The Wilicious Burrito
Posted on March 4, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 108 Comments
Some of you may be aware of the existential battle that Wil Wheaton and I are currently engaged in, involving burritos. I am of the opinion that anything you place into a tortilla, if it is then folded into a burrito shape, is a burrito of some description; Wil, on the other hand, maintains that if it is not a “traditional” burrito, with ingredients prepared as they were in the burrito’s ancestral home of Mexico, is merely a “wrap.”
While this argument will likely never be resolved and Wil and I will forever be on opposite sides of this magnificent and important debate, it does mean that I occassionally troll him with burritos that don’t meet his stringent, prescriptive requirements. And yesterday, after such a discussion, I told him that one day soon I would make a burrito with mayonnaise in it, name it after him, and shoot a video of me consuming it live.
Today, my friends, is that day. Enjoy.
Update: Wil’s “rebuttal”:
*Distances myself from John Scalzi*
“I’d like to order a burrito. I’m not with him.”
John, I love your posts but I have to admit I’m on Wil’s side on this one. This is a wrap, but of course you can still call it a Wilicious Burito :D . If I wasn’t a vegetarian myself I’d try one now, though I can always replace the hot dog with a vegan dog (yeah ok I heard myself say it too, oh well :) ).
As we say here around these parts (French speaking part of Switzerland) : Bon appétit John.
So basically, you read the description of the cuil, and then thought “I ask for a burrito”?
Mr. Webster weighs in:
noun bur·ri·to \bə-ˈrē-(ˌ)tō\
: a Mexican food that consists of a flour tortilla that is rolled or folded around a filling (such as meat, beans, and cheese)
Wraps are burritos if pie is bread.
I would eat one of those.
Then I’d switch out the mayo for tahini, add some mustard, some diced tomato, switch the cheese to Muenster or something…
But as it stands that’s a very midwestern burrito. Maybe it could be made moreso with a cheesy brat, unless that would be too spicy.
I observed a similar discussion awhile ago as people attempted to define “dumpling”, which is common to cuisines across the globe — well, at least across Europe and Asia. Someone had the nerve to suggest that a burrito was a dumpling. Whatever this is it is not a dumpling.
I like the cheesy brat idea… I’d go for that, but I’m not big on mayo, so the amount of mayo in the pasta salad would sort of hit my tolerance level. Also, must be toasted so the cheese melts.
You could deep fry it and chant Chimichanga and get the Deadpool fans involved…
@Josh Jasper – Haha! And if lasagna is cake.
If y’all come down to New Mexico with that “Wilicious” thingy we’d probably have to quarantine you, your car, and anything that you’ve come in contact with (I’m pretty sure it’s a state law).
My international culinary theory is that anything involving meat and/or cheese, sauce and bread, vegetables optional, is guy food, and secretly pizza. Sandwiches, burritos, sweet-and-sour pork, they’re all independently-invented variants of a deep-seated subconscious ideal.
Team Wil here. In subset language: All Burritos are Wraps, but not all Wraps are Burritos.
I was under the impression that unlike the taco, the burrito’s ancestral home is the United States.
In any case, I think I’m going to side with Wil. That assembly is a wrap, not a burrito. Let’s avoid saying it’s “merely” a wrap, because there are some very tasty wraps. It isn’t a diminution to describe it as a wrap because it isn’t a burrito. However, that particular assembly is not the most appetizing wrap I’ve ever contemplated.
Given his previous ruling on whether a hot dog is a sandwich, don’t you two think this might be a case for Judge John Hodgman?
John, there are many kinds of wiener wrap. If you want to put some kinds of those in your mouth, more power to you. Who am I to judge? That Wil Wheaton, however, is an ac-tor. Yes he is.
Your idea of naming a wrap that includes mayonnaise after Wil is totally EVIL!!!
Paraphrasing Admiral Ackbar:
(I don’t have to finish this for anyone, do I?)
I too must side with Wil on this salient issue. Though I am not a burrito lover, I am a believer in the preservation of the true heritage of food. And John … that is sacrilegious to pickles everywhere. 🖖🏻
When we lived on the Mexican border 20 years or so ago, one fairly ubiquitous option in the local taco joints was a Polish sausage wrapped in a flour tortilla. The creation was usually referred to as a “Taco Pollacko,” and it was quite popular.
That being the case, I see no particular reason why Mr. Scalzi’s culinary masterpiece cannot be considered a burrito if that’s what he wants to call it.
In fact, if a Polish sausage in a tortilla is a Taco Pollacko, I’d suggest that a hotdog in a tortilla could be considered a Burrito Perrito. And the variant that includes mayonnaise would be the Wilicious Burrito Perrito, of course.
Let that be your last battlefield
@Colonel Snuggledorf: “the Wilicious Burrito Perrito”!!! While I may not agree with your culinary choices, I will defend to the last drop of salsa your right to make them.
That may be a burrito, and it may even be food, but it shall not pass these lips of mine.
Everyone here is arguing about food, and I’m just thinking that this is the first I’ve ever heard Scalzi’s voice.
Which is weird, because I’ve been reading him since at least 2009ish? (post-Zoe’s Tale, at least, since I found out about it from Penny Arcade)
And now I realize that I’ve totally made up the Scalzi voice. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
(Sidenote: It’s a wrap. Burritos require rice and delicious beans!)
This is everything I hate wrapped into a tortilla. Which is a pity, because I love tortillas.
Sorry, Will’s right. And, aren’t you supposed to be writing novels or something?
That looks suspiciously like something constructed out of whatever is available in the fridge, ’cause damn I’m hungry and possibly hungover. Wrap, yes; burrito, not for a strict interpretation of the term.
@gummitch: I’d argue that “dumpling” implies that the dough part is in a raw, you-can’t-serve-this-to-people state before you put the filling in and cook it however. (Are there any dumplings that don’t conform to this pattern? Perhaps tortilla “dumplings” that are served a la chicken and dumplings, but those seem more like a mock dumpling to me.)
The burrito clearly does not fit this pattern, as:
a. You can eat a pre-burrito tortilla without further preparation
b. No cooking is required after the tortilla is stuffed with the burrito ingredients.
A chimichanga, which is by definition deep-fried after stuffing, may be considered a quasi-dumpling, as the dish requires post-stuffing cooking but the tortilla jacket is in an edible state before this step. This definition would also encompass spring rolls and stuffed arancini.
Even if we agree to broaden the definition of “dumpling” by eliminating the inedible precooking dough requirement, we would still have the requirement of “after filling or shaping the dough/wrap/whatever, cook the bundle”. I don’t think you can eliminate this step without greatly expanding the category of “dumpling” to include not only burritos but also wrap sandwiches and stuffed pita pockets.
The most enlightening feature of this discussion is that the seat of WilW’s computer-desk chair is the saucer section of the Enterprise (last 5 seconds of his vid). Love it!
As for the main topic, wasn’t the combination of mayonnaise and hot dogs mentioned in the Book of Leviticus, possibly in a sentence with the word “abomination”?
If the nation truly goes as Ohio does, our digestive systems are in for some serious purging.
On the one hand, all the definitions of burrito I can find specify Mexico. On the other hand, language is a fluid thing and meanings change.
So… You’re both right!
I’ve had hot dogs with cheese in tortillas before, mostly when I’m too lazy to make a meal for myself, but don’t have any rolls in the house. It’s an ok snack, but definitely not a burrito..
Watching Wil’s reaction, you’d think the video he was watching would be titled “2 Girls, 1 Chalupa”.
Ewww, Scalzi! That’s not a burrito – that’s some mutant Ohio version of a SoCal corruption of a real Burrito. Basically, you’ve reinvented the Swedish Tunnbrödsrulle – which Antony Bourdain may enjoy after several drinks and a couple joints, but I can’t otherwise see any human consuming.
I side with Mr. Wheaton on this one.
You, sir, are as WRONG WRONG WRONGITY WRONG as a VERY WRONG THING INDEED. REMAIN WHERE YOU ARE, CITIZEN.
My expert opinion as someone who has an opinion (and grew up in California, which is closer to the homeplace of the burrito than most of Mexico, as it is more a cross-border regional food than a national food):
A burrito has hot foods wrapped burrito-like in a tortilla, particularly when there is salsa involved. So, steamed broccoli, a bit of chopped red onion, melted Swiss cheese, and guacamole and salsa make a lovely vegetarian burrito.
A wrap has cold sandwich-filling-type foods wrapped in a tortilla-like flatbread (that is usually too dry and has seasonings not required in a true tortilla).
This . . . is AN ABOMINATION. But, Wil is also wrong because California Burritos, man!
John, You are right, the Naysayers are wrong, could even play the culture card here supporting you (A big chunk of my family still lives on the on farm received via a Spanish Crown Land Grant in 1600s). But both My Sainted Grandmother Isabelle and Uncle Rudy defined a Burrito as some sort of filling wrapped in a Flour Tortilla. The reason Beans are so common, is that a big pot of beans is cheap, stores in the fridge well and bulks out any meal where other ingredients may be in short supply.
My Favorite leftover burrito is Leftover Spaghetti with meat sauce, with cheese, with Mayo….
Just to Clarify John is Right, Will and his supporter are Wrong.
As a New Mexican, I have to say: Team Wil. What you have described is not, in any sense of the word, a burrito. I’m not sure it can even be described as “food.”
You make another but add Sriracha and Braunschweiger. For Science.
Wil’s rebuttal was eloquent. It precisely captures my own opinion.
Silly people, a “burrito” is a person wrapped up in a tarp and blankets in the back of a rescue toboggan. Ask any ski patroller.
Something folded in half in a tortilla is a taco. Breakfast tacos come in endless sorts of fillings. If the tortilla is fried, more likely it’s a corn tortilla. They’re called crispy tacos in Texas but anywhere else I’ve lived they were just tacos.
A wrap has nothing to do with tacos. That’s Greek to me.
A burrito is more texicalimex, and folded like an eggroll. In Texas they almost always come smothered in meat sauce and cheese. Except at those national chains. If the burrito is fried, it’s called a chimichanga, almost everywhere. Thanks Ruby Tuesday’s.
KarenD, hotdog and cheese tacos are great!
Right now, San Antonio and Austin are having their own taco wars lol.
Austin had the nerve to say they have the best! Pfft!
If you chop up the hot dog and substitute sour cream for the mayo it might be better than the stuff Taco Bell serves. Maybe better for you too.
When filming yourself eating, camera angle should be carefully considered.
Dude. Seriously. You, as are Wil and I, a So Cal boy. You KNOW better. This is why so many of the unenlightened think Taco Bell and Del Taco serve “Mexican” food. Show some pride for the land of your youth.
Here in England we have organic hotdogs, which taste nothing like US hotdogs, or at least the ones they had at Coney Island when we visited the Mermaid Parade, which may, of course, not be typical of US hotdogs generally.
The point, however, is that our organic hotdogs actually taste like meat, as opposed to something extruded through a nozzle of a machine, filled with reconstituted sludge from things we would rather not know about,
We are grown ups, we will deal, but we’re going to have to try to eat it without throwing up.. In the circumstance, John, we look to you as the Voice of Reason, and you have amply repaid our trust. In the meantime I welcome Whil, even if he’s bloody useless at defining Burritos, because he seems somewhat familiar, and you need all the allies you can get when the machines decide that you need a healthy breakfast created from extruded sludge.
Lesser people would falter, but Team Scalzi matches on; I have been trying to compose a stirring anthem but I’m told that the Battle Hymn of the Republic is overused, and the Intellectual Property law precludes it anyway, so I’m drifting a bit here. However, we will not take this lying down. Someday the US will finally get organic hot dogs which actually taste like meat, and we can rest from the fray…
Well, you are right about burritos. Burritos are flour tortillas wrapped around fillings — any kind of fillings. The name burrito emerged out of Mexican American cuisine, which went way beyond the Mexican practices of wrapping meat and beans or chilies and avocado to filling tortillas with all sorts of fillings, from chicken and crab meat to scrambled eggs and potatoes to apples and chocolate sauce. So whatever you put in a flour tortilla and then wrap the tortilla around completely with ends tucked in constitutes a burrito.
But Wil Wheaton is also right in that it is a wrap at the same time. A wrap is any sort of filling rolled in any type of pliable flatbread, ends untucked or tucked. A burrito, made with a tortilla, is thus a type of wrap, the ones made with a flour tortilla. Wraps can also be made with pita bread, nan bread, crepes, etc. But the burrito is the wrap made with the tortilla.
Wil Wheaton, however, is fully right in that the burrito you invented in his honor is utterly horrible.
But it would not have been horrible had he included an organic English hotdog for the reasons noted above!
Actually, I think I’d better go to bed before Nick Mamatus turns up to explain what a gyros is; every time I’m in Greece, which is quite often outside the winter period because the non-city environment there is very good for my lungs, I endeavour to purchase the Mamatas approved gyros. After all, what’s the point of ignoring someone who knows what he’s talking about?
I stand firmly with #TeamWheaton. That is not a burrito. That is an abomination.
But if it tastes good to you, eat up and enjoy.
To be perfectly honest, I’m more disturbed by your pronunciation of the word “mayonnaise” than anything else.
MVS is correct in that this disaster will get you into serious trouble in New Mexico if you dared to call it a ‘burrito’. Dang, might even get you thrown in jail.
If I were required to give it a biological genus, I’d say ‘hotdoggerito-Ohio style’, then calmly but quickly dispose of it in the nearest locked trash can. Phew.
I don’t care which side I agree with, this is amazing.
Pickles are the work of the devil
Wil is quite right on the principle. On the specifics, John, the suitable adjectives are all Lovecraftian.
That is NOT a burrito, nor is it a hot dog. That is what happens when you Ride the Dragon too much/smoke opium. Fevered dreams of ugh-ness.
Also as an after-thought-y gonna clog the thread: los amigos Mexicanos Mios would wrap you in a tortilla and feed you to a burro for promoting that atrocious… THING!… as a Burrito. I would help them by buying the masa, mixing, cooking, stuffing, rolling, then popping in the microwave. GAH!
What did that poor hot dog ever do to you?
Oh, wow… that’s….. dude, that’s just wrong.
I mean, as troll bait you have something there but to eat it?! John, if you keep eating that level of nastiness, you are not long for this world and when you die, you will be surrounded by drunk, out of tune mariachi bands singing ‘La Bamba’ – for eternity.
MVS: I think he could be forgiven if he added enough green chile. But man, I think the only thing on that supposed “burrito” that I’d eat is the pickle.
Call it what you want – burrito (NOT!) or wrap – but I call it disgusting.
The mayo is a deal breaker for any right-minded American.
I don’t care whether or not it’s a burrito, I care that you slathered mayo on a hot dog. EWWW! You can call it whatever you want, I call it disgusting. Wil’s reaction looked a lot like mine. I couldn’t even watch the whole thing where you ate it.
Just because there is burro in that hot dog, doesn’t make it a burrito.
I will just point out to the burrito purists (saying that it must contain rice, for example) that the sushi burrito is evidently a thing
You’ve been to Texas. You’ve presumably had real Tex-Mex. And you offer us this insult? Why do you hate us?
Is that cheese… pink?
Sorry, John, that’s a ‘wrap’. I’m not a fanatic for ‘authenticity’ but hot dogs and pasta salad? That sounds like a good reason fro breaking up the EU! A ‘burrito’ it is not. PS – ‘American Cheese’ is an oxymoron. Also contemptible.
For starters, a burrito is not Mexican food. The only places in Mexico where you will find a burrito on the menu are places which are frequented by American tourists. (Rumor has it that in the sixties, Mexican chefs from heavily touristed areas were imported into the U.S. to learn how to make “proper” Mexican food.) However, while a burrito is not Mexican cuisine, it is part of the indigenous cuisine of the southwestern US, and is properly defined as some combination of meats, beans, rice, cheese and salsa cooked in a Mexican style, plus various condiments, which I’ll consider below, wrapped in a flour tortilla.
Cooked in the Mexican style means that the beans should be black, refried or ranchero beans. (IMHO, black beans are iffy.) The meat, if served, should be spiced and prepared in the fashion of meats from Mexio – that is, carnitas, al pastor, machaca, pollo, etc. The cheese should be some combination of jack and cheddar or the traditional white, salty Mexican queso, and the rice should be white, or for bonus points, spanish-style rice made of white grains. If you’re serving brown rice, black rice, purple rice, or any other sort of rice you are quickly moving away from the ideal of the burrito.
Acceptable condiments are as follows:
Various salsas, ranging from the merely flavorful to very, very spicy indeed, but we’re talking chopped/ground hot peppers here folks, as the important ingredient. Salsas are described as either red or green, in varieties ranging from “mild” to “I can breathe fire now.” From my personal point of view that real point of salsa is that it be flavorful before it is spicy, but YMMV.
Pico de gallo. (Pico de guy-oh) This consists mainly of chopped tomatoes and onions, though other ingredients, such as peppers and cilantro may be employed. Pico de gallo may be mixed with salsa to form a sort of spicy vegetable slurry that is very yummy indeed.
Guacamole. This consists of avocados ground into a creamy mush with a texture similar to soft cream cheese, mixed with chopped tomatoes, onions, and lemon or lime juice. Sometimes salsa is added if one desires spicy guacamole.
Cilantro – the flavorful green herb.
Onions – yum!
Olives – also iffy.
The burrito is traditionally wrapped in a flour tortilla which has been lightly oiled and fried, but not so much that it loses its flexibility.
Burritos, like all foods, evolve over time. In Southern California, for example, we have seen the rise of the “breakfast burrito,” which consists mainly of eggs and potatoes, (though salsa is traditionally available) and of course we’ve seen seafood burritos for a long time – though once again, the seafood should be cooked with Mexican spices/traditions. I’ve also seen some very good “vegitarian” burritos which featured well-spiced vegetables cooked in the indigenous spices of Mexico, but they do push the limit of what is traditionally considered a burrito.
All this taken into consideration, what John has presented us with is not a burrito. I don’t see cheese*, rice, beans or any meat spiced in the Mexican style. The tortilla is too small to successfully wrap a burrito, and clearly has not been fried. I also note that none of the traditional condiments are in use. John has presented us with a northeastern picnic – hot dogs, American “cheese,” and potato salad – served in a tortilla. If orcs came from Ohio, this is what they would eat.
Clearly, John, a Southern California native, has spent too much time in Ohio, and needs to get back to his roots. On the other hand, John has successfully trolled Wil Wheaton, who will doubtless get all emo on twitter or in his blog. Thus I have to award John half the available points, and possibly award the other available points to Wil, if his whining is of the high quality we’ve come to expect.
* “American” cheese is not cheese. Read the label.
I really did laugh out loud at this!
John, I won’t be truly happy until you have your own cooking show.
Sheesh Guy… don’t go giving him “ideas”. He admits that cooking is not one of his stronger skills (http://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/07/12/and-now-for-no-reason-other-than-its-a-lazy-sunday-a-ranking-of-my-creativeartistic-abilities/) and this tortilla wrapped abomination proves that. OTOH, this thread has generated some very funny comments. My favorite so far is Troutwaxer’s:
Some of the food you eat is totally disgusting. I feel sorry for your wife and daughter for having to share a bathroom with you. Likely nasty.
This is not a burrito, it’s not even a wrap, that is Stoner/Living Alone food.
I used to eat hotdogs wrapped in flour tortillas. I thought ofit as a hotdog taco.
Lose the American cheese & get a jar of store bought nacho cheese sauce.
That’s quite the culinary contraption. Ought to be called the “Barfito” because that ain’t pasta salad. . .
The WheatonScalzi Burrito Wrap Rap
(In the combined styles of Run DMC, Gwen Steffani and B.A.P. – sort of)
Wrap it, wrap it, wrap it,
Put that “burrito” down.
Don’t be eatin’ but not thinkin’
To this beat box sound.
Wrap it up up up now
Wrap it down down down
Wrap it up up up now
Wrap it down down down
Scalzi’s bizarre “burrito”
it ain’t nothin’ but sad (so sad)
Wrap, wrap it up – burrito
Wrap, wrap it up – burrito
Put together some “food”
Said Sci-fi Scalzi man
And name it Will’s burrito
Was the simple plan
In awesome reply
Will didn’t have to sing
To let Scalzi know
An important thing.
The mash up of chems
In that “Willicious” thing
Is not good for an author
With a contract of thirteen
Though hard it may be
To admit that Will is right
You might want to consider
His stellar trekky insight
Scalzi’s wrap or “burrito”
Whatever it may be
The skeleton in Will’s background
Was important to see
Scalzi may we advise you
step away from the cheese
The yellow dye in the pickles
And the all the nitrates please
The natural uncooked tortillas
Are the best way to go
Instead of the pre made ones
With all preservatives known
Think of your fans,
Of Athena, of your WIFE
And give more thought to
Your culinary life
For this foodie challenge
You’ve come a bit unhinged
Maybe stayed up too late
With a typing binge?
You life is the sum total
Of all the choices you make
Don’t let your “burrito”
Be a silly mistake
Wrap it, wrap it, wrap it,
Put that “burrito” down.
Don’t be eatin’ but not thinkin’
To this beat box sound.
Wrap it up up up now
Wrap it down down down
Wrap it up up up now
Wrap it down down down
Scalzi’s bizarre “burrito”
it ain’t nothin’ but sad (so sad)
Wrap, wrap it up – burrito
Wrap, wrap it up – burrito
It looks to me like this assemblaged is contained within a flour tortilla. I think, if you want to get truly technical about it, that would properly be called a Willie Wheatito.
Improve you mukbang skills and you could have a big career in South Korea.
A burrito is not Mexican cuisine, certainly. It’s Mexican American cuisine. Mexicans did put things in flour tortillas. Mexican American cuisine developed a derivative of this as meat, beans, rice and cheese in a tortilla and sold it off of handcarts. The idea of putting fillings into a soft tortilla evolved into a different cuisine. Likewise Mexican American tacos, enchiladas, etc.
And as you note, that cuisine then had other offshoots into things such as breakfast burritos and different fillings in burritos. Originally, you would never put chicken in a burrito — only pork or beef. But then some made chicken burritos. They were still burritos.
You can’t claim burritos evolve into other burritos and then say they must have X to be burritos. The only actual thing that burritos need to be burritos is a soft flour tortilla — Mexican flatbread — wrapped around a filling. Everything else is just a new development in the cuisine.
So John’s burrito is disgusting (and also redundant since you don’t need to add mayonaise when there’s mayonaise already in the pasta salad,) but it is, nonetheless, a development in the cuisine, in the same way that putting avocado on a hamburger instead of just mustard and ketchup was a development (but not a disgusting one,) in the English American cuisine.
You can’t have it both ways — breakfast burritos okay but no hot dog burritos. I can order a burrito without rice or beans or cheese or salsa (why I would want to do this I don’t know but I can,) and I can order a burrito without any meat (which I have sometimes,) and they are still burritos because they come in the tortilla. The restaurant will not tell me that I must now call that item on the menu something else. And if I can do that and it’s still a burrito, then a hot dog burrito is also a burrito. And if you didn’t put horrible things on it, it might even be a good one.
This basis of this very same argument took place took place in 380 B.C. You can find it within Plato’s The Republic, Book X. Within the book Plato created a dialog between Socrates and Glaucon. That dialog was on Forms and Ideas. Forms (or Ideas) being something pure and closest to reality. Only when, lets say a human, is to bring a ‘thing’ into being they must access and follow in accord with this Idea; in following in accord with the Idea one is closest to the original Form (or Idea) which makes that which is made, in your case it is a Burrito, in essence more pure or natural or divine.
Wil is claiming that your burrito is not natural, pure nor divine because you are not in accordance with the originating Form (or Idea). On the other hand, I believe you are following in accordance with the essence of the Burrito Form. You have a tortilla with ingredients in it. Ingrediants take many Forms too. Therefore your Burrito is logically sound and true because it follows the essential form.
@ Kat Goodwin
I disagree that anything wrapped in a tortilla is a burrito. This is a little like saying that a pastrami sandwich and a hamburger are the same thing because they both contain mustard. Arguing about exactly what constitutes a burrito is probably a little silly, but a real burrito will contain some subset – at least three or four – of the things I describe above. Even the breakfast burrito, which doesn’t follow many of the burrito rules,* has multiple points of identity with my list above: The breakfast burrito’s tortilla is treated with oil and fried, the combination of jack and cheddar is the same, and condiments such as salsa or pico de gallo are almost always available. Also, breakfast burritos often contain beans and sometimes, (though infrequently) use Mexican style meats such as chorizo or machaca.
But the only subset of my list shared by John’s “burrito” is the tortilla, which is John’s case is smaller than a proper burrito tortilla and not fried. Thus John’s creation is definitely not a burrito, for the same reason that a hamburger is definitely not a hotdog despite both foods containing similar types of bread, mustard, ketchup, etc.
As a native of California, John’s concoction disgusts me, and it is obvious that John has strayed far from The Way of The Dude, and upon further reflection I am ruling that he is no longer a Californian. He may no longer say “dude” or “totally” and must turn in his Wayfarer sunglasses to the relevant authority. Subject to the approval of Ohio’s cultural officials, John is now an Ohioan. He may refer to himself as a Buckeye and engage in those habits and pursuits** appropriate to people from Ohio.
Sorry John, but you’ve gone too far.
* I’m fine with the idea that a breakfast burrito is not a “true” burrito, but my personal point of view is that the breakfast burrito is at the furthest limits of the set of things which might legitimately be called a burrito. (And even then, it’s iffy. Really iffy.)
** Oddly enough, Ohioan pursuits include putting hot dogs and macaroni salad on a tortilla and referring to this mess as a burrito. While the resulting concoction is deeply disturbing to Californian sensibilities, the behavior itself is not offensive; it merely reflects on typical Buckeye ignorance of southwestern cuisine.
Wil’s facial reaction = the recognition that you’ve entered into a debate with an insane person who will never listen to reason.
Just like trying to debate certain supporters of “The Donald”…
@MVS: “If y’all come down to New Mexico with that “Wilicious” thingy we’d probably have to quarantine you, your car, and anything that you’ve come in contact with (I’m pretty sure it’s a state law).”
Spot-on. If you try anything like this in New Mexico, let me know so I can be at a safe distance with my video camera. We are VERY SERIOUS about our cuisine. Breakfast burritos are the source for *many* smack-downs. You can start a bar fight just claiming our stuff is (shudder) “Tex-Mex”.
Rolled dead beast in a tortilla – I can live with that. Rudy;s has them – a bleed over into New Mexico from (omg) Texas – we tolerate Rudy’s because they do good dead beast BBQ.
So – no. Just no. *Any* amount of green chile (the proper spelling) *cannot* save this – whatever you want to call it. No, *Hell* no. Tar and feather NO.
*Never* thought Hatch Green Chile could not make *anything* better. (Sob!)
Must be one of those brain-damaged Midwestern things. All of that flat, boring landscape. At least the desert is stunningly beautiful. Visit some time. Bubonicon is a good con. We will get you a *good, proper* breakfast burrito from Blakes. With Green Chile.
(Mind bleach – I need mind bleach. Mayo and American processed cheese-like stuff. It BURNS!! Stumbles away mumbling incoherently…..)
It does not scan. A breakfast burrito doesn’t necessarily have any cheese or beans and frequently no salsa. Nor does it have rice nor does it need meat. Breakfast burritos are frequently scrambled eggs with potatoes and vegetables. So why is it a burrito? Because it’s wrapped in a soft, baked or fried tortilla with the ends closed.
A hamburger and a hot dog can be made of the exact same meat — say, ground beef. But one is a hamburger not because of the bread (which you don’t need to have with a hamburger,) but because of its SHAPE. It is ground beef pressed into a patty, which makes it a burger. That’s why a turkey burger is a burger — it’s ground turkey pressed into a patty, a veggie burger is vegetable matter pressed into a patty and so forth. A burger is ground food, usually meat of some kind, pressed into a patty.
A hot dog is ground meat or vegetable matter pressed into a long cylinder, like a sausage with no casing or only a thin clear casing. You can eat a hot dog without condiments and without a bun. It’s still a hot dog. And thus, different from a burger, even if they are made with the same meat and have no bread.
If I get a crepe and I fill it with meat, rice, beans and salsa, it’s not going to be called a burrito. If I get a pita bread and fill it with meat, rice, beans and salsa, it’s not going to be called a burrito. If I fill a bowl with meat, rice, beans and salsa, it’s not going to be called a burrito. It’s called a burrito because it involves a soft tortilla wrapped around a filling with the ends closed, causing a resemblance to the cylinder shaped cloth bundles that burros carried through out Latin America, Mexico and early Mexico America.
So yes, while the tortilla can be used for other Mexican and Mexican American dishes such as tacos — folded but open, again the tortilla and its shape making the name, and enchiladas, etc., what makes a burrito a burrito is the soft tortilla folded around a filling into that shape. It doesn’t matter what the filling is. And in fact, since no one knows for sure who exactly first in America put the burrito together and called it that, we also don’t know what they originally put into it as the original filling. Some sellers put in pork, some added beans, some did a chicken version, etc. but we don’t actually know what a traditional burrito filling was. What we do know is that the use of the tortilla into that shape created the sandwich that we call a burrito.
So Scalzi’s abomination is a burrito. :)
So, he fooled you, did he?
John actually sounds pretty much exactly like James Earl Jones.
Wil did the overdubbing on John’s vid.
Amazingly good lipsynch.
pax / Ctein
This is one of the most confusing threads ever. Am I disgusted? Impressed? Depressed? One thing I know for certain, I am hungry, but not for a Wilicious, that thing’s food cruelty.
On the subject of breakfast burrito, it’s definitely one of those edge cases. I were inclined to make detailed critiques rather than express broad principles I’d probably examine them on a case-by-case basis; machaca and egg breakfast burrito good, egg and hash-brown breakfast burrito bad… etc. Anything from Del Taco or Taco Bell is simply not considered edible, much less a burrito, as a matter of general principal.
Suffice to say it’s a gray area and doesn’t touch much on whether Scalzi’s mess is a burrito – he lost his California Dude privileges over the damn thing, and that says enough!
To roughly summarize this thread so far:
1. The Wilicious Burrito accomplished exactly what our host intended; he well & truly offended Wil’s epicurean sensibility,
2. As a result, Scalzi is no longer a bonafide Californian and will henceforth will be known as a “mid-westerner” or “from Ohio”,
3. The true definition of a burrito will be debated until Hell freezes over, but for the majority of us, Kat is clearly a decent lawyer (even if she is on the wrong side of History),
4. If & when John visits New Mexico he should visit Sadie’s Masochistic and learn what a Christmas burrito is about.
5. Lastly, eagerly anticipation for Wil’s inventive retort!
2. As a result, Scalzi is no longer a bonafide Californian and will henceforth will be known as a “mid-westerner” or “from Ohio”
John can call himself a Buckeye if he wants to… I guess “Buckeye” was cool in the 1830s or something, but in this day and age… I don’t want to offend anyone from Ohio… and stuff.
I’m with Will here. It’s not a burrito. Technically, the term that applies is “travesty”.
You might want to market it thusly: “Eat Scalzi’s Travesty today! It can’t be worse than it looks!”
I’m not sure what that is, but it’s not a burrito. Whatever ingredients people claim as essential to as essential to the definition of “burrito” miss the point — burritos are a subset of food, and that thing is certainly not food.
That reminds me of a “thinbread roll”, something you can buy in most (but not all) Swedish street food places. It is a thin, soft, pliable bread (usually half-circle rather than circle, although sometimes rectangular), stuffed with mashed potatoes, hot dog(s) (or bratwurst, which I find to be a tasty variant), sometimes “cucumber mayo” (basically, mayonnaise and finely chopped dill pickle) or “shrimp salad” (basically, um, vegetables and a very small amount of chopped boiled shrimp), then wrapped up and served.
It has a very close relative, called “the gourmet roll”. Instead of the mashed potato, you take boiled new potato, gently squash it into the bread, top this with thin slices of roast beef (which have been let allowed to cool, then gets fried, for extra twice-cooked deliciousness), coleslaw (some would say you need “dallas salad”, but as an aficionado of gourmet rolls, I can’t tell the difference between them), and crispy fried onions. Then, once rolled up, you stuff the opening with more ‘slaw and onions.
In both cases, one end is left open, so you can stuff more filling into the roll. Are they burritos? I couldn’t, honestly, say.
I have no problem with that being called a burrito, but I’m not sure how I feel about calling that strange orange stuff Cheese.
A few people have mentioned the Swedish version, but I’ll pipe up that this looks more like the Norwegian snack food item: hot dog and mashed potatoes and fried onions wrapped in lefse. I think the Norwegians don’t like that shrimp salad as much as the Swedes do…. Other than the cheese, though, I think John has to admit that this is Norwegio-Ohio not Tex-Mex.
I’m with Wil on this one. That could only be a burrito in Ohio. Yeah, I went regional on you there!
Um, no. Just say no….
Humorous as this debate may be, we need Scamperbeast updates and we need them NOW!
Okay, John? First: Gross. Next, Wil is right, that is NOT a burrito. That is almost not even food, but I’ll deign to call it a ‘wrap,’ That is something my dog would eat over the period of a week as hand outs from our family (namely, me). Not all at once, mind you. Nothing that cruel.
Ai ai ai.
My husband is siding with Wil Wheaton over the pasta salad inclusion, so we are a house divided. :)
I just threw up a little bit in my mouth….
Burritos are a fairly authentic Norteño Mexican and Southwestern foodstuff, originally (so the probably apocryphal story goes) concocted as a sort of pasty for miners to take their lunch down into the mine with them. Maybe so, but a burrito is a lazy food of convenience, undoubtedly invented by a man (of course it was a man) throwing leftovers and delicious things into a tortilla and snarfing it – a scenario which I trust is obviously familiar here. But because it was invented in Mexico, I feel like a burrito probably should have some recognizable Mexican ingredient or connection.
That said, a burrito is a difficult to define thing. In Denver – my sorely missed hometown – there exists a wonderful thing called the hamburger burrito, popularized by The Original Chubby’s Mexican Restaurant on 38th but possibly invented earlier at a place called Joe’s Buffet. To wit: a hamburger patty, covered in refried beans and chiccharones, wrapped in a tortilla, which is then smothered in the gravy-like pork green chile which is a bit of a Denver specialty. It’s more recognizably Latino than the Wilicious Burrito, but it looks like a glutinous flying saucer drenched in orangey-green chile sauce and you eat it with a knife and fork.
So I’m torn. There is nothing Mexican or even vaguely Latino about the Wilicious Burrito. But Mexican is a syncretic cuisine, and the burrito is food for lazy men. And if the Hamburger Burrito gets to be a burrito, I feel that establishes sufficient precedent for us to rule the Wilicious Burrito as a burrito. This would have been a lot easier on the judges if you’d tossed in some salsa.
My favorite taco joint in Tijuana (Don Esteban’s, across the street from the Costco in the Rio district) serves a carne asada taco which consists of a corn tortilla with a couple of very thinly sliced grilled strip steaks, chopped cabbage and onions and sliced avocado on top. Suggested serving instructions include dousing the concoction with salsa and, yes, mayonnaise, and it is delicious. (Note: in the video link, Esparza, for some reason, does not put mayo on his taco. I assure you that most patrons of Don Esteban’s do.)
@troutwaxer, I like the cut of your jib!
Must be one of those brain-damaged Midwestern things. All of that flat, boring landscape.
HEYHEYHEYHEYHEY! You watch your filthy mouth, you filthy-mouthed person! Flat! Boring! Porcupine Mountains Harumph! :Michigander checks out from defending the honor of its neighbor:
John, I’m pretty sure the word you’re looking for is “monstrosity”
It’s a common mistake.
Oh John Scalzi, no.
I think the defining difference between a wrap and a burrito is whether or not you can make a sandwich out of the ingredients. So: chicken salad and lettuce in a tortilla? Wrap. Leftover Chinese, lasagna, beans and rice in a tortilla? Burrito. Scrambled egg and beans and salsa? Burrito. Scrambled eggs and bacon? Wrap.
No! Just no! I don’t care how you call it, that cannot be healthy.