Ask the Burgiatrist

burgiatristDear Ask the Burgiatrist:

First, I respectfully request absolute confidentiality. The predicament I am about to set forth is of a most personal nature, and I would be mortified were it to be made public in any way. I ask that you do not publish this letter on your website, and that do not use my real name. I am extremely uncomfortable even writing this, but my wife insists that I finally seek professional advice.

Very well, then. Here it is.

I am experiencing…let’s call them “burger-related challenges” of an intimate nature. I do not consume red meat with any regularity, but I do so enjoy a good burger every now and again (especially the ones you recommend on your fine site!). Unfortunately, for several days after, I cannot seem to…“start the grill,” you might say! Do you think this might be due to the amino acids found in beef, or perhaps the phosphorus content? I really don’t want to give up my occasional burger, but I also do not want to jeopardize my well-being and health of my marriage.

Please, again, I am grateful for your discretion.


Philip Greeley

Northampton, MA



This has got to be the most pathetic sob story I have heard in my 32 years in burgiatric psychology. You are a weak, lily-livered man-worm, Phil. Waa—I choose my marriage over eating burgers! Waa—eating so many burgers is having an adverse effect on my body! Waa—you care more about your stupid advice column than you do about me and our six children! Waa—which do you choose, your family or your precious hamburgers?! Waa—I’m leaving now, you infantile jerk! Waa waa waa, Phil!

Does that help, Phil? Does it? Waaaaaaa!


Ask the Burgiatrist

Ask the Burgistrist

It’s McTreatable!

DEAR DR. BLUMENTHAL: I have eaten a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal deal every week for the last 30 years. This seems to be the highlight of my work week. The morning of my lunchtime trip, I get as excited about lunch as if I was going to Disneyland. When I’ve eaten the last bite of my tasty meal, I find I am a little sad, but start looking forward to next week. Should I seek help for my condition or should I continue to embrace this behavior? —ADDICTED TO McDELICIOUSNESS

Dear McDELICIOUSNESS: You suffer from a rare but treatable condition called Grimacptosis (grimace-tosis), sometimes referred to as Hamburglarrhea. It affects roughly 1 in every 1 persons in the United States. Various over-the-counter treatments are available, including Mojoe’s in Raleigh, The Corner Tavern in Cary, and Buns in Chapel Hill. If geography is an obstacle, take one hamburger at your nearest Five Guys and call me in the morning. —SCOTT BLUMENTHAL, PH.B, LICENSED BURGIATRIST

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Wary in Weehawken

DEAR DR. BLUMENTHAL: I don’t believe that “burgiatry” is an actual field of study. In fact, I don’t believe that any self-respecting educational institution would include it in its course offerings. Sorry. –LEONARD HOUCEK, WEEHAWKEN, NJ

DEAR LEONARD: Heed these words and heed them well, you lily-livered man-worm: I will squash you. I will bludgeon you with busts of my burgiatric forebears. I will offer your innards in sacrifice to Burgos. I will marinate you in McRib sauce and feed you to Grimace. –SCOTT BLUMENTHAL, PH.B, LICENSED BURGIATRIST

P.S. Your mother eats veggie burgers.

On the Hunt(‘s) for Good Ketchup

DEAR DR. BLUMENTHAL: Can you give me a good recipe for homemade ketchup? I just can’t seem to get it right. –BETH CANTERBURY, NORTHAMPTON, MA

DEAR BETH: My pleasure. Pull together 4 quarts of peeled tomatoes, 2 quarts of vinegar, 6 chopped red peppers (a must!), four tablespoons of salt, and a pinch of allspice. Boil everything in a kettle for 4 hours until thickened. Voilà! Best of luck, Beth!

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If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fixins It

DEAR DR. BLUMENTHAL: Please help resolve a longstanding debate between me and my editor (who is a tool). He (aforementioned tool) believes that the word fixins should take an apostrophe, as in mustard and relish are fine burger fixin’s. Please prove me right and my editor (and a five-star putz) wrong. –TRYING TO PROVE MY EDITOR (WHO IS A LUGNUT) WRONG IN WRIGHTSVILLE

DEAR TRYING: Though arguably a contraction of the word fixings, as in the accessories and accoutrement that embellish a hamburger, the universally accepted spelling of the singular is fixin, thus making the simple plural fixins the preferred spelling. Your editor is wrong (and a weenie).

‘Til Death Do Us Part? Not So Fast

DEAR DR. BLUMENTHAL: I am at my wits’ end. I desperately need your advice. My marriage vows have been seriously compromised, and you’re the only person I trust to help me decide what to do.

Here’s what happened. Last week, I left work early to surprise my husband for his birthday. As I approached our bedroom, I heard little whispers and moans of pleasure from behind the door. I expected the worst, and that’s exactly what I found. When I opened the door, there he was, sitting in bed, devouring a veggie burger. He made some pathetic excuse about it meaning nothing to him, but I couldn’t bear to be in the same room as him. I just screamed and ran away.

Dr. Blumenthal, when my husband and I got married, we were on the same page on all the big issues. We laughed about people who ate veggie burgers, and we promised each other that we’d never be like that. Now I am so confused. Is it possible that we can bounce back from this? How can I ever trust him again? Whenever I look at him, all I see is that “burger.” Is there any chance that we can salvage our relationship? –WAITING WITH BATED BREATH FOR YOUR RESPONSE IN BETHESDA


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Dear Dr. Blumenthal:

I have a wonderful husband and four growing boys, all of them burger crazy. Every July 4, we go to my brother’s house in Hauppauge, Long Island, for a family reunion and barbeque. It’s been a family tradition for more than 20 years. Throughout, my brother has been in charge of the grilling and burger prep. It’s something he takes great pride in and looks forward to all year.

My brother is a good man—a good father, husband, and uncle—and he does grill a good beef patty. But here’s the problem: He has a reckless disregard for proper build order. He’s been known to do things like place ketchup directly on the burger, then the veggies, then mustard directly on the bun. One year he even placed a slice of cheese between the lettuce and tomato (!). Granted he had been drinking, but still, it was extremely awkward.

I do not want to hurt my brother, but I also don’t want my kids exposed to this type of behavior. What should I do?

–Perplexed in Paramus

Dear Perplexed:

It’s a slippery slope, Perplexed. First it’s improper build order, then it’s burgers on English muffins, then, before you know it, you’re in the gutter eating veggie patties.

Your first responsibility is to your children. It won’t be fun, but for the sake of your boys’ emotional well-being you’ve got to make it clear to your brother that this level of conduct will not be tolerated, and if he expects to remain welcome at family gatherings, he’d better take a long, hard look at the human being he’s become.

Try giving your brother a taste of his own crazy-order medicine: Invite him over for dinner. Serve him bone-dry pasta on top of rectangular meatballs. Maybe sprinkle some parmesan cheese—but on his head. Ask, “How do you like it?” That should teach him.

Cheese between the lettuce and tomato? That’s not OK.

Scott Blumenthal, PhB