By now you’ve surely heard that ingestion of Burger King’s new Halloween Whopper could lead to a curious and colorful gastrointestinal endgame. I have nothing to add to this lively public discussion, toilet-wise, other than to suggest that if you are either excited or repulsed by this development, you might be overthinking fast food, which exists to provide greasy joy for a fleeting period and then be forgotten.
If any given hamburger is still on your mind at the end of its digestive journey, you’re probably not cut out for the novelty-Whopper lifestyle, for it is impossible to enjoy fast food without completely disregarding what it does to your body. If you care what a Halloween-themed burger does to your waste products, then you are likely even more concerned with the impact it has on your permanent innards, to which I can only say kudos to your healthful priorities, and also buzz off.
Okay, now that the weird “food is intended to nourish your body, not destroy it” folks are gone and it’s just us gross-o’s, let’s get down to considering the A1 Halloween Whopper’s effect on the orifice that really matters. Does this dirty bastard provide any pleasure on the way in?
I ate my $4.99 spook-burger at an outdoor table wedged in the fragrant space between a mall food court and a fairly filthy river, yet I could still smell the A1 as soon as I took the paper-wrapped specimen out of its bag. I regarded that as a good sign, because I like A1 (though I prefer the original to the Thick and Hearty version employed by Burger King), and if you don’t like A1, then this isn’t your Whopper, as the addition of the sauce, both on the burger and baked into the black bun, is the only thing that sets this holiday Whop apart from the year-round version.
In addition to the sauce and the black bun, you’ve got standard Whopper equipment: a quarter-pound beef patty, a room-temperature slice of orange cheese, a few rings of white onion, five ridged pickle chips, two disks of whack-ass tomato, a splooge of mayo, and limp lettuce of a dusty tan-green color that would look better on a high-end Dutch bicycle than on your lunch.
Fast-food lettuce and tomatoes are useless at best, and they’re usually at least one step below that. I realize profit margins are too thin—and efficiency and consistency too important—for fast-food outlets to use real, decent vegetables, so let’s just stop with the whole charade. I’m not asking the industry to break me off a fresh slice of farmer’s market heirloom tomato every time I saunter into Wendy’s with $1.49 in my hand and a burger-shaped hole in my heart. I’m just asking that they stop insulting me with this soggy, mealy bullshit. The Halloween Whopper’s tomatoes look more food-colored than the bun.
About the bun: I wanted it to taste more like A1. It’s got a slight tang that comes across as almost yeasty, but for the most part it’s just a regular sesame-seed burger-holder that happens to be a funny color. A little more flavor would’ve gone a long way, too, because a Whopper comes with so much goddamn bread. The sandwich would be better if it featured a couple of mini-burgers stacked into a formation that would yield a thicker beef layer. I’m not suggesting they use more meat, just that they arrange it in a manner that would allow the bun to shrink, thereby increasing the beef-to-bread ratio in every mouthful.
Those quibbles aside, the A1 Halloween Whopper is a decent burger—better, in fact, than a regular Whopper by virtue of the extra sauce, which helps mask the mayo blight that will forever resign the Whopper to the second tier of signature fast-food burgers. I mean, unless you like mayo more than A1, in which case you should not eat a Halloween Whopper or ever again darken this blog’s door.
Will Gordon loves life and tolerates dissent. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and has visited all of the other New England states, including, come to think of it, Vermont. Find him on Twitter @WillGordonAgain.
Art by Sam Woolley.