs? Where does one draw all the lines?

Another consideration in this research is that certain friends do not like Mexican food. (Luckily they have other redeeming qualities, so we can still be friends.) They are obviously biased against burritos, and I’m considering excluding them from the results (not that there are official results). No one really hates burgers (not that I know, anyway).

I also thought about rephrasing the question to something along the lines of “if you could have a free burger every day, or a free burrito every day, which would you choose?” This way it’s not about giving something up, but about which you’d love to eat more. If I could afford it – financially and nutritionally – I’d probably happily eat burritos every day.

(GYG, if you want to do a “Supersize Me”-type experiment, please get in touch.)

To be fair, I’d probably happily eat burgers every day, but the burgers I like are generally “unhealthy”, and it’s hard to imagine eating so many carbs and fats every day. I think, even in a magical world without health implications, I’d get sick of it sooner compared to daily burritos.

Ok, clearly, burgers are not going to win this for me. But the question lingers. Is this the right choice?

To put an end to this debate, a clever friend sent me a link for a burger-burrito, and also one for a burrito-burger. There, she told me, this solves your dilemma.


6 thoughts on “a burr on one’s mind

  1. … I don’t think I could pick. I like both a lot. I eat more burgers, but that’s really only because burgers are more readily available. Pretty much any time a burrito is an option, I get a burrito.

    • I’m gonna count this as another vote for burritos (not that I’m really counting…)
      I suppose availability/ access does factor into it quite a bit for a lot of people

  2. One more reason not to eat burgers: cows are amongst the biggest pollutants on the planet because of the methane gas they (and their excrements) emit. Our ridiculous consumption of beef has made these animals top pollutants. You should move to LA: Mexican food is unavoidable and most sane people will choose Mexican over burgers 9 out of 10 times.

    • Sounds like the perfect place for me 😀

      I’ve seen a documentary about the environmental impact of cattle farming in Australia. It’s quite shocking, particularly the land clearing that happens too. It’s made me think twice before choosing beef for anything

  3. Without a question, burritos!

    I’ve never fancied burgers very much even though bread is generally my carbohydrate of choice…strange isn’t it?

    • That is strange, indeed, but I suppose burgers and sandwiches are quite different too (in how they’re made, eaten, etc). I’d probably prefer sandwiches over burgers…

      Glad to have another burrito lover on board!

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