Dish of the Year: The Burger

Our pick for top dish of The Year That Was.

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The burger was everywhere in 2008, and I do mean everywhere, made by anybody and everybody, by both anonymous nobodies and celebrity somebodies. Bobby Flay did it. So did Thomas Keller, and Daniel Boulud and Eric Ripert, and Tom Colicchio. And Rachael Ray announced plans to do it.

What was the most popular event at fancy-pants food and wine festivals in Miami and New York? The Burger Bash, of course.

The burger was featured on Top Chef and Iron Chef and Conan and on Letterman and Leno.

Jon Stewart loves them and so does Brian Williams. I'm sure Dr. House is devouring burgers when he's not popping pills. Even our super-healthy, mega-buff (get a load of those six-pack abs) president-elect has a professed weakness for burgers. And the man has steely discipline and steely abs.

Oh, yes, the burger is our pick for the dish of the year. It may not be surprising in the least, but it is undeniable.

Where does the burger go from here? Up (thousand-dollar burgers?), down (penny burgers?), and everywhere else in the food universe. A Hamburger Today founder Adam Kuban introduced serious burger lovers to the joys of the Fatty Melt, and I for one think he should be awarded a MacArthur genius grant for that effort. That would certainly give the burger a certain kind of legitimacy.

You can bet we'll see burgers wolfed down at the inauguration and beyond. Shouldn't there be a Secretary of Burgers in the cabinet?

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