A Mini Hamburger Is Not a Slider


Photograph by Nick "Beef Aficionado" Solares

I have a couple pet peeves.

Scratch that.

I have a lot of them. And the New York Times just poked at one. Previewing tomorrow's food section coverage, the Diner's Journal blog foreshadows some "slider" coverage:

Meanwhile, back in the home of the burger, its most humble version, the slider, has been getting a makeover. Florence Fabricant writes about how it’s become trendy, high-end bar food, as likely to be made with seafood, chicken or cheese as with beef.

I'm guessing this is going to be another one of those "slider" roundups we see every few months in various guises and in sundry publications. My ire is piqued here by the notion that sliders can be made with seafood, chicken, or cheese.

They can't.

I will also hazard a guess that even the beef-based sandwiches Ms. Fabricant ends up covering will be mini hamburgers rather than sliders.

People, a slider is something very specific. It is not just a mini hamburger. It's a thin, thin slip of beef, cooked on a griddle with onions and pickles piled atop patty. The steam from the onions does as much cooking as the griddle. The buns are placed atop the onions, absorbing the pungent aroma and flavor.

A slider is at once a hamburger and, yet, something more. (Maybe because you eat a bunch of them at one sitting.)

A mini burger is just a reduction of the same old thing we already know, however much we may love it.

I love the New York Times. With a few regrettable exceptions, it's smart, well-written, and well-researched. And as more and more people get their info from sketchy sources, it's all the more important that the Times remain a bulwark of reliability. And that's why it saddens me to see the paper's food section get sloppy with the burger terminology.

My guess is that the food section is already printed and ready to go, since its coverage isn't that time-sensitive. So the editors there probably can't make the necessary changes to Ms. Fabricant's piece.

That's fine. I've vented here. But I expect a correction in Thursday's paper.