Jeff Pearlman

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Trying the impossible

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It’s impossible—that I don’t vomit.

I gave up red meat in 2005.

I was 32 at the time, and the wife and I were spending our summer living in the wilderness, where she ran a camp for disadvantaged kids. Many of my days were spent solo, and there wasn’t much around—save Burger King.

I loved Burger King. God, did I loooooove Burger King. In particular, I loved the Whopper, for my money the greatest meat-sauce-vegetable triple threat of all time. I probably averaged, oh, a Whopper per month—not a healthy eating experience, but a blissful one.

One day, however, while the wife was heading the camp, I took a walk to the ol’ BK for a Whopper. And as I approached, I saw something: Smoke. Black smoke, oozing from the chimney. And for some reason, it reminded me of the Holocaust. Then I started thinking about a cow holocaust. Then I started thinking that red meat was unhealthy, and the only red meat I ever ate was Whoppers and those $1.50 New York City street-cart hotdogs.

So, right then and there, I stopped. And in the 14 years that have passed, I only once tried a Whopper. It was probably around 2011, and I just thought, “Eh, for old-time’s sake.” I pulled over, rode through the drive-thru, plunked down my $3, grabbed the sandwich, unwrapped it, chow-chow-chow-chow-chow.

Blech.

It was nasty. The meat fall apart inside my mouth. Like, into little balls. The bun was soggy. My stomach started taking weird punches at my kidneys. It was bad, and I was 100-percent done with Burger King.

Today, however, I returned—wife and son by my side. Much has been made of the meat-free Impossible Burger, so I thought, “Hell, why not?” We entered, paid, sat, ate.

And, at first, it was wonderful. All the glorious bliss of the Whopper returned to my tongue and my soul. The sauce is just otherworldly. The patty tasted exactly like meat. I was home, and so, so, so ready to bring Burger King back into …

Blech.

It’s been three hours, and I’m still burping that shit up.

It’s over. Again.

  • Steven Goldleaf

    Is it so bad, if something tastes good and you keep burping it up? Doesn’t that just enhance the experience? They should make an ad with you as spokesman: “BK Impossible Burger–Hours later, you’re still tasting it!”–Jeff Pearlman.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life